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Home / Apple / An all-in-one (yet strange niche) wireless storage device – Review geek

An all-in-one (yet strange niche) wireless storage device – Review geek



Rating:
6.5 / 10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Highly Faulty Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptable Imperfect
  • 6 – Good enough for to buy on sale
  • 7 – Great, but not best-in-class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with some footnotes
  • 9 – Shut up and take my money [19659004] 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $ 43 (HTGWD009)

  The man's hand holding the RAVPower FileHub.

Here's What We Like

  • Great Price
  • Decent Companion App
  • Decent File Transfer Rates
  • Works Like a 6700 mAh Laptop Battery
  • Works Like A Travel Router

And What We Don't [19659015] Difficult to Use
  • DLNA Casting Is a Mess
  • Boged down by Too Many Features
  • Whether you are a photographer, writer, or computer nerd in the garden area, a wireless file hub can streamline the file transfer process. But for $ 42 (with coupon code HTGWD009), RAVPower FileHub aims to do so much more. Is it too good to be true?

    I wish I could give you a clear answer. RAVPower FileHub is, on a basic level, a portable device for wireless data transfer. It has two ports for an SD card and a hard drive, and it is built for on-the-go data transfer with the phone. It does this by sending out a unique Wi-Fi signal (you can choose between a 2.4G band and a fast 5G band), which the phone connects for data transfer via the RAV FileHub app.

    However, FileHub also doubles as a casting device, a Wi-Fi bridge (it has an Ethernet port) and a 6700 mAh portable battery. For a $ 60 unit, these are many features. If they all worked perfectly then I would recommend FileHub to anyone, but that is not the case.

    While I like FileHub's wireless file transfer features, I think it's "jack of all trade" approach leads to many frustrating shortcomings.

    FileHub is well built, user manual is not

    FIleHub looks good and has great build quality. The buttons are clickable, it has a fine (not flimsy) rubber cover for the USB and Ethernet ports, and even the SD card slot feels strangely secure.

    FileHub is really a brick – and I mean it at best possible. But FileHub's ease of use? The 46-page manual? It's another story.

      FileHub sits on a table with the LED lights lit.
    FileHub's clear LEDs show their power and connectivity mode.

    FileHub does many different things, and yes, it has a learning curve. But the problem is, even if you follow the instructions, FileHub finds a way to confuse you. I mention some of the questions during this review, but I'll start with something frustrated from day one.

    FileHub's power button is ridiculous. I've never had so much trouble turning on a device. While the instruction manual clearly states: "Power Button: Press to turn FileHub on / off", hold the button down for about five seconds – no more, no less. I manage to turn this up every time I use FileHub.

    This sounds like a minor problem (it may even seem like a personal problem). The thing is, I've experienced a number of similar bizarre problems while using FileHub. These problems make the device difficult to use, and are rarely addressed in the 46-page manual. I didn't want to read every single page, but I had to because I was still confused.

    The FileHub app is just ok

    There are technically two FileHub apps: RAV FileHub (iOS, Android) and FileHub Plus (iOS, Android). The RAV FileHub app is featured in FileHub's user guide, so we're going to focus on it for this review (they're almost identical, anyway).

      Photos, file management and videos in the RAV FileHub app on a phone.
    RAV FileHub app interface. (I removed personal files for this review.)

    The RAV FileHub app is comfortable to use, albeit a bit clumsy. It has a minimal design that is easy to navigate, and although great for file transfer, it is swollen with many underdeveloped extras.

    Rather than printing seven sections on the features of the RAV FileHub app, we want to keep things clean and concise with a list:

    • File Organization : FileHub separates all files (from the phone, SD card or hard drive ) in categories called Pictures, Videos, Music or Contacts. You can view these categories as a list or thumbnail, and you can organize them by name or date. I love how it organizes files – it's one of the best features of the app.
    • Three file transfer methods : You can transfer files to (or from) FileHub via Photos, Videos, Music or Contacts categories, from the bare-bones file explorer, or through the dedicated Photo Backup option ( which is extremely disorganized).
    • Transfer Speed ​​and Options : The highest transfer speed I have reached on a 5G connection is 9 Mbps (it is advertised to achieve speeds of 12-18 Mbps). This is equivalent to about 1 GB of data every 80 seconds, which is not terrible. Fortunately, you can multitask during file transfer.
    • Viewing and streaming : You can view and stream external files from the app, but the display options are deficient (although not necessarily bad). It's worth mentioning the app's video interface that supports subtitle encoding and alternative audio tracks (for you anime fans).
    • Casting and DLNA : The RAV FileHub app supports casting via DLNA, which means it works with Chromecast and Roku. This feature is very difficult to use, but I'll return to it later.
    • In-App Camera : To send new images directly to FileHub (and skip local phone storage along the way), you can use the handy camera in the app. Well, that is, if you are using an iPhone. The Android app does not have the camera feature in the app. This discrepancy is not mentioned in the manual and it makes me wonder if the Android app lacks any other features.
    • Settings : The settings in the app are quite robust, with security options (hide SSID), IP settings, wireless channel options, and speed tests. Most users do not need to talk to these, but it is nice they are available.

    Obviously, the FileHub app does a lot of things, but few of those options are objectively good. I'd say the RAV FileHub app (like FileHub itself) is a jack of all trades, but just a master of basic file transfers.

    You can also access FileHub through your phone or computer browser. To do this, connect to FileHub's Wi-Fi signal and enter the IP address 10.10.10.254 in the address field (such as when configuring a router settings). This is a great option as it allows you to open videos or work related files on your computer.

    It's a useful-yet-niche local storage device

    FileHub is advertised as a device that can do just about anything, but it really works best as a wireless external storage device. This brings us to an interesting question: why would you want to use a wireless storage center instead of a USB-C hub?

    The benefits of wireless storage are quite niche, but they exist. Wireless storage devices eliminate the need for a cable, which is great if you're worried about compatibility. And since FileHub can connect to five devices at once, it's ideal for some work situations (especially for groups).

      FileHub's transfer rate test menu.
    A comparison of FileHub's data transfer speeds, taken from the speed test menu.

    FileHub also has an "SD to USB" button that automatically transfers the contents of an SD card to an external drive (without deleting the drive's files). This feature is useful for photographers or videographers blowing through SD cards (although this is not a wireless feature).

    Oddly enough, the real downfall of wireless external storage is convenience. The process of turning on and connecting to FileHub takes about two or three minutes, while it takes less than a second to connect to a USB-C hub.

    Plus, in my experience, FileHub can only transfer data of approx. 9 MBps (about 1 GB every 80 seconds). That's almost 1/50 of the speed you get from a cheap USB-C hub.

    This would not be such a big problem if FileHub could perform wired data transfer to a phone or PC. For whatever reason, it can't. To transfer the contents of an SD card to the notebook, you must either handle 10 Mbps wireless transfer rate or connect the SD card directly to the notebook. My laptop doesn't have an SD card reader, so in my case I have to carry around a USB dongle when using FileHub from home.

    Local DLNA Casting Is Frustrating

    One of FileHub's top selling points is that you can use it for local streaming. It relies on DLNA, which means it's compatible with devices like Chromecast and Roku. But in my experience, FileHub is not reliable enough for dedicated casting.

    Don't get me wrong, when you get it started casting, it's great. It's the rare part of the lag or buffer, but that's to be expected. The thing is that it is very difficult to make everything work.

      The DLNA menu from FileHub's video player on a phone.
    The DLNA menu from FileHub's video player. I took a picture of the cast, but I can't make it work.

    The first release is the RAV FileHub app. If you've never worked with DLNA, you may be confused when the app sends you to the clumsy DLNA interface (it's not a simple Chromecast icon or anything). Most people are probably not familiar with DLNA, so the app will guide you through the process.

    Chromecast and Roku also depend on your local Wi-Fi network, so they will not always recognize or connect to FileHub (which emits a unique Wi-Fi signal). I had a lot of trouble getting FileHub to work with my Chromecast. After a little fidgeting (running Chromecast through the setup process two or three times) I got the whole system working. But even then, the Chromecast doesn't always know each other or play nice with FileHub. Your experience may be different, but I noticed many similar complaints while researching FileHub.

    You can use FileHub as a casting device, but the experience is not great. It is probably better to skip the DLNA duty and connect your laptop or phone to a TV via HDMI. That way, you're still technically streaming from external files from FileHub, but you don't have to deal with any weird connectivity issues.

    In a pinch, It's a Good Wi-Fi Bridge

    The idea that you can use this device as a Wi-Fi bridge is pretty bizarre. But in a pinch, it's a nice feature to have. Connect FileHub to a Wi-Fi network or Ethernet connection, and it can be used as a router of up to five devices. This is the FileHub feature I had no problems with, and the instruction manual explains how to set up a bridge very well.

      FileHub on a table with an Ethernet cable connected.
    FileHub connected to a router via Ethernet cable for use as a bridge.

    Why would you ever use FileHub as a Wi-Fi bridge? You cannot interact with FileHub without connecting to the Wi-Fi network. The Bridge features eliminate the need to switch between it and the Wi-Fi network to browse file transfers.

    Some hotels also require you to pay for each device you connect to the Wi-Fi network. With FileHub, you only pay for FileHub and use the bridge feature for your other devices. Of course, your internet speed will suffer, but it's better than paying your nose for crappy hotel Wi-Fi.

    Portable battery features are always appreciated

    RAVPower somehow managed to package many features into FileHub. So it's no surprise that you can use it as a portable battery.

    FileHub has a 6700 mAh battery. At full capacity, it can charge a modern smartphone two or three times. This battery is drained while FileHub is in regular use, so it's more of an emergency feature than anything else. Either way, it is well appreciated.

    If you know how to use FileHub, buy it

    In most situations, a simple USB-C hub with SD card and USB-A inputs will serve you better than FileHub. Although the FileHub app was better, connecting and transferring files to a wireless storage device from your phone is a very slow process.

    However, there are some situations where RAVPower FileHub outperforms a wired USB-C hub. If you are a photographer, FileHub makes it easy to dump SD cards on external drives. The five-person shared feature also makes it a decent portable NAS for group work.

    So if you already know how to use FileHub, it's a steal for $ 60. If you're not sure how to use it, consider buying a single USB-C hub (or a portable battery, casting device, or Wi-Fi bridge).

    Rating: 6.5 / 10

    Price: $ 43 (HTGWD009)

    Here's What We Like

    • Good Price
    • Decent Companion App
    • Decent file transfer rate
    • Works like a portable 6700 mAh Battery
    • Works like a travel router

    And what we don't

    • Difficult to use
    • DLNA Casting Is a Mess
    • Bogged down for Too Many Features [19659094]! Function (f, b, e, v, n, t, r) {if (f.fbq) return; n = f.fbq = function () {n.callMethod n.callMethod.apply (n, arguments):? n.queue.push (arguments)} if f._fbq = n (f._fbq!); n.push = n; n.loaded = 0 ;! n.version = & # 39; 2.0 & # 39 ;; n.queue = []; t = b .createElement (e); t.async = 0 ;! t.src = v; s = b.getElementsByTagName (s) [0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore (t, s)} (window, document, & # 39; script & # 39;, & # 39; https: //connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbevents.js'); FBQ (& # 39; init & # 39 ;, & # 39; 1137093656460433 & # 39;); FBQ (& # 39; t stand & # 39 ;, & # 39; side view & # 39;);
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