Months ago, we brought you the Iomega Home Network Drive designed for someone looking to setup a cheap media server at home. Besides its primary purpose, Iomega also added torrent support and DLNA functionality to justify the price. While this was all fine and dandy, it lacked some of the advanced features found on products priced a little higher. Now, Iomega have ditched the old model for a new one, the Home Media Cloud Edition. Priced, roughly the same as its predecessor, let’s see what they’ve added to make this more appealing.
Design and Build
Lets start with the looks. Iomega have stuck with the similar form factor and used more or less the same materials as well. The 1TB drive is encased in a metal housing. The entire casing is supported on a stand, so the drive sits vertically on the surface. The front and rear plastic grills weren’t too sturdy and even though this review piece had been around the block, it wasn’t in the best of shape. The physical button in the front didn’t seem to work, either.
The front plastic grill isn't too sturdy and is get's easily damaged
The front grill sports a honeycomb-like design for intake of cool air along with a bunch of status lights and a USB 2.0 port. The lights are for power, warning, hard drive activity and one for the Quick Transfer button, which lets you move around data to and from the drive to the cloud or another external drive. At the back, we have a power button, exhaust vent, another USB 2.0 port, Gigabit Ethernet jack and a power socket. Overall, the Cloud Edition drive is extremely compact and will easily fit on your desk.
As the name suggests, the highlight of this drive is Iomega’s exclusive Personal Cloud feature. What this essentially does is it creates your own cloud environment that’s controlled by you in which you can invite people to access files off the drive. This allows invited users to have exclusive access to the files you share in the designated folders and they are even alerted by e-mail, if a new file has been added. There’s also a backup utility from Iomega as well as third party utilities like Amazon S3, Mozy and Time Machine for Mac.
Gigabit Ethernet and a second USB 2.0 port
The Cloud Edition drive also has ‘Remote Access’ feature, which lets you access your files through a browser anywhere in the world. ‘Copy Jobs’ feature allows you to schedule backups and file transfers, either at designated times or by simply hitting the ‘Quick Transfer’ button on the device. Thanks to the extra USB port, you can now add a printer, Bluetooth dongle or any USB device like a digital camera and have your photos automatically resized and watermarked. Along with DLNA support, a new feature lets you automatically upload pictures to Flickr, Facebook and videos to YouTube. Finally, we also have a BitTorrent client built-in.
Setting up the Cloud Edition drive is fairly straightforward, simply plug it into a router and your good to go. The bundled software didn’t seem to work in 64-bit Windows 7, but all you really need is the IP of your drive and a browser to get cracking. In Windows ‘Network Devices’, the Iomega drive only shows up as media server at first, but this is quickly remedied by going into settings and enabling ‘FTP’ under the ‘Protocols’ sub-menu.
Easy to use interface even for a novice user
We tested the drive’s speed with a simple 2GB assorted file copy test, to and from the network drive and a laptop. When copying the files to the drive, we recorded a speed of 8MB/s and we got 8.9MB/s, the other way round. This pretty decent considering we tested it on an isolated 100Mbps network where speeds usually peak at around 10MB/s.
The web interface is simple and straightforward; you have all your default shared folders presented to you from which you can access any files present in them. The advanced menu can be found in the upper right corner. Here you have a bunch of sub-menus in a column on the left like Cloud Services, System, Backup, Media, Storage etc. When using ‘Cloud Services’, you can setup remote access and create your ‘Personal Cloud’. ‘Shares’ lets you define the shared folders on the drive and what program will be able to use them. For instance, if you mark a folder as Facebook, then any photos you dump in here will be automatically uploaded to your account. Marking a folder as ‘Torrents’ will automatically enable the client to start any torrent files you place in there.
Feature rich and affordable as well
You can set the port and the upload and download speed as well along with basic functionality of pause and delete. Since the drive is powered by a dual-core processor, you can queue up multiple files at once. DLNA works just fine as well. We tried it on a Galaxy S through their ‘AllShare’ app and the phone immediately detected the drive along with a portable drive that was connected tot he USB port.
For a street price of Rs.7,500, the Iomega Home Media Cloud Edition offers good value for money. It’s hard to find a network drive at this price range that offers good performance and features. My only niggle with this would be the build quality of the plastic bits and buttons, which don’t seem to sturdy. Overall, this is a very good network storage device with plenty of useful features at an affordable price.
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