Your home computer hates you. Stuffing all of those photos, music tracks and videos into that meager hard drive can leave your desktop fatigued. However, cramming your computer full of files isn’t doing you any favors, either. Just like that trusty pair of high-tops in the back of your closet, the media on your computer needs to be accessible. Otherwise, you may as well dump it.
Iomega’s Home Media Network Hard Drive gives digital packrats a new place to store that endless content. Sure, there are plenty of devices that do the same deed, but this one actually keeps the content in circulation, making it easily accessible through almost any networked device in your house.
Features and Design
Thanks to iTunes, digital cameras, and other inexpensive gadgets, the home media server is becoming a given; not just in the high-tech home, but for a lot of average computer users as well. At $159.99 for 500GB ($229.99 for 1TB), Iomega is giving the people what they want — a way to stream content around the home, on the cheap.
The unit is a tad bit large, at 7.83 x 4.92 x 1.57 inches. After all, the last thing our overcrowded home office needs is another bulky black box in the mix. With so many external drives getting smaller and thinner, we have to wonder why Iomega didn’t go for the gusto with a slimmer form factor. Still, it’s a lot easier to access and install than some of the professionally installed media servers on the market, but at a fraction of the cost.
The unit includes two LEDs on the top. The back has Ethernet and USB ports and the power jack. The unit is slick, clean, and clutter-free. Inside the box, there’s minimal ingredients: the device, an Ethernet cable, a power cord, the install CD, and directions for a quick start, EMC Restrospect, and how to get your free 2GB of online EMC Mozy backup.
Use and Testing
The directions are about as long as the warranty info – as well as our attention span. It’s a perfect match for the user that’s afraid of his or her own IP address. Just plug the included Ethernet cable into an empty slot on your router or switch, plug the power into the wall, and press the power button. Once that’s completed, install the included Home Storage Manager software.
After the CD has finished loading, the Home Storage Manager window will pop up. Standard folders include Photos, Backups, Movies, Music and Public. There is also a Configure button, which opens a new window where you can easily add or delete users and folders, get firmware updates, and check out various specs and stats about the system that most people probably don’t want to know.
After loading a few photos, videos, and music tracks onto the drive via drag and drop, we ran into the other room with excitement. Yes — we could instantly call up the drive on our wireless laptop. No punching in IP codes, no fuss, and no hair loss. The thing could not be any simpler. The server is also accessible via any networked device, which includes photo frames, TVs, and even an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 gaming console (sadly, there’s no Wii support).
The unit comes with 2GB of free storage on EMC’s Mozy online backup service. It sounds awesome, until you realize that anyone can get 2GB of free storage. You’ll need to answer a few questions, verify your email, and download and install the software. Overall, it’s a pretty lengthy setup process. Once you get through though, you will be able to load files manually or set the unit to add certain files automatically. For beginners, it’s a nice little perk if you’re worried about a computer catastrophe wiping out your most important files.
If you’re looking for backup inside the house, the install CD also includes EMC Retrospect, another automated backup utility. Similar to Mozy, this software protects the contents of your computer by regularly making a backup copy, which is stored on the Home Media Network Hard Drive. Users can determine what gets backed up, and when. This is a nice feature because it allows new content to be available on your network, without all of the dragging and dropping. Like the Mozy, it’s a slightly lengthy setup process. However, there’s no heavy lifting; just a lot of loading and waiting. The feature comes in two flavors: Express HD for PC users and Express for the Mac.
Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive
The delete key is so passe. It’s time to stop worrying about what you need to dump and embrace that inner digital devotee. This unit not only gives you plenty of other places to put content that you can’t bare to part with, but also allows you to easily access it. We also have to give props to anything that makes backup a little easier. After all, so many computer users seem to deny themselves that peace of mind. All that at a cheap price means we’re sold.
- Super-easy setup
- Support for iTunes
- Xbox and PlayStation
- Kind of bulky
- Lengthy setup on extra backup
- No Wii support