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Pogoplug Series 4

At a Glance
Product Pogoplug Series 4 (POGO-V4-A3-01)
Summary New top end of the Pogoplug line with many drive connection options
Pros • Supports USB 3.0 and SATA/USM drives
• 25 MB/s reads with USB 3.0/USM
Cons • Significantly lower write performance vs. read
• Requires app install to access as network drive

I have always felt that Pogoplugs could be very useful for a lot of people. A Pogoplug supports sharing, streaming and general accessibility of content from just about anywhere, without having to pay a monthly subscription fee to a cloud service provider.

With the launch of Pogoplug Cloud, I was concerned that Pogoplug (then Cloud Engines) had given up the good fight to make the cloud home-friendly, and went down the subscription path of so many other cloud providers before it. Thankfully, this was not the case. Pogoplug followed its Cloud announcement with the Pogoplug Mobile and Pogoplug Series 4. And on top of that, the Classic 'plug's price was dropped to only $50.

Inside

The series 4 Pogoplug is the older sibling to the Pogoplug Mobile that I recently reviewed. So, the first thing you'll notice when unboxing, is that the form factor is the same. However, there's some engineering wizardry here, as you can pull the top of off the Series 4, a trick you can't do with the Mobile.

Top view of Series 4 with cover removed

Pulling the top off reveals a USB 2.0 port, and the USM slot. USM is the latest attempt by the IEEE working group for SATA to make a decent interface for external HDDs. USM includes a locking mechanism (something that's been needed on internal drives as well), built in power and is backward-compatible with existing SATA I and II drives. A more in-depth explanation is available as a PDF download from SATA-IO.org.

Interestingly, when Googling SATA USM, most of the first page links come up for existing Pogoplug Mobile and Series 4 reviews, with the occasional review of the Seagate GoFlex external HDD, which I'll be using to test the Series 4. What's on the back you ask? Let's take a look.

Pogoplug Series 4 rear view

The back looks similiar to the Pogoplug Mobile, except for two fancy blue USB ports, indicating this is USB 3.0, vs. the single USB 2.0 port on the Mobile. USB 3.0 is backward-compatible with USB 2.0, thanks to a fancy connector design by Intel. Otherwise, you have the same 10/100/1000 Ethernet network connection, and the socket for the power brick.

The Series 4's internals are similar to the Pogoplug Mobile, with some additional connectors and devices supporting the USB 3.0 connections. The USM connection is actually available on the Pogoplug Mobile as well as you can see in the Gallery photo, but is not brought out. Both products use the same 800 MHz Marvell 88F6192 "Kirkwood" SoC to power the device, so we should expect to see similar performance from both devices, when using the same attached drive.

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