Accessory review: FlixChip Muvifi with GoChips [Video]

Muvifi - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

As mobile phones and tablets are released with a growing amount of internal storage, many manufacturers are making the somewhat difficult decision to forego SD card slots. The argument, as it goes, is that someone with 32-64GB of storage already on their device doesn’t really need an SD card; more parts equals higher costs. So ultimately, the decision is often made to leave out the SD card slot.

That decision, however, doesn’t always bode well with consumers – especially those that follow sites like this one – but there is often little choice other than acceptance, as more and more of the most desirable phones (like the LG Nexus 4 or HTC One, for example) are released without that tiny but precious slot.

Enter FlixChip, the makers of the tiny portable WiFi media streaming device, the Muvifi. It actually took me a little while to figure out the usefulness of such a device, and originally considered it to be a neat novelty but not incredibly useful. However, the more I played around with it – and the more I thought about those of us who own devices that lack an SD card slot – the more I started to really like this little thing. Let me explain.

The Muvifi works by broadcasting a WiFi signal for up to 75 feet, making any files on it available to connected WiFi devices. It’s 4.44 X 1.14 X 0.6 inches and weighs only 2.2 ounces. It broadcasts a secure WPA-2 encrypted b/g/n 2.4GHz network with a customizable network name and password, and its built-in lithium-ion battery can stream for up to four hours. There are Android and iOS streaming apps available, or you can also access files over WiFi on Mac and Windows PCs. Additionally, it supports streaming for up to four difference devices, and simple file sharing for up to eight.

Files are actually stored on little magnetic clips called GoChips that come in 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32GB varieties. You can also plug these GoChips into a regular-sized USB port and use them just like a USB thumb drive (I was skeptical at first, but they really do fit in a USB slot); then, simply copy and paste any kind of file onto them that you want. You will then be able to access those files on any device that’s connected to the Muvifi over WiFi. Are you following me so far?

On my Windows 7 laptop, the Muvifi automatically shows up as a network-connected device. Without installing any extra software, I can simply navigate to My Computer > Network, and there it is. It really couldn’t be any simpler.

Muvifi Windows 7 - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

The Android app is equally easy to use. Simply download FlixChip from the Play Store, connect to the Muvifi over WiFi, and open the app. All your files will be there and accessible to you, and if you happen to have a movie stored on your GoChip, it will start playing automatically. Additionally, the Android app gives you access to additional settings that allow you to easily change the WiFi network name and password that the Muvifi broadcasts, change your admin password, connect it to another WiFi network for pass-through internet access, or adjust the power saving mode (you can set it to power off automatically after 5, 10, or 15 minutes if you choose).

FlixChip Player - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

While I don’t personally have access to a Mac or iOS device, I’m sure the functionality is similar if not identical.

FlixChip is marketing the Muvifi like this: Before a road trip, for example, just load up a movie (or several) onto one of the GoChips, plug it into Muvifi, and turn the Muvifi on. Then, everyone in the car can connect their individual devices to the Muvifi and play any of the files that are stored there, at their own preferred pace. And while, admittedly, that is probably a great idea for families with several kids who have varying tastes, I am looking at this as an accessory that’s extremely beneficial for those of you who just need more space and don’t have an SD card slot.

Another (possibly unintended) feature of the Muvifi is that it can act as a simple yet powerful WiFi repeater, because you can connect it to another WiFi network – thereby giving any device that’s connected to the Muvifi internet access. For example, you might strategically place a couple of these around your home or office, keeping them plugged in of course, thus extending the normal reach of your main WiFi router.

I should also note that the manufacturer has future plans with UltraViolet movies, which is a cloud-based locker that enables people to download and stream movies they buy, regardless of how they purchase them (DVD, BluRay, Vudu, Cinema Now, etc.). App updates are expected in the coming months that will allow users to directly download multiple UV movies to a GoChip.

There’s only one bug I’ve discovered with the Android app: if you swap out a chip, it takes about three seconds for the Muvifi to scan and read it. Pressing the reload button while it is scanning the chip will cause it to say, “Chip not detected.” FlixChip is aware of the issue and is working on a fix that will be available very soon.

For a more in-depth, hands-on look at the Muvifi and the GoChips, check out the video above. Overall, I’m impressed at the ingenuity behind this thing, and while it’s certainly not for everyone, tinkerers and gadget enthusiasts will probably find something to like about this thing.

I don’t think the Muvifi is being widely produced yet, but some limited offerings are available right now on Amazon. The main Muvifi unit is selling for $79.99, which is a bit steep in my opinion, but it’s possible that price will start to go down once more of these are produced and they become more widely available.

 

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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9 thoughts on “Accessory review: FlixChip Muvifi with GoChips [Video]

  • Avatar of Andreas Ødegård
    February 26, 2013 at 4:01 pm
    Permalink

    This has to be one of the most pointless devices I’ve ever seen. It essentially just takes the concept of a WiFi drive, which has existed on the market for YEARS in products like the Airstash, WiDrive, Seagate Satellite, iUSBport, and the 43 million other such products, adds some magnets to it, and sells it for more than the widely established products it’s ripping off. What a joke

    Reply
    • Avatar of JRDemaskus
      February 26, 2013 at 10:38 pm
      Permalink

      I wouldn’t call it “pointless” Competing products with different features are always welcome. It will suit somebody’s needs.
      I didn’t even know tech had evolved to “Battery powered WiFi hubs I could plug a memory card or hardrive into”
      Why am I, or we, concerned with USB Host when I can connect with an independent hard drive over WiFi?
      So the point of this device, at this moment, was to make me aware, educate me.
      And yes, I looked up eachof the devices you listed, and have a window waiting for me to search for just the right device, as soon as I finish this reply.
      Peace

      Reply
      • Avatar of Andreas Ødegård
        February 27, 2013 at 1:17 am
        Permalink

        Unfortunately, this is exactly the kind of product people think is unique because they haven’t heard about it before. Last year I had to contact the creator of the Airstash to warn them that someone had stripped their existing drive of its plastic shell and was showing it off as a prototype wifi drive on Kickstarter! The project was obviously pulled once the Airstash people got involved.

        I’m all for competition, but this isn’t competition. For there to be healthy competition, consumers need to be aware of the options. Having companies copy other products and make money off marketing them to people who didn’t hear about the originals is to me not healthy competition.

        Reply
        • Avatar of JRDemaskus
          February 27, 2013 at 8:18 am
          Permalink

          Good job then. It is sad you had to blow the whistle on a thief though.
          But my problem with this product is the non standard format, not the fact that this product exists.
          It could provide me a solution, or put me on the path to a solution. And yes, I was not aware of this type of product. Now I am, and this looks like something I could use.
          But I do research before choosing so I am sure I made the right choice. Not the same can be said for many consumers.

          Reply
          • Avatar of John Freml
            February 27, 2013 at 10:28 am
            Permalink

            It’s not really a non-standard format. The GoChips are fully compatible with any USB port.

          • Avatar of JRDemaskus
            February 27, 2013 at 8:14 pm
            Permalink

            The “non standard format” being the memory “chips”
            If I cannot use my pile of SD, mini, or micro cards, and have to buy theirs…
            Thought that that would be obvious.

        • Avatar of JRDemaskus
          February 27, 2013 at 8:21 am
          Permalink

          Amazon listed several different products.
          That fact should not be missed.
          It served to show me there was more than one option.

          Reply
        • Avatar of JRDemaskus
          February 27, 2013 at 8:31 am
          Permalink

          I am curious why you didn’t bring up these options in our earlier conversations about OTG CABLES and connecting external hard drives and flash drives.

          Reply
          • Avatar of Andreas Ødegård
            February 27, 2013 at 10:08 am
            Permalink

            I frankly didn’t think about it, but I should have. I find those sort of accessories rather limited in terms of full file management, meaning any type of file, read AND write, at decent speeds. They’re more designed to stream media

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