Seagate FreeAgent DockStar NAS Device Review

0 thumbs up


If you are on the road and want to access the DockStar remotely over the Internet, doing so is no different than as if you were accessing the device over your home network. If the Pogoplug app is installed and running on your system, the device's attached drives will still show up as locally-attached drives. You can also connect to the device via the Web interface (dockstar.pogoplug.com or my.pogoplug.com). The only real difference you are likely to encounter is that the remote connection will probably be slower than when connecting over your local network.

 

 Pogoplug Web interface.


The Web interface is a very simple affair with all of the available drives listed on the left side of the window. Each drive listing includes a set of preset searches, such as files added or changed today, last week, and last month; other search options let you search for photos, music, and movies, as well as doing a custom search. The left side of the window also allows you to view any files that other DockStar or Pogoplug users have shared with you, and view any files that you have shared with other users (more on this on the next page). You can view files using a list view, or by small, medium, or large thumbnails. You can sort the view by file name, size, date, or type.

 

 

 Browsing and playing audio files (left); viewing photos as a slideshow (right).


If you mouse over a file, action items appear, such as download, rename, or delete. Mousing over a folder adds the additional option to share the folder. If the file you mouse over is a photo, video, or audio file (assuming that the file format is supported by the Web interface), you also have the option to preview the file either by selecting the preview item in the Actions section or more simply, just by clicking on the file. Photos and videos open up in a window that overlays the page; audio files play in a small player that appears in the lower-right-hand corner of the window. You can also view photos as a slideshow. We didn't throw every type of media file possible at the flash-based Web interface, but we did have luck viewing BMP, GIF, JPG, and PNG image files; M4V, MOV, and MP4 video files; and M4A and MP3 audio files. (We couldn't get the Web interface to view or play TIF, PDF, WMV, FLC, FLV, 3GP, 3G2, AAC, AIFF, or WAV files.)

 

 

 Browsing video files (left); playing a video (right).


  

 

 

 The Pogoplug iPod app in action.


If you own an iPhone or iPod touch, you can also connect to the DockStar locally or remotely with the free iPhone Pogoplug app. With the iPhone app you can navigate through the folders on all the drives attached to the DockStar, as well as files shared with you. (You are supposed to also be able to see files you share with others, but there is currently a bug with this feature--see the next page for information about the bug.) You can upload photos from your iPhone, as well as view or play media files from DockStar-attached drives. We were able to view GIF, JPG, PDF, and PNG image files (interestingly, we could view PDFs on the iPhone, but not using the Web interface); M4V, MOV, and MP4 video files; and M4A and MP3 audio files. When we selected a BMP file, the app attempted to show the image, but instead displayed a blank window; with our test WAV file, the app played less than the first second of the song, before the app crashed and dumped us back out to the main iPhone screen. The app also crashed on us a few times when trying to upload photos. If you don't renew your yearly DockStar subscription, the iPhone Pogoplug app will still be able to access the DockStar over your local network, but it will no longer be able to connect to the DockStar remotely.

Article Index:

0
+ -

It's definitely a cool device, I'm just not sure it's worth getting tangled up in there subscription service for nothing more value added than a facebook plugin.

It seems like all of the admin features could have been integrated into the device itself, instead of requiring you to pay forever.

0
+ -

The subscription service does more than just integrate with Facebook. The service is what permits all remote access and remote file sharing. Without the service, you just have a NAS on your local network.

0
+ -

That's part of my point:  The service facilitates easier remote access and file sharing...  but they could have implemented every one of those feature directly on the device itself.  Throw in a dynamic dns updater so that you can access it with the same URL every time, and you have links you can share and access from anywhere on the net..

They implemented it in a way that purposefully requires their service... when it doesn't actually add any value over the more direct approach I describe.  It looks like the only thing their approach truly "adds" is a crippling of your functionality if you don't keep paying them every year.

Companies are latching on to the idea that every tech device or media file should be turned into a service and leased to you.  I would rather pay once and know the true lifetime cost up front.

0
+ -

Seagate licensed the Pogoplug technology for the DockStar from Cloud Engines. Cloud Engines sells a Pogoplug device for the same price, and the Pogoplug comes with a lifetime subscription to the Pogoplug service at no extra charge. The two products are not identical, and each has a few advantages over the over--one key advantage the Pogoplug has over the DockStar (in addition to not having a subscription fee) is that the Pogoplug is easily hackable--and Cloud Engines even sort of kind of encourages it, without actually endorsing it.

0
+ -

It sounds like that would be the better option for the technical user.

You can always plug in a USB hub to gain additional USB ports; it's unlikely that you would be using multiple drives at the same time, so it probably wouldn't affect bandwidth to the devices.

0
+ -

Quick question:  Are the stars supposed to be used to rate the product, or the review of the product?  I gave it five based on the quality of the review, but I would only give the product a 3.

Login or Register to Comment
Post a Comment
Username:   Password: