Just watch the clouds go by. We all want our own personal cloud don’t we? With Pogoplug Video you can have just that. Not the white fluffy kind, but the Amazon, Apple juggernaut kind. Pogoplug Video allows you to make everything on your hard drive available and accessible anywhere you like. Feel like going on vacation and not lugging the laptop? Just bring your iPhone/smartphone or iPad/tablet and access all the files on your Pogoplug, as if you had them stored on your laptop right there with you. The same goes for client meetings. How much more effective is a shiny sleek tablet that can be passed around than a bulky laptop? The possibilities for utility are abound with this easy to use cloud-like device and service.
We reviewed the Pogoplug Video model. It is much like the other Pogoplug models except that it has enhanced video streaming abilities. Meaning you can stream video files encoded in AVCHD, H.264, MPEG-4, MJPEG, MPEG-2, and DivX, without needing to pre-transcode any of these files either due to the built-in processing power of the Pogoplug Video. This means that you can watch these videos instantly on virtually any web browser or supported mobile device.
Set up is as easy as pie. Well, maybe easier then pie, less flour on your clothes. It requires a router, external USB 2.0 hard drive, internet connection and a one time activation on a computer. A computer is needed for the initial set up and access to a web browser. It operates independently from your PC, so your computer does not always have to be on for the Pogoplug to function. Your Pogoplug and connected drives are always on. You just plug it in, follow prompts, and about 10 minutes later, it is set up. It does however require a download of software. The software is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. This version allows you to access photos, documents, and files remotely.
However, to stream videos and music remotely on a mobile device, a one time upgrade of $29.99 is necessary. This upgrade frees you up to stream videos and music to mobile devices, as well as other very large files. Let’s clarify a bit what the two versions offer and how they differ. The free version allows you to remotely access your files, and share them with others remotely. The Pogoplug software offers you remote access to your files. This is very beneficial because many of us have 16GB smartphones/tablets, or something in that range. We have limited space. This enables transfer of the bulk of file space to the cloud rather then carrying it in our email, or phone. Picture this scenario: You need to send a client a big file on the go. Normally, it would choke your email and 3G plan to do so. Instead, you log into your Pogoplug app, enable sharing with that client, and the client gets an email with a link to the file. They do the downloading from there, with no stress on your end. My cousin is a photographer and this is often how he functions with clients. Many times he carries an iPad with him to meetings, whips out his multiple gigabyte portfolio right there. This is just one instance of how useful the Pogoplug can be. The Premium paid option for $29.99 Pogoplug Video includes support for music and video streaming to mobile devices, Sony PS3, XBOX 360, and other media devices. More on that later. You can download the music and videos, or you can stream them. Think watching a Hulu video, versus downloading it and then watching it.
It is very easy for clients, friends, and family to retrieve the files when you share it with them using Pogoplug. They click the link in the email and download it. They don’t have to sign in or up for anything. That is a major plus. However, you can require a sign in if you like for security purposes. The link expires in two weeks. To continue accessing them beyond that, they need to sign in. I’m a big fan of using this to share photo albums with family. Gone are the days of having to post photos on an online photo service so that family members in 4 states can all get a look. Now you send a link to all of them, and at their leisure, they have access to it in full size. It’s great that they can just click a link and be done with it, negating some confusion for the less computer savvy.
Pogoplus is compatible with Epson and HP printers post 2005. A new feature they have allows printer connectivity and remote printer access, whether the printer is connected to your LAN or directly to your Pogoplug via USB. Set up is fairly easy, roughly even to the process of installing a driver.
Both Android, iPhone, and iPad devices have apps available for Pogoplug. I downloaded the iPhone app and was saving all kinds of things to my phone within minutes. Using the Pogoplug app is pretty cool since it lets you have a private photo album to show people whenever you like. “Grandma remember when so and so ate 15 marshmallows at once?” BAM! Here is that photo. Impressive. However, the iPhone app did tend to randomly shut down on me quite often. Hopefully, that is just a bug they will get worked out.
Pogoplug makes an excellent back up. The “Active Copy” features acts much like Apple’s Time Machine. It actively backs up everything on your computer. Another utility is streaming to your XBOX 360 or PlayStation 3 game console (note: no Nintendo Wii). With the auto detect feature, set up is easy. Within a few minutes you will be able to stream videos, music, and photos without ever leaving your gaming chair.
The device is loud. The whirring noise is not something I’d want in my office day after day. Preferably, in a closet or under a desk, or in a desk. Also, the cord is too short and that bugs me. All things considered those are pretty small complaints.
Pogoplug Video sells for as low as $179, depending on where you purchase it. That is a hefty sum, but when compared with other cloud services that limit your storage and use, it is worth it. The device itself is sleek in design. The web interface is just as sleek and user friendly. For the ease of use and the vast utility possibilities, Pogoplug Video is a solid buy. Business users should check out out our review of Pogoplug Biz.
The Good: Easy set up and use. Easy to share and stream files. Remote access is super convenient.
The Bad: Price is a bit high. Machine operates loudly. iPhone app crashes a lot.
Update 05.24/11: We have corrected an error in the story reguarding the software that comes with the Pogoplug Video. It turns out , that the Pogoplug video can indeed stream videos and music without requiring the need to purchase additional software. Also, Pogoplug contacted us to let us know that an update to their iOS apps is on their way soon that should resolve much of the crashing issues that we experienced while testing their app.
Update 9/11/11: It seems that the Pogoplug Video has been recalled due to it being a fire hazard.