Cloud Engines Pogoplug: Simple Wireless File Sharing With Plenty of USB Ports
Monday, September 27, 2010; 12:19 AM
Cloud Engines' stylish Pogoplug ($99 as of September 1, 2010) makes it easy to access and share files from home across the Internet, using your own local drives and Internet connection via the company's Website portal. Simply log on to your account, and any storage attached to the Pogoplug unit's USB ports will be accessible from a Web browser.
The original Pogoplug looked like an AC adapter and you could plug it into a wall socket. The new version sits vertically on your desktop, is larger, and has four USB 2.0 ports (versus the old unit's single port). The device has an ethernet port, too, so you can connect it to your router and from there to the Internet.
Pogoplug's setup is ridiculously simple: Plug the unit into the wall and into the router, go online to Pogoplug.com, create an account (or sign in to your existing one), and select Activate New Device. Unlike in the past, you don't even have to enter the serial number, though the company warns that some users may still have to. You can attach or detach drives at any time; as you'd expect, only storage drives currently attached to the network will be available online.
Pogoplug is more socially oriented than some of its competitors, such as the Ctera Networks CloudPlug. Pogoplug lets you share files more easily; and by signing up for an account, anyone can view shared files beyond the two-week limit that otherwise prevails when you invite someone to share. Pogoplug's online portal supports copying, deleting, downloading, and uploading files. It even has an online viewer so you can peruse images, word processing documents, spreadsheets, and the like without having to fire up a local application.
My only complaint about the Pogoplug is that it's pink. I'm sorry, but that's just not a color I'm looking to coordinate my office décor around. Consumers who suffer from a similar bias might consider the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Net: It incorporates Pogoplug's technology and portal, and it's soberly, unobtrusively black; however, with that product you get only one USB port, plus two slots to use with GoFlex portable drives.
Color prejudice aside, Pogoplug provides a cheaper and easier route to accessing your home files on the road than CloudPlug, albeit sans the eSATA connection and the local access and administration that CloudPlug offers. It's a nifty, convenient USB storage sharing device that will serve most users--at least those into pink--better than the more complicated CloudPlug.