The TonidoPlug2: A First Look

I was recently shipped two TonidoPlugs for evaluation purposes that we will later give away at the Home Server Show Meet-up on October 20th in Indianapolis.  Out of the box I was impressed by just how small these things are.  About one and a half times the size of an 2.5 inch hard drive and twice the thickness, these units can fit just about anywhere.  The units ship both with an adapter that fits for a long power cord or one that allows the unit to plug right into the wall.  It a unique design that I would expect to see in a battery charger.  It also comes with a CAT 5e cable and a quick start guide.

The most current version of the TonidoPlug retails for $119 at https://store.tonido.com/

 

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Here is what Tonido has to say about it:

TonidoPlug is a tiny, low power, low cost home and small-business server that allows you to access your applications, files, photos, music and media from anywhere via a web browser or mobile applications. You can effortlessly access and share your TonidoPlug’s files through native iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry or Windows 7 mobile apps.

TonidoPlug comes pre-installed with powerful Tonido Applications – Explorer, WebsharePro, Search and more – all running on top of embedded Linux OS. Additionally, TonidoPlug can be extended by installing new thirdparty applications from the Tonido App store.

The TonidoPlug is another private cloud storage option.  The unit has one bay open for a 2.5 inch hard drive (the top cover slides open for easy access), one USB 2.0 port for external hard drives, one 10/100/1000 Network port and Wireless access over WiFi b/g/n.

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For this review, I have installed a Western Digital WD2500BEVT 250GB 2.5 Hard drive.  It also supports flash drives for storage so I am attaching a 8GB PNY Attache flash drive.

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I started by connecting TonidoPlug to my router and installing the Western Digital drive and then connecting TonidoPlug to a power outlet.  I then accessed the device locally through http://www.tonidoplug.com/ip using Chrome and created an account.

Note: It’s a good idea to have your drives formatted BEFORE you add them to the TonidoPlug.

I formatted the WD 250GB to a single volume and formatted it NTFS (it had been a Window 7 OS drive before so it has 2 partitions on the drive) and added the 8GB Flash drive.  In the management page, it looks like this (click for large image)

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More features are available when purchasing a Pro account.  This review will cover the options that come with the free account.

Some additional features:

Applications and data are always local with the TonidoPlug. Your data and applications are available even if there is no internet connection available to your TonidoPlug and your plug continues to work.

When an external USB hard drive or internal SATA drive is connected, TonidoPlug2 converts it to a NAS storage accessible from Windows/Mac/Linux computers in the local network.

When you are outside your local network, you can still mount TonidoPlug folders as local drives using free TonidoDrive software (for Windows) or by using WebDAV for drag-and-drop download and upload support.

You can even stream media to some UPnP/DLNA compliant devices like the XBOX 360 or PlayStation 3 (Beta).

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Highlights

  • Energy efficient green device,  Uses 4x less electricity than TonidoPlug V1; costs approximately $2 per year to run if left on 24×7.
  • Convert your USB drive or SATA drive to Network Attached Storage accessible as a networked drive
  • Access your TonidoPlug using own URL (http://yourname.tonidoid.com)
  • Share and sync files, photos and music without uploading
  • Drag-and-Drop file and folder uploading to your TonidoPlug from Windows, Linux, OSX from remote locations via WebDAV
  • Listen to your MP3s from anywhere
  • Search and download your files
  • Manage your calendar, contacts, and tasks
  • Keep a personal blog, capture and store web snippets
  • Automatic or Manual Backup of all your computers to TonidoPlug
  • Stream media to the XBox 360 and PS3
  • Access and share files using an iPhone-specific Tonido web app
  • Extend your TonidoPlug with new apps from Tonido App store

Pros

  1. Small, light and very compact.  Easy to take with you.
  2. Sharing files with others is very easy.  They give you a public URL to share.
  3. When on the internal network, files can be easily added using Windows Explorer in Windows
  4. Very extendable with the Apps platform.

Cons

  1. No ability to format drives once they are attached directly to the device
  2. With just a single drive and a single USB, space could be a factor.
  3. File structure navigation at the top level is not intuitive.  The folder states “USB Drives” when it should just say “Drives”.”
  4. On the free version, sharing files is very easy but not very secure.  Public links are just that, very public.

About Jim

Jim Collison is a blogger and podcaster for HomeServerShow.com and TheAverageGuy.tv.and a Microsoft Home Server MVP

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4 Responses

  1. John Wills says:

    Looks interesting for those non-tech types who don't want a server thingy at their house. (Quoting my wife)

  2. Jim Collison says:

    More yet to come. Going to look at mobile use, File access via Windows Explorer, Photo Sharing and File Sharing in the next post.

  3. Jamr says:

    Looks interesting for some of my clients. I myself do not like the idea of streaming my media from my home as it takes away from my upload speed of my house. Until my cable company gives me more up speed I will transfer my media to the cloud for download anywhere I am.

  4. Terry says:

    Hi Jim, I noticed that you connected the plug using a external power cable. Just to check, I'm using the original TonidoPlug (white) now, which is using a UK power cable. Do you have any idea if I could use the same cable for the US model of TonidoPlug2 (which I assume you are using)