Tue. Mar 5th, 2024


Key Takeaways

  • The drive’s construction was the only highlight, with a sturdy metal enclosure that felt refined. However, the Lightning connector may not fit with certain iPhone cases.
  • The mobile app for the drive, Duo Link 4, lacks care in its layout, aesthetics, and functionality. It only handles photos, videos, and contacts automatically, requiring a more manual process for music and documents.


The PNY Duo Link iOS Dual flash drive can mostly be described as “Too little, too late.” Apple abandoned its Lightning connector for its entire line of iPhone 15 models in favor of using the more universal USB-C port for charging and transferring data. Even if you have a Lightning-enabled iPhone now, you won’t in the future.

PNY-USB-Flash-Drive-OTG-DUO-Link-iOS

PNY Duo Link iOS Dual Flash Drive

The PNY DUO LINK iOS USB 3.2 Dual Flash Drive bridges the gap between mobile and desktop, making it the ideal mobile storage solution for file management on the go. 

Capacity
64, 128, 256GB

Power
Self-powered

Speed
USB 3.2 transfer speeds

Connection
USB-C and USB-A

Pros

  • Sturdy feeling metal enclosure
Cons

  • Aging connectors
  • barebones iPhone app
  • More than double the price of the USB-C version

An Outdated Design That Didn’t Have to Be

PNY Duo Link iOS showing its Lightning and USB-A connectors
Joe Robinson / How-To Geek

On one end of the Duo Link iOS flash drive is a Lightning connector, and on the other end is a USB-A port. This product was also released in mid-2023, just to be clear. It makes no sense.

Even if PNY was blindsided by a new iPhone with a USB-C port coming in September, Apple still doesn’t sell any laptops with USB-A ports. Its iMac doesn’t have that old port on it either. Only the oldest 9th Gen iPad still includes a Lightning port. In no way was this brand-new Duo Link iOS Dual flash drive built to flourish.

Its design was outdated before it was released. The only people who should consider this product are those who want to move items from an older iPhone to a Windows computer. Unfortunately, this product appears to be geared towards single-use. A disposable method for emergency backups or file transfers as their aging phone kicks the bucket.

The drive is not particularly affordable, however. At $24.99 for 64GB of storage—$54.99 for 256GB—it costs significantly more than PNY’s USB-C version, which starts at $9.99 for 64GB and tops out at $24.99 for 256GB of storage.

If this iOS drive had included a Lightning and USB-C port on either end, it would have the opportunity to be used significantly longer into the future and be more versatile.

Probably the only highlight of the product is its construction. The first time I held the tiny metal flash drive, I loved how it clicked satisfyingly into various placements when I spun it in my fingers. It was like an expensive fidget spinner. Its build quality felt refined.

Unfortunately, that praise is short-lived too. When I went to stick the Lightning connector into my iPhone, the end was too wide to use with my phone’s Nomad case. (It might work with some iPhone cases, but be prepared for it not to.) The little clear plastic cap covering the Lightning connector will almost certainly be lost in the first week, too.

PNY Duo Link iOS stuck into an iPhone with the mobile app displayed
Joe Robinson / How-To Geek

PNY’s Duo Link 4 app for iPhone and iPad is available for free, but it wasn’t great to use. The mobile app did not look like much care or thought had been put into its layout, aesthetic, or functionality.

It wasn’t complicated to use. I poked around for a few minutes and understood how it worked. Up top are scrollable squares for different tasks, such as viewing photos or videos.

The app allows the drive to be encrypted with a password. However, that lock needs to be removed before a computer can read the storage.

I did like that the Duo Link 4 app could back up a copy of my phone’s contacts. But along with photos and videos, those are the only items it can handle automatically. Music and documents will need to be done in a more manual fashion. Content from other apps can be copied over to the drive, too. Those items will need to be shared from the other app to Duo Link 4 via the share sheet—the box icon with an arrow pointing up.

If you want to take photos that will bypass the phone and be stored directly onto the drive, that’s possible with a camera button in the app. Everything worked fine, but nothing felt like a pleasing experience.

The drive itself supports transfer speeds up to USB 3.2 Gen 1, meaning up to 5Gbps with compatible devices. That’s certainly not the fastest transfer rate possible but with most iPhones probably containing around 128GB of storage or less, it would be manageable. I moved videos and pictures around from my phone to a computer, via a USB-A adapter, and back again multiple times with success. The drive functioned as advertised.

Price and Availability

The PNY Duo Link iOS Dual flash drive is available now and starts at $24.99 for 64GB of storage space.

For those who only need a USB-C port, the Duo Link Type-C Dual flash drive starts at $9.99 for 64GB of storage and only costs $22.99 for 256GB.

PNY Duo Link iOS showing the Lightning connector covered by a plastic cap
Joe Robinson / How-To Geek

The desire to backup an iPhone directly to offline storage is understandable. In very limited circumstances, the PNY Duo Link iOS Dual flash drive might be the right way to do it. It did work. But this is not a product that most people should seek out for voluntary day-to-day use.

The app experience was poor and the hardware will not be compatible with most iPhones in the immediate future. The good news is that once most devices have a USB-C port, the price of a device like this will come down significantly and may be worth an impulse buy for occasional uses.

PNY-USB-Flash-Drive-OTG-DUO-Link-iOS

PNY Duo Link iOS Dual Flash Drive

The PNY DUO LINK iOS USB 3.2 Dual Flash Drive bridges the gap between mobile and desktop, making it the ideal mobile storage solution for file management on the go. 



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By John P.

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