Eventually we'll store everything online and never have to worry about managing our files at home. Even basic consumer gadgetry now extols the virtues of the cloud, and Iomega's classy Home Media Network Hard Drive shows just how seamlessly the cloud can now be integrated into our digital universes. The basics work well—the best of any drive we tested when it came to sharing files with DLNA devices and other computers running iTunes—and Iomega's management app offers a range of intuitive, pre-set shared drive letters to play with.
The two USB ports can function as external storage or print server ports, and you can set the front-mounted port to work with Iomega's QuikTransfer feature.
Sharing with DLNA devices is seamless, and computers running iTunes on our test network found all the files on the drive, though it took up to an hour for changes we made to show up. Pogoplug delivers heavy-duty remote access technology and is by far the simplest NAS device we tested to access over the web.
CloudStor is so web-centric, in fact, that you don't actually need to use software to manage it at all. All but the most casual users will find themselves downloading an optional CloudStor interface.
Certain extras, including a fast, killer mobile device app available for almost every handheld OS, a USB port, and a spare drive bay for expanded or redundant storage make up for many of CloudStor's failings, but we'd be lying if we didn't say its drawbacks definitely put a, ahem, cloud over things. The GoFlex's unique hardware design features a weighted base dock that incorporates ports for Ethernet and USB.
Sharing with iTunes computers on the network works out of the box, provided you know where to put your music.
But our biggest complaint is that if you want to do anything beyond simple local storage, Seagate nickel-and-dimes you to upgrade.
But until that day is here, computer users who want to centralize and simplify their media archives have another choice: NAS.


You can share your "personal cloud" with up to 250 users over the web, though each has to install the same management app to see the drive.
Punch the tiny button on the front of the drive, and the contents of any attached drive are copied to the preset folder of your choice.
Internet-based remote access requires hefty software installation and, in our case, a manual router tweaking.
But with its recent purchase of Hitachi's storage group, it's about to become even more dominant, as it expands from the desktop into network attached storage, too.
But that maturity has made for a product that, unlike a lot of home NAS devices, has most, if not all of the kinks worked out of it. While a simple but quite useful backup utility relies on an installed application (you can also use it to configure a Mac's Time Machine or Windows Backup), most management is done via web browser. Ultimately, though, the drive needs a few more features to take it from good-enough to standout status. That's because the company liberally integrates Pogoplug technology into the product—so much so that there's little sense of this actually being a Buffalo device. Everything, from uploading files to sending them to other users to auto-uploading pics to Twitter and Facebook can be accomplished via web browser. With this half-baked offering, however, that unfortunately proves to be just an opening bid. The drive plugs into this base vertically, making the overall unit sturdy and, I suppose, providing slightly better security and expandability options. Configuration options are complicated and, more often than not, Seagate simply shunts you over to Windows Explorer for file management. There's a Premium Backup option (up to $50 for more users and extra options), improved large-file emailing (up to $20 per month), and Seagate Pro ($20 per year), which gives you smartphone access and social networking plug-ins, and lets you create additional user accounts.


And when coupled with this drive's rickety management system, they aren't remotely worth it.
Formerly the realm of IT wonks, networked attached storage puts a fat hard drive on your LAN instead of in your laptop.
Folders can be set to share files with Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube and even to email a distribution list when new media is added.
This can slow things down—how much depends on yur connection speed—but things are organized well enough to make most management a simple affair that takes only a few clicks. Regardless, though, web functionality turns this otherwise boring unit into a powerhouse that's great for novices and for users who want easy remote access to their files. This slows things drastically, to the tune of 75 percent longer reades and 250 percent longer writes than the other units in our test.
That'd be fine if the software automatically created the three network drives it says it will, but it took a half hour of meddling and reboots to make that happen in our testing. So, add us to your ad blocker’s whitelist or pay $1 per week for an ad-free version of WIRED. While these little black boxes look a lot alike—and performance is largely determined by your network, not drive RPMs—their capabilities and ease of use can vary a lot. Even more troublesome is that CloudStor is so reluctant to join your local area network that it doesn't auto-show as a shared library in iTunes. And while it's functional, the system used for sharing content with other people (locally or remotely) will be wildly over the head of most novices.



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