I love multi-tools.
I’ve had tools from Gerber and Leatherman for years. I don’t carry one on my belt, but I always have one in my car, at home, on my desk at work and in my computer bag.
I’m just attracted to tools that try to be as useful as possible.
I’ve been using a new gadget from Ravpower that reminds me a lot of my multi-tools — it’s called the Filehub 2019 AC750 Wireless Travel Router ($59.99, www.ravpower.com) and it can do way more than I expected.
The Filehub is small, just 4.5 x 3 x 0.9 inches and weighs only seven ounces.
Here are the Filehub’s main features:
As the name suggests, the Filehub is a Wi-Fi router. It’s designed to take the internet in via Ethernet cable and send it out to the world wirelessly. This is handy if you are traveling and stay in a hotel that has a wired port in the room.
The Filehub can also act as a Wi-Fi bridge and wireless extender. It can be joined to your existing Wi-Fi network to extend it, but I didn’t find it gave very much extra range. Bridge mode is handy, and I’ll cover that in detail a bit later.
The Filehub can create 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz networks (or both) and all the usual security features are included.
The Filehub has 802.11 b/g/n/ac networking for maximum compatibility with both old and new wireless devices.
I wouldn’t use it as a replacement for a home Wi-Fi router, but for a hotel room or backyard use, it’ll do just fine.
The Filehub is powered by a 6,700 mAh battery, which is big enough to power the router all day and the battery can provide a 2-amp charge for any of your USB devices. The battery is charged by an included microUSB cable.
Wireless external storage
The Filehub has a standard USB port to connect a flash drive or external hard drive. Using the free Filehub app on your iOS or Android phone or tablet, you can use the connected USB storage with your mobile devices.
You can use it to transfer photos or videos to or from your phone or tablet. You can even use the Filehub’s external USB storage as a shared hard drive on your Mac or Windows PC.
SD card storage and transfer
The Filehub really shines when you use it to move files around, especially from an SD card.
Photographers will be thrilled to find out the Filehub can automatically copy the contents of an SD card to storage attached to the USB port.
You can offload the photos from an SD card to a USB hard drive without a computer. Just connect the USB drive, insert the SD card and press the SD>USB tranfer button on the side and wait for the SD card icon to stop flashing.
I’d use the Filehub app to check the contents of the USB drive to verify the photos made it to their new home before you delete any photos from the SD card. I didn’t have any issues with photos transferring, but heed the Russian proverb, “Trust, but verify.”
You can also use the Filehub’s SD card slot to transfer photos wirelessly from an SD card to a connected PC.
One of the Filehub’s features I found most useful is its media streaming.
Once I connected my iPhone, iPad or computer to the Filehub’s Wi-Fi network, I could play any music or video file on the Filehub’s connected storage.
Think about storing all your kid’s favorite movies on a thumb drive and turning the Filehub into your own personal media server for those long road trips.
Movies start really quickly over the wireless connection and playback of streaming files is flawless.
This is an inexpensive way to store and play all your movies and music, especially on a phone or tablet without much onboard storage.
The Filehub can also act as a media server. You can use it to up to five devices to your home media storage to serve up DLNA files (protected movies) to play back on Chromecast, Roku or other DLNA devices.
A very handy feature is the ability to put the Filehub into bridge mode. You connect the Filehub to your home’s Wi-Fi network. This is the same mode where you extend your home’s Wi-Fi.
You then connect your devices to the Filehub, which acts as a bridge to your home internet, through the Filehub to your connected devices. This means you can access all the features of Filehub while you remain connected to the internet.
Direct camera storage
The Filehub app has camera control. Touch the camera icon in the app and you’ll be able to take photos or videos on your phone, but instead of saving the pictures or video to your phone’s camera roll, they’ll be saved directly to storage connected to the Filehub.
As a tech reviewer, most of the features of the Filehub excite me. I love wireless transfer and storage. I adore one-touch backup of SD cards to USB drives without a PC in the middle.
I cherish wireless media streaming from Filehub to your phone or tablet.
Any of those features would be worth $60 to me.
All those features, along with the travel router and backup battery, make the Filehub a no-brainer purchase for me. It has too many handy uses.
This little box (about the size of a deck of cards) easily earns a place in my computer bag.
Filehub at a glance
Pros: Inexpensive. Great transfer options. Wireless media streaming. External battery power.
Cons: Won’t read hard drives bigger than 3 terabytes or SD cards larger than 256 gigabytes. Can’t use Mac formatted storage.
Bottom Line: Too many cool features to leave this little guy at home. Get in my bag!
ABOUT THE WRITER
Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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