Powerful AES-256 bit encryption; no data stored on device; no subscription fees; relatively simple plug and play; attractive, compact design; replacement dongles available if lost; 2 year limited warranty.
Limited to two computers; both ends need to be switched on and online; hardly environmentally friendly; expensive USB device that can easily be mislaid or lost; transfers limited by ISP’s bandwidth restrictions; will be overkill for many causal computer users; no Linux support.
US$99 + shipping
Mac and PC compatible, the cross platform iTwin USB dongle device is a novel way of connecting two online computers anywhere and sharing unlimited content without resorting to web based storage or FTP solutions. Neat and very much pocket sized, iTwin is aimed primarily at anyone who wants to be better safe than sorry, business users essentially, or simply struggles remembering passwords. Users link the computers by sharing the two halves of the iTwin USB stick, which may involve some logistics if the two locations are a world apart. Depending on your operating system, set up is pretty much plug and play, although not as simple as the makers suggest. Our initial attempt couldn’t ‘see’ the other half somewhere up the road.
Once resolved, the process of transferring and editing files in either direction, and the ability to collaborate on one document from two locations makes sense. iTwin uses ‘military grade’ Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256 bit encryption to protect data and files, which is also used by cloud based services.
One major downside is mislaying or even losing one half of the iTwin, leaving your precious files open to others or abuse. Thankfully, you can disable the other half remotely until you hopefully find the device down the back of the sofa. If you are sharing content between home or office PC and laptop, while on your travels for instance, both ends need to be switched on and online.
If you have sensitive data at the other end, you will need to take extra precautions to protect those files. That data may also struggle with the kind of firewalls employed by many businesses. You might also want to consider the effect on the environment and the life span of your hardware having your computer always on.
Macworld Australia‘s buying advice
At US99, iTwin isn’t the cheapest way of sharing content over the internet and will likely seem over the top for anyone who occasionally needs to share files between computers or users. That said, business users and those with sensitive data should be more than impressed thanks to a solid mix of security and relative simplicity