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How to survive devices with no SD expansion using a USB OTG cable/thumb drive

EVO 3D w USB OTG cableOne of the reasons I’ve been rather down on several bleeding edge smartphones (like the HTC One) is that they have no SD expansion. When you record a lot of HD content, or have a ton of movies on your phone, this tends to limit you pretty badly and pretty quickly.

It seems the smartphone manufacturers are in favor of sleeker devices without removable storage taking up room, and they assume you’ll use streaming/cloud-based storage solutions, or that you have a computer nearby to dump your recordings and pictures off to. But when you’ve got a new baby (or a nature photographer behind the phone), you’ll find the video and pictures tend to quickly fill up your device, usually when there’s no cell signal or computer nearby to put the files – or at least I found this so this weekend on a camping trip in zero signal land.

With my setup there’s significantly more static content than most (my phone is a USB boot device with multiple OS installers for work), so even with my SD expansion I don’t have a lot of working free space to begin with.

With a USB OTG (On The Go) cable you can attach almost any USB storage stick to most Android devices and move gigabytes off of your internal storage freeing you up to record more HD baby video.

These cables are pretty inexpensive, coming in at $1.49 for an unpowered USB OTG cable, and about $10 for a power capable cable. If you’re wondering what the difference is, you’d need the second style of cable if you want to root a Chromecast or plug in a powered hard drive.

With USB thumb drives also being pretty inexpensive these days, you can get a good 128GB of additional external storage for about $65, or you can just use all those small thumb drives you have laying around the house for storage.

Then the only storage issues you may run into are wondering where you put that USB stick with everything on it, and where the cable managed to get off to this time. Also you’re not going to want to have that attached at all times, so you’ll have a lot of offline content, but at least you’ll be able to take more photos and 1080p videos.

I still am fairly down on the non-removable SD and battery phones, but at least with a cheap cable and my existing USB thumb drives, and the use of ES File Explorer (or similar), I can manage just using my phone without bringing a computer into the wilderness. Unfortunately, this starts making the otherwise sleek phones look more and more like a computer with peripherals attached.

I know not everyone’s out there capturing waterfalls and babies, so for those grabbing concert footage in HD might take heed, as this is what half a gigabyte of footage gets you these days.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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