As bandwidth availability increases, more focus is being placed on cloud services, with the likes of Dropbox and Google Drive gaining in popularity for users to store their documents, pictures, and music in the cloud. However, whilst a lot of focus is placed on the functionality of these cloud services, how they sync, and how much storage you get, very little focus is placed on the actual privacy of storing such files in the cloud. As convenient as it may be having your files available wherever you go, you still are trusting a 3rd party hosting your data, and in many cases hidden away in the fine-print, actually laying claim of ownership of that file since it resides on their server.
But what about if you had all the convenience and benefits that a cloud service offered, that you controlled? That’s why anyone who appreciates privacy will love the Transporter Sync, and we got one to review.
The team over at Transporter sent us a Transporter Sync device to review which allows you to plug your own storage into and hook your hard drive into their services.
If you’ve read my previous reviews, you’ll know I love unique looking hardware and something that stands out. Well the Transporter Sync does just that, and couple that with a sleek light panel that circles the device, and I was in love with this right out of the box. The ports on the Transporter Sync are located at the rear of the device and you have a power, Ethernet, and USB connection, and that’s it. There’s really nothing more to the device, and that’s what makes it incredibly light.
– Height: 2.0 in (50 mm)
– Width: 3.9 in (100 mm)
– Depth: 3.9 in (100 mm)
– Weight: 0.5 lb (0.23 kg)
As for the front of the device, there is nothing to see except a pulsating light which indicates the status of the Transporter Sync. Seeing Blue means everything is up and working, but you’ll be notified instantly if anything is wrong by different colours. Plus it looks pretty cool and futuristic sitting on my TV entertainment unit – again, a device I simply did not want to hide up, and wanted it on show for all to see.
The USB 2.0 connection plugs into your existing storage options, and since it’s your own hard drive, it’ll accept any external drive. There’s also Gigabit Ethernet for your network connection.
Turning the focus onto what the Transport Sync actually does, and that’s where this little device really begins to impress. The Transporter Sync takes any external drive that you connect in and turns it into your own personal cloud. That means you enjoy all the benefits of having your files anywhere you go, but on a service that is hosted and controlled by you, meaning your privacy is retained.
The Transporter Sync is managed via a web front end that will report the status of your device as well as available storage and gives you the ability to set up shared folders.
The Transporter Sync comes with a client that you install on the devices you want to be able to access your personal cloud. There is a Mac and PC client that just looks like a standard folder within Explorer or Finder, as well as Android and iOS App.
The Transporter Sync has two distinct folder types which control how the files are shared, and ultimately are differnetiated between given how often you access that file. For example, I have “My Documents” synced which means a copy gets locally copied to each device I have the Transporter Client installed on, whereas “My Pics” are in the Library which means my various devices can still access them whenever they want, but they are stored at home on that external drive and downloaded when called upon, so don’t take up valuable space on my client.
The whole experience is pretty seamless,especially when you get your head around the two different folder types and how they are used for different purposes. A big thank you to the Transporter team and especially Jim who stuck with me when I was asking some probably obvious questions – the support was amazing.
The only way I could see the Transporter Sync being improved would be to allow the files stored on the external drive to be viewed via the web browser, of which the Transporter team said they’re working on. Also, the Android App could do with updating to allow more functionality; when viewing a file it has to be downloaded first as opposed to just being able to edit an “online” version, and it would be nice to see picture files displayed in a gallery view, as opposed to a standard file list, but again the Transporter team said they are working on delivering an enhanced Android app too.
The Transporter Sync isn’t the only option available for those wanting their own private cloud service. Transporter offer additional products with integrated storage options, offering the same cloud and sync experience at various price points.
The Transporter Sync is a great product with a lot of potential, which the team have assured me they are working on the limited shortcomings I found when using the product, like the Android app and the web GUI. With that said, the device looks great, functions fantastically, and keeps all my files protected under my control with no recurring monthly fees or storage limits.
For more information and to buy one, check out the Transporter site.
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