Kingston Mobilelite G2 Wireless Reader – A Street Photographers ‘Swiss Army Knife’ . . .

. . . This was supposed to be a fun to write and informative review (which I suppose it still is) of a fantastic little gadget, but it has been marred somewhat by an event which I will detail at the end of this article. You have been warned 😦 . . .

. . . Take a look at the specifications of any camera released over the past year or so, and it’s a fair bet that almost all of them will offer one genuinely useful feature – Wireless File Transfer.

Nowadays it’s possible to take a picture with your ‘real’ camera and within minutes, have it shared across the internet or (would be nice), spread across BBC News 24 or a national newspaper.

But where does that leave us owners of ‘older’ cameras, such as the Fuji X-E1, X-Pro1 or X100?

Fret no more and say goodbye to that bulky laptop. Say hello instead to the Kingston Mobilelite G2 Wireless Media Reader, for this device is truly the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of photography gadgets.

kingston mobilelite g2 with swiss army knife street photography uk

By that, I don’t mean you’ll be able to use it to construct an emergency bivouac, or remove stones from horses hooves. Neither for that matter could you cut your toenails with it. No, this device offers a wealth of features that no mobile photographer should do without, and after using it you’ll wonder how you coped before.

So here we go with a rundown of the features I believe are most useful for the photographer:-

1. Wireless Transfer of Images. The Kingston G2 comes with several ports for connecting various leads and devices, and one of these is an SD Card slot in the side. Simply remove the card from your camera and insert it into the G2. Then via the Mobilelite app (free from the app store but please read the warning at the end) on your smartphone etc, navigate to the images on the card that you’d like to use, and save them to your phone etc. Obviously you are now free to do with them as you please. As an added bonus it works both ways, as you can transfer from your smartphone etc to the card (or USB stick) on the G2.

2. Phone and Camera Charger. Yes, the Mobilelite G2 will charge your smartphone. In fact, such is the capacity of the built in 4640mAh, 3.8v Li-ion battery, that it will fully charge an iPhone 5s two times (from when the G2 is fully charged itself). Battery life of the G2 during ‘normal’ operation, ie. without charging other devices, is a truly useful 13 hours !!!

kingston mobilelite g2 charging iphone 5s uk street photography

What’s more, if your camera charges via USB, or you have a portable USB powered charger for your camera’s battery, it will charge that as well. Just how many times have you been shooting and your battery has cried ‘no more’?

kingston mobilelite g2 charging camera battery fuji x-e1

3. Mobile WiFi Spot, Bridge and Ethernet Connection. With the built in USB port, it’s a simple matter of plugging in a 3G Dongle (4G not supported) and you and anyone else you share your connection with (configurable WPA2 encryption in-app) can enjoy the internet, email and also share access to whatever file storage medium you have connected to the G2. Rest assured though and as just mentioned, the G2’s ‘signal’ can be WPA2 encrypted via the app, as with any wireless router.

The G2 also acts as a handy WiFi ‘bridge’, meaning it can be used to pickup and boost an existing wireless signal into normally hard-to-reach areas, whilst still being able to access the files on the connected SD Card. In fact, as I write this post, I am currently connected to the Wi-Fi router in my house, through the G2 and into a back room that usually struggles to maintain a signal. At the same time, I can access the pictures stored on the G2 and surf the web for facts regarding the unit.

Finally, there is an Ethernet port for plugging in a cable to create a Wi-Fi Hotspot, if an ethernet cable is available, such as in a Hotel etc.

4. It’s a Card Reader for your PC/Mac. It would seem simple at first but yes, the G2 functions as an SD Card and USB Drive reader (up to 2TB in size). Please forgive my terrible screenshot below.

kingston mobilelite g2 in windows explorer

This function is cunningly useful though. When writing a post for the blog, I can work on the images on the PC, then save them to the G2 and (after switching on the G2) instantly access them from my iPhone for writing on the WordPress app, in the comfort of my own sofa. πŸ™‚ (Please note: It is not possible to access the G2 from your smart-device and use it as a card reader on your PC simultaneously, as the G2 needs to be ‘switched off’ in order to function as a card reader).

5. Store and Watch Many, Many Videos etc . . . This feature is a particular favorite of mine. When I’m away from home and photographing around a town or city, and then later on whilst staying at a campsite in the VW, I like to pass the evenings watching a film or documentary or reading an eBook. However, the storage capacity of the iPhone is fairly limited. How much nicer it would be to carry a larger library of movies, documentaries, eBooks, PDF’s etc?

Well yes, the G2 will store (on an SD card or USB drive) AND stream as much media as your chosen storage device will manage. You’ll have to take my word for it but the picture below shows Alex Lifeson of the band RUSH, in concert and in full HD quality, streamed direct from the G2.

kingston mobilite g2 wirelessly playing video on iphone 5s

What’s more (and here’s the clever bit) up to 3 simultaneous users can view different movies, books etc at the same time, all without stuttering or interruption. (Please note: Some online reviews claim up to 8 simultaneous users, though Kingston says 3. I haven’t tested this myself, so I’m playing it safe. πŸ™‚ )

There are many other features of this device but I have concentrated on those I feel are most useful to the Street Photographer who spends time away from home and in particular, their computer.

Kingston Mobilelite Wireless readers can be found new and used on eBay UK and often with free delivery in the UK.

And now we come to the bad bit. My cat died a couple of weeks ago, an event that any pet owner dreads but is an inescapable part of life. Problem was that in a moment of deep sorrow, I photographed the little fellow lying in the wooden box I’d made, peacefully ‘asleep’ and comfortably wrapped in a cozy blanket, with his favorite toy mouse and a few cat biscuits, ready for his burial in the back garden (hold on, here’s a tissue).

Now being the considerate chap that I am, I decided to copy the pictures to the G2 and delete them from the phone, so that my wife wouldn’t accidentally stumble upon them and thus avoiding any possible upset.

All was fine until I came to process the pictures for this very review. As had become the norm’, I transferred the images to the G2 so that I could prepare them in Photoshop for the article.

Then out of the blue, the Kingston Mobilelite app claimed that the file names already existed (which they didn’t) and I chose to cancel the transfer. In a flash, the app crashed and as it transpired, wiped the SD card. Yes, the only copies of little kitty lying ‘in state’, were gone forever !!! 😦

With that in mind, I must stress the following. Do not use the Mobilelite app available on the App Store for transferring files to and from the G2. It would appear also that according to the App Store reviews, several other people have experienced the same problem.

I can however highly recommend Filebrowser, also from the App Store but costing Β£3.99. This app is still able to access the G2 and is also capable of performing many other file management tasks on your phone etc. You will however need to use the Mobilelite app in order to configure the various system options on the G2, such as Wi-Fi and system passwords etc.

It must be stressed though that the Kingston G2 itself is a fantastic bit of kit that performs admirably. Only the atrociously buggy and unreliable app is the unwelcome ‘fly in the ointment’.


There are now several models of Mobilelite Reader to chose from and eBay UK always has a good choice of new or used here.

 

Author: Kevin Shelley

Street Photography. eBooks. Blog. Shoots and reviews cameras. Develops film. Writes novelesque articles.

11 thoughts on “Kingston Mobilelite G2 Wireless Reader – A Street Photographers ‘Swiss Army Knife’ . . .”

  1. Nice write up but a clarification on one feature: “Finally, there is an Ethernet port for plugging in a cable to connect your laptop etc if you so wish.”

    The Ethernet port is actually for creating a hotspot in places that don’t have WiFi (hotels,etc.).

    Were you able to use the Ethernet port to connect the laptop? Perhaps it can do both.

    Like

  2. Hi

    Nice review!
    I’m probably going to buy it but I have a little question; Can you transfer raw files or only jpeg’s?

    greetings

    Xander

    Like

    1. Hi Xander and glad you like the review.

      I only shoot JPEG myself but I carried out a quick experiment by shooting a RAW file on the X-E1.

      Using Kingston’s own Mobilite App (which I don’t recommend) it was able to show the RAW file from the SD card, but because it’s an unsupported format, it doesn’t allow you to do anything with it.

      Alternatively I recommend FileBrowser, available from the App Store but costs Β£3.99 (or there abouts) but worth every penny.

      You are able to select the RAW file but the only option is to text message it on an iPhone or share it on iCloud.

      Of course you could connect the G2 to a laptop and be able to email the file.

      If you only shoot JPEG’s though, you are able to view and email from FileBrowser or Mobilite.

      Hope this helps,

      Kev

      Like

  3. Hey Kev,

    Thanks for the perfect review.. Just have a couple of questions … Am a photographer who shoots extensively in RAW and JPEG formats … i intend to buy and take this for a long trip … Am lazy to carry a laptop though will be carrying a tablet and an external hard disk of 512GB capacity..

    All I want to know is can I copy and transfer the raw and jpeg files out of my SD card that I use in my camera to the external hard disk? Will a 512 GB hard disk be detected by Mobilite ?

    Bharat S

    Like

    1. Hi Bharat,

      Good question and it wasn’t something I had tried until now but I had wondered about it.

      So I just plugged my Western Digital 1TB external drive into the Mobilelite. After it booted I then accessed the Mobilelite through the FileBrowser App on my iPhone and sure enough, there was the drive.

      Also it showed and I could access the SD card as well.

      I was able to copy an 18mb JPEG file from the SD to the HD instantly, so RAW files will be ok as well.

      Obviously you will only be able to open/view/edit files that your tablet can support but a 512mb drive will certainly hold A LOT of JPEG’s. Of course you are able to copy any type of file.

      Out of interest I was also able to watch an MP4 video that I have on the HD drive, through the Mobilelite and on the iPhone, with no problems.

      When I’m away I can open DNG (RAW files) in Photoshop Express on the iPhone and edit them, then post them to the blog.

      It is a multi-talented bit of kit.

      (Please note I did this with Filebrowser but the Mobilelite App should do the same. It’s just that I’m not a huge fan of the Kingston App).

      Enjoy your trip,

      Kev

      Like

      1. Hi Kevin,

        This nearly answers everything I wanted to know about this device. I’m going travelling for a year and am looking for a good way to backup my videos and photos whilst also have some ability to edit to some extent on the move.. My one specific question was relating to what you just mentioned about photoshop express. Were you able to import the RAW files to the phone through Filebrowser and then have them appear when you opened PS Express?

        Thanks,
        Alex

        Like

      2. Hi Alex,

        It’s a coincidence that you should ask this question as just last weekend I was shooting at the UK Photography Show. At night in the campervan, I was taking the DNG’s off the SD card from the Leica M9 & X and transfering them to a 16GB USB stick.

        I was then transfering the keepers to an Album I had created in Camera Roll called ‘DNG’ of the iphone or ipad. They would then show up in Photoshop Express by choosing Camera Roll. I could then edit to my hearts content.

        Please keep in mind that this was with DNG RAW files. I never tried it with Fuji RAW files (or any other), though I imagine that when using Filebrowser, any file you place in camera roll (and if supported by PS), would then show up.

        My main concern would be whether your RAW file format is supported by Photoshop Express or not.

        Hope this helps and happy travelling,

        Kev

        Like

  4. Hi Kevin,
    i want to ask some question, The Kingston MobileLite can backup RAW files from SD card reader to external hard disk. (i’m not talk about how smart phone can review RAW files or not)

    Thanks.

    Like

    1. Hello Keng.

      Yes, the Mobilelite can transfer files from SD to USB Drive/Hard Drive. Of course whether they can be viewed or not is down to your smart device, but for simple backup, there’s no problem.

      Hope this helps,

      Kevin

      Like

  5. Hi,

    I use Nikon d750 as my primary camera. Can you please let me know whether I shall be able to transfer raw files (mostly .NEF or .CR2 or .MOV) files from my DSLR sd card to 1TB external HDD?

    Like

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