ASUS Crosslink Hands-On: File Sharing Dongle Makes Transfers Fast and Easy

Did you get a new netbook for the holidays, either from gift-bearing loved ones or a jolly personification of winter cheer or your own end of the year bonus? Great! Now that you have your shiny new gadget, you'll want to transfer the documents and media files you'll need when you're on the go.

This can be an arduous process. First you have to break out a flash drive, memory card or portable hard drive you can transfer the files to. This can take a while depending on the speed of the removable media and the number of files. Then you plug it in to your netbook and repeat the process, most likely waiting an equal amount of time for the data to copy over. It's not a huge hassle (this isn't a late-night "As Seen On TV" ad, after all), but the process could be much simpler.

Enter the ASUS Crosslink, a USB to USB connector that allows for easy transfer of files between two computers. Just plug into a USB port on either computer and the software launches without having to install. You can copy any file or folder by dragging and dropping, sync data, access one computer's optical drive from another, and even share an internet connection. The Crosslink cable also has its own on-board memory (2GB) so it doubles as a flash drive.

The interface is very intuitive -- once you plug the Crosslink a menu opens with four choices: Data Link, Remote Share, Folder Link, Outlook Link and Flash Link. Hover over the buttons for a brief description, then click to choose.

The Data Link interface looks just like every other file explorer and is just as easy to use. Navigate to the folder on the receiving computer and drop files in or find the folders you want from the receiving computer. We copied 4.97GB of mixed media files from an ASUS Eee PC 1201N to a Samsung NC10 and the crosslink completed the task in about 6 minutes and 33 seconds for a transfer rate of 13.0 MBps, which is fairly speedy. This will vary depending on the speed of the drives, but no matter which netbook we used we experienced good transfer rates.

Remote Link allows the secondary computer to access the Internet connection and optical drive of the main computer. The link takes about 3 minutes to establish, and the Crosslink software provided information every step of the process. Optical drive sharing is great for installing software that can't be downloaded on your netbook. Internet sharing is useful when you have to pay for Wi-Fi in hotels or airports; the Crosslink will allow a second computer to share that connection without incurring an extra charge.

Clicking Folder Link brought up another easy to understand interface that offered several ways to sync data between the two computers. Outlook Link guided us through syncing email, contacts, appointments and other Outlook data between two PCs. Flash Link (only visible on the main computer) is for saving files to the 2GB of memory in the cable's flash drive.

The best part about the Crosslink is the price. It costs less than $40 for this amazing multitasking cord at most stores. Long after you've transferred data to your netbook, the Crosslink will continue to be useful on business trips, for sharing files with friends and colleagues, and keeping data synced without having to use removable media as a middle man.

It's currently available at Amazon for $34.51 plus NewEgg, J&R, and TechDepot for around the same price.