The easiest way to transfer data from an Android phone to a computer or tablet

Getting movies and music off your computer and onto your phone or tablet has never been easier thanks to OTG USB sticks

To transfer data between an Android smartphone or tablet and a computer, you used to have to connect them via a USB cable. These days, plenty of Cloud services are available, which allow you to keep data from a phone or tablet in sync with a computer. That’s very convenient, but it does require a fast Internet connection, and it’s not all that great for moving large multimedia files.

One of the newest and perhaps easiest ways to transfer data from an Android smartphone or tablet to a computer is with an on-the-go (OTG) USB stick. There are a few of these sticks available these days from various vendors, including Imation, SanDisk, and Verbatim. These types of USB sticks have a microUSB head on one end, which can be plugged in to your Android phone or tablet, and a regular USB connection on the other end, to plug in to your computer.

They work in the most basic of ways: plug the USB key into your computer and transfer some files to it (be it music, movies, presentations for work, or masses of photos), then plug the USB key into your phone or tablet to access those files while you are on the go. The neat thing is that you don’t even have to transfer the files over to the smartphone or tablet to view them; you could just play them off the stick itself.

In order to view the files on an OTG USB stick, you have to use a file manager app on your mobile device. Usually, the USB stick manufacturers recommend one that they think is suitable for their device, but you can use whichever file manager app you’re comfortable with. Through this app, you can copy and paste files, move things around, or just view files.

More than a way to transfer files to a smartphone or tablet, a USB OTG stick can be used to transfer files between smartphones and between smartphones and tablets. It’s a good way to get data off a personal smartphone and a work smartphone, for example, or if you just want to share data with friends.

There is a caveat, though: in order to use an On-The-Go USB stick, your Android smartphone or tablet has to support the USB On-The-Go standard, too. This means the USB OTG port on the smartphone can act as a host to see the storage device that’s plugged into it. You’ll need to check with your smartphone manufacturer to see if your model supports OTG, or check the sites of the USB stick makers to see if your smartphone is on their compatibility list (we’ve listed their respective Web sites in our reviews of the devices).

Reviews of USB OTG devices

Imation 2-in-1 Micro USB Flash drive for Android
SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive
Verbatim Store ‘n’ Go OTG USB Drive

Recommended

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Elias Plastiras

Elias Plastiras

PC World

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?