Pogoplug: Is it really everything it is meant to be?

pogoplugNowadays, there is a wide variety solutions available for cloud-storage services including Dropbox, SkyDrive and Google Drive. Even though these are all well known and reliable options, what puts off many people from using these services is the price of their subscription fees. This is why Pogoplug has become an attractive alternative as you only have to make a one-off payment for a device that allows you to set up your Personal Cloud at home to provide your own storage. With Pogoplug, you will be available to backup your files and access them from any device, anywhere without the need of paying recurring fees.

You can get the basic Pogoplug device for $49.95 and it offers Gigabit Ethernet, SD card and USB 2.0 slot, which allows you to connect external drives. For $99.95, you can upgrade to the Pogoplug Series 4, which has the same features as the basic model, plus SATA/USM drive and USB 3.0. Their most complete hardware is the Pogoplug Office that for $145.95 offers everything you get in the other models, plus a customizable interface, password protected sharing and an option to be used for up to 5 users. The fact that you can avail of your own storage service by paying just $50 and combining it with a 1TB external hard drive for around $100, means that you can save a lot of money compared to what you would spend every year in fees for a cloud storage service.

Once you have you Pogoplug device, you just need to follow the instructions on their website to activate storage and connect it to your router. Then you can download their mobile apps and backup software for free, which will allow you to enjoy continuous backup. The software is compatible with Mac, Windows and Linux and while your “Cloiud” will stay secure at home, you will be able to access and share your files from anywhere.

The PC software works similar to Dropbox and SugarSync as it creates a separate drive on your computer, where you can drag and drop your files and select folders on your PC that you wish to backup automatically. The issue with previous versions of the software is that if the program was minimized, it would not back up the files but this was fixed with some software updates. When you are away from home, you can use the Pogoplug mobile apps to access your files using iOS or Android devices. The apps are easy to use and have a clean design with organized folders for different types of files.

One of the most appealing features of Pogoplug is that it counts with a large capacity of storage in its hard drive, which offers more than enough to ensure that you do not have to worry about running out of space. You can will automatically back up photos from your smartphone using the mobile app. The only complaint here is that the photos are not stored on their own folders, which makes them difficult to locate.

While the popularity of Pogoplug hardware is such that they currently are sold out in Europe, there are some catches to their apparent offer of  personal cloud storage without recurrent fees. For instance, even though their Office model is meant to provide password protect-shared folders, in reality you will need to set up a Pogoplug Team account for $15 per user to enjoy this feature. If you want to divide your Pogoplug storage allowance between your family, giving each of them private access, you will have to pay $20 per year for a Family account.

The main problem with Pogoplug is that their extras and add-on services are not explained clearly, which leads to confusion. You may think that once you get the device, you will not need to spend more. However, after you set it up, you are prompted to buy a Pogoplug Cloud subscription, which is precisely what you wanted to avoid. Users go to Pogoplug attracted by the possibility of enjoying online cloud storage without having to pay recurring fees but at every stage of the setting up of your hardware, they try to sell you one of their services. It is impossible not to feel a bit tricked once you realize that the Pogoplug device may not set you free from additional charges as you thought.

In terms of reliability and convenience, Pogoplug also loses points as in multiple occasions during testing, we experienced issues to access the Pogoplug drive. Even though most of the time, the issue was solved by simply disconnecting the device from the power outlet and connecting it again, if this happened while you are away from home, you will not have a way to fix the problem and your files will not be available. If you need to make sure that you are nearby the device to unplug it and plug it back in case there is an issue like this, the point of having a personal cloud to enable remote access to your files is lost.

In spite of its shortcomings, the fact that Pogoplug offers an affordable storage solution still has to be taken into consideration. Even with some potential extras and misleading advertisement, you can enjoy a Personal Cloud storage for significantly less than what you would pay with a traditional network based service. Pogoplug’s software is easy to use and if you are looking for a simple, basic backup service, they could still be the right solution for you, as long as you don’t rely completely in having online access to your files wherever you are. Perhaps, the best thing is to keep in mind that if saving money is more important than having a solid service in every sense and you are ready to deal with the occasional issues, then Pogoplug is a viable alternative.

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