capsule review

Iomega SuperHero Achieves Superhero-Size Syncing Feats

At a Glance
  • Iomega SuperHero Backup and Charger for iPhone

    PCWorld Rating

The Iomega SuperHero Backup and Charger for iPhone dock goes above and beyond the typical docking device. Together with a free app you download to your iPhone, the SuperHero ($70, price as of 4/4/2011) makes backing up contacts and photos a smooth, hassle-free affair--especially for Windows users.

The SuperHero is slim and elegant, a metallic rectangular base that will ably support your iPhone. What's not elegant: the comparatively bulky extra charger you have to bring along with you to power up the base. At the back of the SuperHero is an SD Card slot; there, you can insert a card, and you'll be able to back up your contacts and photos to the card with a few simple steps.

To use the SuperHero, you must download the SuperHero Backup app from the App Store. Once loaded, it gives you three simple, impossible-to-miss buttons: Backup, Restore, and Options. If you do nothing and your phone is in the base, a backup will initiate on its own; and if you press Backup, and the phone isn't in the base, the app will properly prompt you to connect the phone to the SuperHero, and then press "Start a Backup."

The Options menu is clearly constructed and outlines your backup and restore choices. Iomega wisely keeps things simple, as in whether to back up photos and contacts with straighforward on/off choices; the ability to change your backup's name; and the option to encrypt contacts with a password. The Restore settings are simple as well, simply asking whether you want to restore contacts, replace contacts, or restore photos. While I wish there were options to limit backups and restores by date, ultimately the simplicity is welcome in a backup world that's often driven by complexity.

The SuperHero has other limitations, however, some of which are impressed on it by Apple. Transfer speeds can be sluggish for photos, and will depend upon what grade of SD card you use. And thanks to Apple's restrictions, you can use the SuperHero only to back up photos in your photo roll--not videos in your photo roll, not apps, and not music and videos in your iTunes library. While I can understand the lack of an iTunes-centric backup bypass, the inability to back up the videos in your photo roll is a drawback.

Where the SuperHero shines, though, is in backing up contacts. Windows users are especially dogged by this, as the only way to back up contacts, let alone move contacts from your iPhone, is to sync contacts with Google or with Microsoft Outlook, neither of which may be appealing if you don't use those services. Apple's own iTunes doesn't back up contacts for Windows users, which means we need alternatives.

SuperHero is that alternative. I quickly and successfully backed up and restored contacts from an iPhone 3GS to an iPhone 4; in this restore process, SuperHero simply added my older contacts to the second device.

For this alone, I can heartily recommend SuperHero. Yes, I wish it were faster and had a less bulky charger, but it does make contacts and image backup a simple, painless affair.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The ease and convenience of this backup and charging dock outweighs its drawbacks (slow speed, no video back up). It's especially useful if you're a PC user backing up contacts, or moving contacts from one iPhone/iPod Touch to another.

    Pros

    • Easy way to backup contacts and photos on iPhone

    Cons

    • Doesn't back up videos in photo roll
    • Photo backup can be pokey
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