Plex for iOS 3.0 gets media synching for offline playback on the go

Media center software maker Plex released version 3.0 of its iOS (s AAPL) app Monday, bringing offline media access to iPads, iPhones and iPod touches. The update comes with a new synching feature that makes it possible to download media straight to your iOS device, with Plex automatically taking care of any necessary transcoding. The iOS app, which is available for $4.99 in the app store, also got a modest UI refresh.

I’ve had a chance to play with the new sync feature a little bit over the last few days, and have to say that it makes the Plex app on my iPad a lot more valuable for me. Plex traditionally relies on a media server application. The idea is that you have the server up and running on your Mac or PC at home, and then access your media anywhere – either in the living room, or on the go.

However, I often find myself in situations where I have the iPad in my bag, but no way to access my server. Think road trip without cell phone coverage, for example. That’s when the ability to download a few movies beforehand is great. And having the really slick Plex UI to select the media I want is an added bonus.

It’s worth noting that sync is only available to paying PlexPass subscribers. Plex introduced PlexPass as a paid subscription tier this summer; subscribers who pay $4 a month or $30 a year get access to some premium features. Right now, this includes sync as well as early access to a web-based Plex client.

Check out a few screenshots of the new Plex iPad app below: