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This $40 gadget backs up my phone's photos while it charges — it's a game-changer for parents

It's the perfect find for a last-minute Mother's Day gift.
Christina Montoya Fiedler with her son using Qubii
TODAY Illustration / Courtesy Christina Montoya Fiedler

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About a year after my son was born, my computer was stolen. Not only was it my lifeline to the outside world, but it was also where I kept hundreds, if not thousands, of irreplaceable family photos and videos. And I already know what you're thinking: But you backed everything up, right?

Unfortunately, you'd be wrong. My husband and I always had every intention of doing so, but as new parents, we had other things to tend to (like keeping a new human alive and well) and so it was mistakenly placed on the back burner. I was devastated and can still remember the sickening feeling of loss to this day.

To avoid living in constant fear of this ever happening again, we settled on a backup system soon after. We tried the universally relied upon iCloud, but I had to pay for extra storage and having two separate accounts made finding photos difficult. We eventually moved to an alternative uploading service that was free for a time, until we went above the storage limit and, you guessed it, had to pay even more.

As a mom, I don't ever want to feel limited in the number of photos and videos I take. So, when I heard about the Qubii Automatic Backup Cube, I was definitely intrigued.

Maktar Qubii Automatic Backup Cube

What does the Qubii Automatic Backup Cube do?

The Qubii is a great alternative for anyone looking for a foolproof way to save their most precious memories. It is compatible with all Apple devices that use a lightning connector and have iOS 10 or above. So, you can easily plug it into your laptop, iPhone, desktop or iPad. But what makes this small gadget stand out from glitchy storage systems and traditional flash drives is that it's so easy to use.

First, download the Qubii app by scanning the QR code included in the directions or searching on the App Store for Qubii Photo and Video. Next, insert your microSD flash card into Qubii’s card slot. Then, connect the Qubii to your device charger — or directly into your USB port on your computer — and plug it into your outlet as usual. Once charging starts, it immediately triggers the auto-backup of your photos, videos and contacts. You can even set the backup to include content from social media apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

After you set it up the first time, backups occur automatically, and the Qubii will pick up where it left off. Meaning during every charging session it uploads your newest photos and videos and won't create duplicates, according to the brand.

Overhead of a hand plugging in the Qubii to a wall port
Courtesy Christina Montoya Fiedler

When I used the Qubii for the first time, I had exactly 2,518 photos and videos on my phone. The backup ended up taking about 90 minutes to complete. Compared to the tech I'm used to that serves up lightning-speed gratification, that’s a long time to wait. But if you’re simply plugging in your phone with the Qubii to charge overnight, the amount of time it takes to upload doesn’t really matter since you’ll be asleep.

What's not so convenient, I'll admit, is that your Qubii has to be plugged in if you want to view your saved content. It also doesn't come with a microSD flash card. While I was disappointed that it wasn't usable right out of the package, I do like how the flash card eliminates the need for a monthly subscription. I just ordered a SanDisk Ultra 256 GB microSD from Amazon, which only goes for about $30.

SanDisk Ultra 256 GB microSD

That being said, you can't put a price on peace of mind, especially when it comes to irreplaceable family photos. And with Qubii, you are only paying for the cost of the product and the microSD flash card — nothing else. There are no hidden or monthly costs to deal with, which is a bargain all parents can appreciate.

While I've come to find that the Qubii does exactly what it promises, I'll probably still use my normal backup system. There’s something about the security that iCloud offers, and I just don’t need another gadget in my life if I already have a method in place that works well, even if it costs a little extra each month.

But would I give this to my parents or my in-laws? Absolutely. Overall, this is an extremely user-friendly gadget that is great for those who need a simple solution for photo storage and those that are not comfortable with technology or intangible things like online servers. The usage of the product is direct and setup takes minutes. With Mother's Day coming up fast, I think I may have found the perfect last-minute gift.

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