A gadget that has become increasingly common recently is the portable hard drive with a wireless connection. We are used to USB drives as common accessories for laptops, but it is not as easy to connect with a cord to a tablet or smartphone. That is one of the reasons why we are now seeing more and more small portable hard drives with built-in battery and Wi-Fi.
The other reason to get one like this is that it acts as a nas, a small local file server that everyone connected to the network can share. Then you can, for example, load it with movies and music and then stream to several devices at the same time on the long, boring car journey.
The HP Pocket Playlist is a stylish and slim variation on the theme, only eight millimeters thick and with a weight of 66 grams. It has comfortably rounded shapes and a shell with matte black underside and piano lacquer gloss on top. On the side we find its only physical buttons, on/off, logging in with wps and switching between usb and wifi mode. Pocket Playlist can also be connected to a computer via a micro usb port which is also used to charge the battery.
But it is primarily intended to be used as a small local Wi-Fi network. In short, it is its own router with wireless access point, dhcp and built-in media server. Up to five users can connect at the same time. Not very impressive, but adequate for the intended use.
You connect to Pocket Playlist as a media server, wirelessly it is not possible to access the files directly. So to charge it you need to connect it to a PC. To connect and play from a PC, you can use Windows Media Player or another program of your choice. For Android and IOS, there are free apps to download from the App Store and Google Play. For Windows, you get the program Playlater with which you can download programs from, for example, Netflix and then share. However, the feature is quite limited outside the US.
Pocket Playlist supports a variety of media formats, but be careful that the content you’re trying to stream isn’t drm-protected. Then it can be a problem, even if you have the right to play the file on your tablet, because the device has built-in blocks for some drm-protected content.
We tested streaming the same 720p mp4 movie to four devices wirelessly. At close range from the device it works perfectly, but the Pocket Playlist doesn’t exactly have an impressive range. In a normal-sized room with an unobstructed view, it works well, but about eight meters away we started having problems with the bandwidth. Streaming music was still great, even through a wall or two.
However, what makes us dubious about the Pocket Playlist is neither the drm nor the wifi performance, but the fact that it only has 32 gigabytes of storage space. It does not have a “regular” hard drive or ssd under the shell, but a Flash memory.
Today you can buy a micro sd card with 64 gigabytes for under five hundred. Pocket Playlist costs one thousand Swedish kroner. This makes it expensive and impractical as extended memory for the tablet or phone (unless you were unwise and bought one with minimal storage memory and no sd card slot). So it follows that you have a burning need to utilize the sharing feature. If you also have mobile broadband with a wireless so-called mifi modem, there is a good chance that you have an SD card reader in it and can get the same function there instead.
HP Pocket Playlist
Manufacturer: HP, www.hp.se
Interface: Usb, Wi-Fi.
Storage space: 32 GB.
Max connected devices: 5.
Battery life: About 4 hours.
Programs/apps: Media manager for Windows, apps for IOS and Android.
Video format: Avi, 3gp, flv, m4v, m4p, mov, mp4, mpeg, mpeg2, mpg, ogg, qt, ts, tts, wmv.
Audio format: Aac, ac3, adts, asf, lpcm, m4a, mp3, wav, wma .
Size: 6 x 11.8 x 0.8 cm.
Weight: 66 g.
Award: 1000 crowns.
Plus: Small. Easy. Good user-friendly apps. Good media support
Minus: Only 32 gigabytes. Moderate wifi range. Wmdrm lock.
Grade: (6 out of 10)
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