LaCie launches the LaPlug, lets you access USB drives over the net

LaPlug 3QTR Right USB Key LaCie launches the LaPlug, lets you access USB drives over the net

If product design is more important to you than what you get for your money, then LaCie is most likely a familiar brand to you. However, the company does managed to come up with some quirky bits of hardware from time to time and its latest addition, the LaPlug is just one of those things that could be immensely useful, but somehow turns out to be fairly pointless at the same time.

If product design is more important to you than what you get for your money, then LaCie is most likely a familiar brand to you. However, the company does managed to come up with some quirky bits of hardware from time to time and its latest addition, the LaPlug is just one of those things that could be immensely useful, but somehow turns out to be fairly pointless at the same time.

In essence the LaPlug is a compact NAS box at 119x119x37mm, except that by now you've most likely realised that by being so small there's no space for an internal drive. Rather than doing a NAS, LaCie put together a box that has both Gigabit Ethernet and support for 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi where the quirky bit is that it has four USB 2.0 ports for external storage devices. Three of the ports are around the back for more permanent connectivity and one is on the front. In addition to being able to accept storage devices the LaPlug also accepts printers for sharing over the network.

LaPlug 3QTR Right USB Key LaCie launches the LaPlug, lets you access USB drives over the net

The neat trick is that LaCie provides software with the LaPlug that allows you to access the attached devices even when you're not at home, well, at least as long as the LaPlug is connected to the internet somehow. It's also possible to get access to the LaPlug via a web browser, but this isn't always the most convenient option in our experience. The LaPlug also supports UPnP and DLNA and will stream media to any other DLNA device. Being an Apple friendly company LaCie has also thrown in support for Apple's Time Machine backup software.

LaPlug Back Bezel LaCie launches the LaPlug, lets you access USB drives over the net

The problem is that LaCie expects you to pay US$74.99 (S$97) for the LaPlug, for that kind of money you can wide range of wireless routers with a USB port or two built in. So ok, most of them aren't likely to have Time Machine support built in, but they're likely to have more advanced features and you do get a router included as well. We can't but help to feel that LaCie priced itself out of the market a bit here, although then again, we're sure there will be plenty of less technically inclined users that would be more than happy to spend that kind of money for easy network access to their data stored on multiple USB drives.

Source: LaCie

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