Pogoplug’s New Series 4: Going for iCloud’s Throat? [Launch, First Look]

Pogoplug’s New Series 4: Going for iCloud’s Throat? [Launch, First Look]

Pogoplug has been busy. For a company that focuses really intently on a single concept — namely, putting your stuff in the cloud — it has released a prolific number of products since the original Pogoplug first debuted in early 2009. Today brings their latest offering: The Pogoplug Series 4 ($100).

Cloud Engines, the outfit that makes the Pogoplug, sent us an Series 4 to check out, and we got a little hands-on time with it before the launch today.

The newest ‘Plug is probably most notable for what it isn’t more so than what it is — it isn’t a leap forward. The Series 4 seems to be a consolidation of their latest advances, as if Cloud Engines is saying “ok, let’s just slow down a little bit hear and focus on what we’ve got.”

In fact, it not only looks remarkably like their most recently released model, the Pogoplug Mobile, but it also is the same machine inside.

But there are changes, of course, all of which are intended to make the new Pogoplug better able to interface with storage devices. There are now a pair of USB 3.0 slots in the Pogoplug’s rear, and an SD card slot on its flank. The largest change, though, appears when the device’s lid is lifted off, which reveals a SATA slot that’s compatible with Seagate’s GoFlex family of drives (there’s also another USB slot, this time 2.0, thrown in for good measure).

The faster inputs are a welcome addition, as they theoretically should allow smoother streaming; and a few quick tests over wifi did produce smooth results when streaming hi-def movies to my iPad, so long as they were in streaming-friendly formats; though encoding for streaming still seems to take a long time.

Of course, there are several really good reasons why owning your own cloud makes sense besides streaming movies to an iDevice — cheap storage (and lots of it), less worry about hacking and fast streaming within your local network.

But the real question is, has the Pogoplug system reached the level of sophistication where it can become an alternative to iCloud? Answer: Possibly. At first glance, music streaming is quick and smooth enough (over wifi, at least) that there isn’t any discernable difference between streamed and local music — although it didn’t sound quite as good. But the interface still seems disappointingly pokey and difficult to navigate with — although maybe it’ll become easier as we play around with it more.

Full review up soon.

Pogoplug’s New Series 4: Going for iCloud’s Throat? [Launch, First Look]

Pogoplug’s New Series 4: Going for iCloud’s Throat? [Launch, First Look]

Pogoplug’s New Series 4: Going for iCloud’s Throat? [Launch, First Look]

Related
  • LeaSalyer

    I want to sync my iCloud information with another account than the Apple account my ipod touch is synced with for back-ups. Is this possible?

  • P With

    What is this device supposed to do? I have looked at Pogoplug’s website and read your review and am none the wiser…

  • Don Pope

    I have the same question. This article tells me nothing.

  • ttiern

    I’m unclear on the  USB 3.0 ports and their ability to connect a USB 3.0  HDD and use it with my  MacBook Pro under Lion to obtain high(er) speed back ups with Time Machine/Superduper/or whatever? Same question with the SATA  and other ports. Can someone shed some light on this? Am I expecting too much to get USB 3.0 on my 2+ year old MacBook Pro?

  • TechUser

    This article assumes that you already know what the PogoPlug device is, (or the Seagate GoFlex products).

    The devices allow you to create your own personal cloud storage, without any recurring fees, (once you purchase the device).  You connect your own hard drives to the ports, or an SD card.  Then, you can access those files ANYWHERE you have internet access, from ANY device, (notebook, smartphone, tablet, internet TV, at work, at school, library, etc….). 

  • facebook-623312627

    I was pretty excited when I first heard about the Pogoplug but sadly, I returned my Pro model as soon as I plugged it in because it was far from what was advertised. My main (only) use for it was to be able to stream videos from my Macbook to my PS3 on my home network. Unfortunately, they don’t tell you that you have to convert all your files to their only streamable format (something a first-time user may not know), which is a HUGE disappointment when you have a 250 Gb HDD full of HD TV series… Any update on wether we can expect to stream MKV files (for example) with it in the near future?

About the author

Eli MilchmanWhen he was eight, Eli Milchman came home from frolicking in the Veld one day and was given an Atari 400. Since then, his fascination with technology has made him an intrepid early adopter of whatever charming new contraption crosses his path — which explains why he's Cult of Mac's test editor-at-large. He calls San Francisco home, where he works as a journalist and photographer. Eli has contributed to the pages of Wired.com and BIKE Magazine, among others. Hang with him on Twitter.

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