Monster Digital OTG Cloud review

There appear to be an ever growing stream of devices designed to allow you to expand and access your mobile empire of digital content while also allowing you to stream the content to various devices. The new Monster Digital “OTG Cloud” (short for On-The-Go Cloud) device fits the bill nicely but without being a storage device in and of itself as so many others are. Instead, the OTG allows you to use a variety of common digital storage media to connect to it and then broadcast it to multiple devices at the same time via Wi-Fi. That, and it can act as both a card reader when plugged into a Mac or PC as well as hook to a wired network cable creating a Wi-Fi network access point for you.

The OTG is thin and feels like a small, and very light, cell phone in your hand despite sporting a 2000mAH rechargeable battery. It accepts SD, SDHC, SDXC, microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC, (up to 64GB) and USB (up to 2TB) without a hitch. It has a soft rubbery feel to it that makes it feel solid and not slippery at all. Given the lightness of the product though I doubt it would be damaged even if you did drop it.

As for connectivity?
Monster has free native iOS and Android apps but even without an app you can access and enjoy the content using any web browser. Thanks to the ability to stream an HD movie to up to 5 devices at once I was able to test it out using a single .m4v video file I’d copied to the included 8GB Micro SD card and had it successfully playing without a hitch to an iPhone 5S, Android LG G3, Amazon Kindle HDX 9, Nokia Lumia icon and my MacBook Air all at the same time with the video playing at different points. This sort of flexibility means it should work for you regardless of what device you may have allowing you to create your own cloud for long road trips or just act as a central media hub at home.

It’s not all just video of course as any files can be stored and shared including music, documents, presentations and of course pictures.

One more trick up its sleeve is the ability to be used as a backup power supply for your cell phone or tablet thanks to the built in 2000mAH battery. The standard sized USB port will supply this power with the unit switched on or off. While I haven’t yet tested it to see how far it will fill up the tank so to speak I was surprised and pleased to see my LG G3 accept it as charging once I connected the cell phone to it. I say this only because the G3 is finicky when it comes to charging and will actually refuse to charge if the power being supplied isn’t powerful enough.

Last, but not least, is the included network port that is cleverly protected under a snap back cover that allows it to accept a network plug despite the OTG being thinner than the plug. Once plugged in you can configure it to share the Internet (if present on the network) while continuing to stream the data files contained on the cards or USB drive plugged into it. The only caveat being that when in that mode half of the bandwidth – of the OTG – is reserved to streaming while half is reserved to passing the Internet signal along. Overall this shouldn’t hold things up too much and you can configure it to only serve as a router if need for full duplex Internet access. When I tested it up against my DSL wireless router and an Airport Extreme around 60 feet away through several walls it had more bandwidth and signal strength than my ISP provided DSL router and nearly as much strength as the Airport Extreme.

If I had to ding it on any one point it would have to be the lack of a battery percentage level via either the custom apps or a web browser. Battery level is only indicated by the color of the LED battery light with a published range of green equaling 50-100%, orange 20-50% and red (‘nearly dead’? 😉 ) indicating 0-20% charge remaining.

The MSRP is $99.99 USD but can be had for around $70 online and as low as $29.99 at Sam’s Clubs through December 2nd making it a fantastic deal.

Overall It’s a great device that is simply crammed with flexibility and just outright ability for that matter making it a solid addition to any digital warrior’s bag of tricks. And thanks to its small size and multiple abilities it qualifies as a reasonable minimalist lifestyle purchase.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight
  • USB, SD & Micro SD card ports
  • Acts as an SD card reader
  • Appears as a network drive on Macs and PCs
  • Portable Wi-Fi router capability
  • Charges cell phones and tablets
  • Wi-Fi Security settings
Cons

  • Lack of battery percentage via app or browser

More information can be found via the links below.