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Take it all with You – HomePipe Free Beta – Android App Review

June 30, 2010 - Written By Chris Yackulic

App Name: Homepipe Free Beta by Homepipe Networks Inc.

Description: The HomePipe Android Application lets you get all your content, without hassles! By using the storage on your home network, HomePipe saves you time and money. No duplicating files. No new equipment. No storage limits. HomePipe is free and lets you enjoy ALL your content — photos, videos, music, and more — from anywhere.

There is a free version and a premium version of HomePipe.  The description for the premium version doesn’t clarify why it is a paid version of the same app.

How it works: In order to use HomePipe, you have to sign up and download the desktop version here on whatever computer you are wanting to access files from.  You can use this on as many computers as you want. Once you have set it up you can select the folders you are going to be using.  Depending on the size it may take a few minutes for the app to refresh so you can view them on your phone.  I had to actually back out of the app and go back in and then it loaded the new folders.

A few things to be aware of: This app does not store your files for you via the cloud storage like DropBox. They are streaming them from your computer to the Internet/cloud and then to your android phone.  If the computer that has the files is turned off or on standby your files will not be accessible from your phone. I also realized that if the folder you are accessing is being used (i.e open on your computer) it will not access your files either.


To get to whatever you want to look at you select that folder from the main screen and it will show all the content for the folder. From the app itself,  you can view pictures and play music, however videos will download to the SD card as will document and pdf files and then you can choose what app you want to view the documents or videos.

The picture viewer works quite well and gives you an option to view them in Hi-Res which is nice. You can tab through the pics but can’t swipe back and forth with your finger. It also allows you to zoom in and out of the pics without much pixel loss.

The music player is basic but there was no lag listening to music which will be wonderful so I don’t have to keep it all on my phone if I don’t want to.

If you long press on any of your content it brings up a dialog box with options to download, copy, move, delete, rename or email.  You can also click the check box next the content item in the folder and selecting menu on your phone will give you options to move, delete or download that way you can facilitate the action for multiple files at once if you want.

Opinion: When I first used the app I was frustrated because pics and and music were taking so long to load.  Once I realized that the appropriate folder had to be available (closed on the laptop) then they popped up quick and easy. Chalk that up to first time user (though the user guide doesn’t really clarify that issue) and after that I was impressed.  I have access to nearly 16 GB of pics from my laptop and another 2 GB of music.  Who needs a SD card when you have this?  And the kicker is I am using the free version.  The app states this is a beta version but I couldn’t tell as it appeared to be pretty bug free right now.

Sidenote: The user guide specifically for Google Android devices makes reference to ‘devices I use’ as netbook, IPhone and friend’s computer.  If the user guide was universal I could understand but HomePipe – know your audience – not everyone has an IPhone.

Ratings :

  • Speed (4/5) –  The initial load of the new folders can take a few minute depending on the size
  • Features (5/5) – Access to docs, music, pics and videos without using your phone’s space. What more do u need?
  • Theme (4/5) – Simple but effective.
  • Overall (4.5/5) – Fairly efficient well stocked app for access to all your content.

Pro

  • You can load any virtually any file to download or view on your phone.
  • One click access to email files.
  • Integrated music player and picture gallery.
  • Unlimited access for free.

Cons:

  • No video player
  • Files can take awhile to load.
  • You have to back out of the app for the new folders to load on the main screen.

Conclusion: This app is great.  I have full access to the majority of what is on my laptop from anywhere.  The download of the application for my laptop was easy and ready for set up within minutes.