iTwin describes its filesharing device as “basically like the two ends of a cable, without the cable.” And that’s exactly what it is. You plug one half of the iTwin into one computer, and the other half into another computer anywhere in the world. As long as both computers are connected to the internet, they will find each other and give you access to your files.
What the iTwin does
The iTwin is quite elegant in its simplicity. Here is how it works: (1) plug either half of the iTwin into a computer, and when prompted, run the install; (2) name your iTwin; (3) drag some files into your iTwin Local Files folder. (Leave the iTwin half plugged in.) Now take the other half of the iTwin and go to another computer anywhere in the world. Repeat steps 1 and 2. Look in your iTwin Remote Files folder, and there are your files.
For example, the other day at work, I created some images I knew I would need for a blog post that I intended to finish at home. I dropped the images in my iTwin Local Files folder at the office and put the other half of the iTwin in my bag. A few days later, I plugged in the other half of the iTwin at home and grabbed the files.
In other words, the iTwin reduces a fairly complex task — connecting two computers over the internet — to a simple one: plug each half of the device into a different computer.
The iTwin is smart enough to set itself up to work with whatever internet security you have in place, including firewalls, VPNs, proxies, or whatever. iTwin halves use iTwin’s TwinTrust servers to find one another. No data is stored on any iTwin server, but your data may be transmitted through iTwin’s Amazon EC2 servers if your firewall configuration makes it necessary.
Crucially, your files are encrypted before transit, so even if they travel through iTwin’s servers (or anywhere else), they should be safe from prying eyes.
One last thing. If you ever lose one half of the iTwin, you can disable the other half. (If you lose the whole thing, that means it isn’t plugged into your computer and none of your files are in danger.)
What the iTwin doesn’t do
The iTwin is not a sync tool. It will not help you keep the same files in sync across multiple computers. The iTwin is not a multi-user tool, although you can use it for that if you have multiple iTwins. The iTwin does not give you access to your files through a web interface, although both halves of the iTwin must have internet access to work. And, finally, you must have administrative access to a computer in order to install the iTwin software.
Those aren’t really negatives, but you should know what you are getting with your $99.
And, for what it’s worth, the iTwin does not come in an easy-to-open package. Instead, it comes in some of the most frustrating packaging I have ever seen. I nearly sliced my hand off while trying to open it.
Who should buy the iTwin
Everything about the iTwin is really cool. It is without a doubt one of the most elegantly simple little gadgets I have ever used.
It is a great option for anyone who wants to be able to share files between two computers with as little third-party intervention as possible — and a healthy dose of encryption.
But $99 is a lot of money if you just want to be able to access your files from multiple computers. That amount will get you 50 GB on Dropbox for one year, or 100 GB on Google Drive for over a year and a half. Those are different services, of course, but they make it just as easy to share files over the internet, and without any hardware.
Reviewed by Sam Glover on .
Summary: The iTwin is a great option for sharing files between two computers, and it is one of the most elegantly simple gadgets I have ever used.
Score: 4.5 (out of 5)