Cloud Engines Pogoplug review: Cloud Engines Pogoplug

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.7
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Pogoplug allows any USB drive to be accessed over a home network or Internet connection. It offers supersimple setup, even for networking novices. Files are accessible via any standard Web browser as well as a free iPhone app, and the software plug-in allows drive mapping on Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs. It also uses much less power than a PC file server.

The Bad The Cloud Engines Pogoplug doesn't include any built-in storage and its preview (streaming) feature doesn't work well for video files. It also can't share files with noncomputer products, such as Xbox 360s or PS3s.

The Bottom Line The Pogoplug provides a quick and easy way to share files from any USB storage device to users on a home network or over the Internet.

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Editors' Note: As of November 2009, this product has been replaced by the second-generation Pogoplug.

Wouldn't it be nice to quickly access your data from anywhere without a complicated network setup? That's exactly what the Cloud Engines Pogoplug offers. Priced at $100, this tiny gadget turns any USB external storage devices--anything from a Seagate FreeAgent Go to a Western Digital Passport or even a standard USB thumb drive--into a network file server.

The device itself is almost shockingly small; it's a tiny white box--measuring just 2 inches by 4.25 inches by 2.75 inches--that resembles an oversize wall wart. It comes with only two ports: a USB 2.0 slot and a Gigabit Ethernet jack. The Pogoplug can be plugged straight into an AC wall outlet but it also comes with an extension cord in case you want to keep the power outlet clear.


The Pogoplug (plugged into a wall outlet) sharing a Maxtor USB hard drive.

The USB connection will accommodate any USB external storage. By default it supports only one device but you can change that by using a USB hub. And the Pogoplug isn't picky; it supports basically all existing popular file systems including NTFS, FAT32, Mac OS Extended (Journaled and non-Journaled), and EXT-2/EXT-3.

Once you've plugged in the USB drive, the included Ethernet cable (running to your home network's router), and the power, you should get a couple of green lights on the unit indicating that it's properly communicating with your home network. Then you need to go through the setup process. For most network devices, that's where the aggravation begins, but the Pogoplug setup process is about as simple and stress-free as it gets. Just fire up your PC's Web browser, go to my.pogoplug.com, and follow the onscreen setup wizard. If the system doesn't automatically recognize your Pogoplug on the home network, you just need to type in the unique 26-digit serial code printed on the unit. Finish up by creating a Pogoplug account (mercifully, you need only supply an e-mail address and password), and you're done.

There are two ways to access files on the PogoPlug: via my.pogolug.com or by using Pogoplug's drive-mapping plug-ins. Both work on a home network or over the Internet. We started with the drive mapping plug-ins, which are available as free downloads on Pogoplug's Web site for 32- and 64-bit Windows (XP, Vista, or 7), Mac OS X, and Linux (including a 64-bit version as well). Downloading any of these will enable the Pogoplug-connected drive to appear as a regular local hard drive.

We tested the Cloud Engines Pogoplug by loading it up with an assortment of iTunes music and video files--some DRM protected--as well as a folder of photos and a few short homemade videos. We tried it on both Windows and Mac laptops and found it worked as though the Pogoplug drive was connected directly to the computer. We noted some occasional hiccups when working over the Internet, from our office to our home, several miles away, but when working within our home network, everything was smooth.


Pogoplug's browser interface

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Where to Buy

Cloud Engines Pogoplug

Part Number: POGOPLUG Released: Feb 15, 2009

As shown: $99

Check manufacturer's site for availability

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Feb 15, 2009
  • Data Link Protocol Ethernet