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Pogoplug review

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Summary

Our Score:

9

As the world gets ever more connected, people are now expecting to be able to access almost anything anywhere. With services like the BBC iPlayer and Spotify and of course all the other information you can get on the millions of websites around the world, it's never been easier to consume new content wherever you can get a data connection. However, one thing that's always proved rather more troublesome is accessing one's own files from across the web.

If you have some technical know how and a bit of money to spend you can build a server or purchase a NAS box and setup remote access, or there are online storage services like Dropbox that give you a portion of online storage and let you synchronise files on multiple computers through a simple web interface. However, if you find the former too expensive and too much of a technical challenge and the latter is too limiting then the Pogoplug could be right up your street.

Plug a USB storage device into this peculiar looking pink box and it will let you access your files from anywhere round the world using a simple web interface. You can even install a small desktop application that makes the Pogoplug act like it were a local hard drive. The best bit, though, is you can add as much or as little storage as you like via its four USB ports: just plug a USB hard drive or USB flash drive in and it's instantly added to your storage. What's more, it only costs £94.99, which is below the cost of a fully fledged NAS box.

Setting up the Pogoplug couldn't be simpler, you plug it in, connect it to a router and then open any web browser and go to my.pogoplug.com. A few button clicks later and you can access your data and start sharing it with friends and family. Well, that's not quite true: you do have to plug in some storage devices first.

There are four USB ports in total with three tucked away on the back, along with the Gigabit Ethernet port and power socket, and one on the front. The idea is you have your permanent connections plugged into the back, like a couple of external hard drives or even something like a Drobo. The port on the front, meanwhile, is reserved for more temporary storage like USB flash drives or even a USB memory card reader – useful if you quickly want to share some photos, say.

The ports are only USB 2.0 but considering your speed limitation is far more often going to be your network connection, this is perfectly adequate. We tested with a variety of drives including a USB-powered 2.5inch portable hard drive, a microSD card reader, a USB-attached external RAID box containing one 2TB 3.5inch hard drive, and various flash drives. All worked flawlessly.

Once plugged in, the Pogoplug will start indexing whatever files you have on your drives, which is a process that can take a considerable amount of time if the drive contains a large number files. When everything is setup you can either hide that lovely pink and clear plastic body away under the stairs or behind a desk, or if you want to maintain access to that front USB connection, there are a couple of rubber sections on the bottom to keep the Pogoplug securely clung to your desk.

It's not the most robust of devices, but once setup it's hardly likely to come to much harm. There are ventilation slots along the top and bottom and being as it does get quite warm in operation we'd advise keeping it in a relatively well ventilated area.

Dan97c

May 24, 2010, 2:58 pm

Nice article.


Whats the view on contrasting and comparing to a Airport Disk (USB disk plugged into a Airport Extreme / Time Capsule) for Mac users?


I'm keen to understand differences in ease of use / reliability / speed etc.

lifethroughalens

May 24, 2010, 4:16 pm

This looks interesting to me, having never bothered to take the dive into a NAS server set up yet. Been using Log Me In pro for a couple of years and I love it, but I don't like leaving the PC on for extended periods away, and it's expensive. Could you perhaps comment of the level of security provided by this product, is it just a case of a single password to access or are there multiple layers available?

Castalan

May 24, 2010, 4:50 pm

Looks very much like a solution hunting for a problem to solve.





If you're that into your music you can't possibly be without anywhere in the world - you've got an mp3 player with all your music on ....





If you really really need those precious files anywhere in the world - you darn well take them with you, because even in this day and age you ( I ) can't rely on all the bits in the chain working 5 minutes before that presentation in boston ....





And if you really want access to files over the internet anywhere in the world - just upload them to google/dropbox or some such .... it's free

Paul 7

May 24, 2010, 4:59 pm

Don't Belkin make something similar that puts USB devices onto the network? And that works for printers too apparently. How do they compare?

Ed

May 24, 2010, 7:23 pm

@Dan: Essentially it's a very similar service but the Airport Extreme is more expensive and requires an annual fee.





@lifethroughalens: By default the Pogoplug uses just http for connections but you can set it to use https for secure connections. Otherwise, yes, it's just a single password.





@Castalan: In some ways, I agree - it's definitely a niche product. However, I think for certain situations it could be invaluable.





@Paul: There are various router devices that can share over a local network. The pogoplug is useful for the fact it shares over the Internet.

speedyuk

May 24, 2010, 11:31 pm

The Seagate FreeAgent DockStar is basically the same device, using the Pogoplug service and is currently available at "good online stores" for £50. I got one to have a play with a while ago and it is very good at what it does.

PoisonJam

May 25, 2010, 2:44 pm

Fantastic - exactly what I've been looking for as an amateur photographer. I never seem to get round to transferring pics from my camera and then uploading or FTPing them to share with family/friends. With this I can just plug in the memory card and give them the URL!





Do you get your own unique URL or do you just get a unique account ID login on their website? I'd love to see them use unique URLs so I could buy a cheap, memorable domain and forward it to my account.





Does it power several 2.5" driver OK?

JDunn

May 25, 2010, 2:49 pm

It's £90 for an interface and a server. That's niche.

PoisonJam

May 31, 2010, 1:29 pm

Anyone? I've noticed staff don't follow up comments as much as they used to. I'm wondering if they've been told to spend less time on this under the new boss?

Andy Vandervell

May 31, 2010, 1:34 pm

@PoisonJam More than likely Ed just hasn't seen it. Unfortunately he's out in Taiwan atm, but I'll endeavor to remind him when he's back.

AndrewN

October 4, 2010, 12:31 am

This looks like you could add central storage to some home networked computers for about £150! PCWorld are offering Pogoplug for £50. Add two 1TB external usb drives, one backing up the other. Plus you can access those files on the move. I run two clubs and could access/update membership details on my Android device for example.

Paul Milton

November 5, 2010, 4:39 am

I bought one. Be warned there's no manual and next to no general description of what the concept is all about. It's slow and clunky as your commands seem to go round the world to get to your NAS. There is a new user interface to learn.





It may be good for some but I deeply regret shelling out for mine!

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