The M38 mini USB flash drive has promise, but still has kinks that need to be worked out

Overall, I like OLALA’s M38, a mini metal USB flash drive for use with the iPhone and iPad. However, I don't love it — and I wanted to love it.

The M38 lets you expand your iDevice’s memory with external storage and comes in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models (I’m using the latter). The OLALA drive plugs into your iPhone or iPad via the Lightning port. The M38’s Lightning plug can be retracted into the device’s body and an USB plug pops out the other side. This makes it easy to transfer data between an iOS gadget and a Mac, Windows or Linux system.

Or at least it should make it easy. My biggest gripe with the M38 is that you have to remove your iPhone or iPad’s case to plug it in, which is extremely inconvenient. 

The M38 takes advantage of OLALA’s iDisk Me software, which is a free download the Apple App Store. However, I didn’t find the app — which allows you to transfer, view and share documents, images, video and audio files between a variety of gadgets — particularly intuitive to use. It took some time for me to learn how to move files between my iPhone and the M38 using the utility.

Once I did, the M38/iDisk me combo proved useful. You can organize, edit and manage files across multiple platforms. You can play music and videos directly from OLALA disk. You can record directly to the M38. Other features include file encryption, contacts backup-restore.

The M38 is small enough to take with you. Its square space design makes it easy to carry like a key or on a keychain. And it’s waterproof, which adds to its durability.

OLALA’s drive has potential. It’s useful as it is, but will be better when (if?) the hardware and software kinks are worked out. You can buy the 64GB model at Amazon for $43.