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Pogoplug 2 hands-on (photos)

Cloud Engines' next-gen Pogoplug has a different design and new firmware for streaming to game consoles. We try it out.

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Scott Stein
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1 of 15 Sarah Tew/CNET

Pogoplug 2 hands-on

Bigger, pinker, and filled with four times as many USB ports, the newest $129 Pogoplug is far less inconspicuous--and more expensive--than its tiny white predecessor.
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2 of 15 Scott Stein/CNET

Pogoplug 2 hands-on

In actual home use, the new Pogolug can become quite a tangle of cords. A Seagate USB hard drive has nowhere to rest except for beside the unit. Plugged into the front USB port is a LaCie key-shaped USB drive, attached to our keychain.
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3 of 15 Scott Stein/CNET

Pogoplug 2 hands-on

The power cable, Ethernet connection, and three USB ports crowd the rear of the Pogoplug. Connection is simple, but cord management not so much.
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4 of 15 Scott Stein/CNET

Pogoplug 2 hands-on

When using a PlayStation 3, the Pogoplug shows up as a connected source from either the music, photo, or video spokes of the media bar.
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5 of 15 Scott Stein/CNET

Pogoplug 2 hands-on

Clicking on the Pogoplug icon using the PS3 brings up the various folders on our hard drive. The contents of each can be browsed, although there's no search tool.
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6 of 15 Scott Stein/CNET

Pogoplug 2 hands-on

Video files appear as a long list, and finding out which formats can stream correctly on the PS3 is a trial-and-error affair.
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7 of 15 Scott Stein/CNET

Pogoplug 2 hands-on

On the Xbox 360, the Pogoplug can be selected from the media connection blade. It showed up automatically once we had enabled console streaming on the Pogoplug's Web site settings.
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8 of 15 Scott Stein/CNET

Pogoplug 2 hands-on

Individual hard-drive sources can be selected once the Pogoplug icon is clicked. (Xbox 360 interface shown)
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9 of 15 Scott Stein/CNET

Pogoplug 2 hands-on

Video streaming from a Pogoplug-connected hard drive to the Xbox 360 worked, but tended toward stuttery video quality. Certain video formats wouldn't play, and knowing which would work was as trial-and-error as it was on the PS3. All videos show up in one long list, which can be difficult to browse.
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10 of 15 Scott Stein/CNET

Pogoplug 2 hands-on

Music playback from a Pogoplug to the Xbox 360 was a much better experience, but 16,000-plus files are a lot to scroll through. Thankfully, album and artist sort lists seemed to work.
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11 of 15 Scott Stein/CNET

Pogoplug 2 hands-on

Setting up video streaming to an Xbox 360 or PS3, or enabling HTML5 video conversion for the iPad, isn't automatic: it has to be checked off from within my.pogoplug.com's Pogoplug settings.
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12 of 15 Scott Stein/CNET

Pogoplug 2 hands-on

A new feature to the Pogoplug software is Active Copy, which copies a folder from one connected hard drive to another with updates whenever the folder's contents are changed. We'd prefer if it worked with our laptop's files, too, but it's limited to devices plugged directly into the Pogoplug.
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13 of 15 Scott Stein/CNET

Pogoplug 2 hands-on

To our pleasant surprise, the Pogoplug's browser interface works pretty well on the iPad (shown here). Music, photos, and even video can be accessed, with greater controls than the limited iPhone interface. Unfortunately, using multitouch to control the browser's small icons was challenging.
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14 of 15 Scott Stein/CNET

Pogoplug 2 hands-on

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15 of 15 Scott Stein/CNET

Pogoplug 2 hands-on

Video streaming on the iPad sometimes worked well in the same room as the Pogoplug device, but noncompatible video files only stream for 10 seconds until they are HTML5-converted by the Pogoplug, a process that isn't clearly indicated or explained. Still, it's a promising way to share video on an iPad if the kinks can be worked out.

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