Skip to main content

Iomega iConnect Review

iomega iconnect review
Iomega iConnect
“A cornucopia of features and low price tag make the iConnect look like a bargain, but slow transfer speeds over Wi-Fi and severe reliability issues hamper its real-life performance.”
Pros
  • Advanced feature set
  • Four USB ports
  • Wired performance similar on par with a PC
  • Small and unobtrusive
Cons
  • Extremely slow Wi-Fi performance
  • Severe reliability issues
  • Occasionally awkward admin software
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Introduction

When you can grab an external hard drive for barely $10 more than the internal equivalent these days, then connect it effortlessly via USB, it’s easy to see why so many people now carry their lives on a mix of thumb drives, portable hard drives, and media players. Iomega’s new $99 iConnect plays to that notion by accepting all forms of USB storage – and even printers – and putting them on a home network with minimal hassle. Above and beyond merely aggregating your USB devices into a networked octopus, the iConnect also offers an array of advanced features like iTunes integration, one-touch file copy transfer, and remote access.

Features

Slinging files from USB storage devices to your network is the driving force behind the iConnect, but not the only thing it can do. Locally, it can take a USB printer and share it with an entire network, act as an iTunes or uPnP AV media server, and perform quick transfers – like from one thumb drive to another – with the press of a dedicated button. After setting it up on an Internet-connected network, you can also access your files remotely through a browser, use it as an always-on client for download torrent files, and configure it to send e-mail messages when it encounters errors for remote administration.

Setup

After connecting an Ethernet cable, USB jump drive and a power cable stringing from a good-sized brick, the blue LED status lights on the iConnect come alive and turn solid within about 20 seconds or so. Afterwards, it’s a simple matter of popping in the iConnect disc and installing Iomega Storage Manager – a modest 9MB client that will handle locating the iConnect on your network for you – no sifting through Windows admins or any other heavy lifting.

Although you could pull the setup process off in a couple minutes under ideal conditions, as with all networking devices, little things can lead to complications. Our PC couldn’t see it when we tried to set it up behind the network passthrough on a VoIP phone. Plugging in directly eliminated the issue. Wi-Fi also proved to be more than a hiccup in the setup process. You’ll need to hardwire the iConnect first to plug in pertinent Wi-Fi details before cutting the cord and going wireless. And when you do, the device will sometimes take a very long time (five minutes or more) to actually show up on a network. Initially, ours proved to be very flaky on Wi-Fi, prompting long tech support calls to Iomega and more than a little bit of frustration. Eventually, we ironed out the issues, but be prepared for networking hell if you hit any stumbling blocks.

Keep in mind that many advanced features will require additional setup, and for some, additional headaches. To set up remote access, for instance, you’ll have to tinker with your Internet router along with the Iomega box. Other advanced features have unforeseen limitations. The QuikTransfer button, for instance, can only move data from one connected drive to another, not from a portable drive to a connected computer, which we see as a far more useful option.

Software

Iomega Storage Manager only acts as a basic portal to access drive contents: After selecting the drive you would like to browse, the contents pop up in Windows Explorer just as a locally connected drive would. They will also appear under “Network Drives” when you access My Computer, eliminating the need to tool around with the Storage Manager much at all.

Administering the iConnect feels much like administering a Wi-Fi access point. After clicking “manage” in Storage Manager, all the advanced menus and options will open through a browser window. Because the iConnect shares it graphical user interface (GUI) with the much spendier Iomega StorCenter ix2, it feels incredibly polished and easy to use right off the bat, with the exception of a few clunky dead ends (for instance, attempting to download torrents with the iConnect right out of the box will simply tell you they’ve been disabled, without explaining or providing a link to the admin page where you can enable them.)

Performance

Because the iConnect offers no built-in storage of its own, the real test lies in how much longer it takes to move files back and forth across it, compared to just plugging a USB drive directly into your PC. We benchmarked with LaCie’s excellent Rikiki USB 2.0 drive, which offers read and write speeds of about 30 MB/s when connected locally. When connected to a gigabit Ethernet connection, the Iomega managed to move files off the LaCie at 16 MB/s and write to it at a rather pitiful 2.4 MB/s. Clearly, performance takes a hit, but no worse than if you connected the same drive to a Windows 7 computer and pulled the same test. We did just that with a Sony Vaio Y Series and got speeds up to 15.85 MB/s – right on par with the LaCie.

Still, that’s actually quite slow compared to other networked storage devices we’ve tested on the same network. Even middling NAS solutions, like LaCie’s Network Space 2, can hit nearly 35 MB/s. That’s more than the Rikiki can handle, admittedly, but also proof that the hardware interfacing with the drive, not the network, still stands as the bottleneck here.

Over 802.11g Wi-Fi, even with good signal, things took a turn for the worse. A 593MB file took 19 minutes and 34 seconds to transfer, for speeds of 0.50 MB/s. Here, the Sony Vaio Y series put it to shame, hitting speeds up to four times as fast on the same Wi-Fi test: an average of 2.0 MB/s. We suspect the iConnect’s relatively small form factor limits the size of the antenna significantly, decreasing Wi-Fi performance.

Conclusion

Iomega’s iConnect offers a fat bundle of attractive features – including Wi-Fi, printer sharing, torrent downloads and remote access – in a relatively affordable $100 package. Unfortunately, performance seems to suffer somewhere along the way, and our nightmarish experiences getting the Wi-Fi to work consistently convinced us that this isn’t the platform to rely on for mission-critical operations. For tying a bundle of USB devices into a home network, it pulls a lot of neat tricks. When it works.

Highs:

  • Advanced feature set
  • Four USB ports
  • Wired performance similar on par with a PC
  • Small and unobtrusive

Lows:

  • Extremely slow Wi-Fi performance
  • Severe reliability issues
  • Occasionally awkward admin software

Editors' Recommendations

Nick Mokey
As Digital Trends’ Managing Editor, Nick Mokey oversees an editorial team delivering definitive reviews, enlightening…
LG updates its Tone Free earbuds with ‘pure graphene’ drivers
LG Tone Free T90S.

LG's new Tone Free T90S are the latest wireless earbuds from the Korean juggernaut, and they pick up right where 2022's Tone Free T90Q left off. In other words, they maintain the T90Q's massive set of features and then layer on some new tricks, like hi-res Dolby audio and a new driver made from pure graphene. The T90S are set to be released later in May, however, LG hasn't announced pricing yet. Given that the T90Q debuted at $230, it's a good bet the T90S will be in the same neighborhood.

So what is "pure graphene" and why should we care if our earbuds have drivers made out of it? Most graphene drivers are simply coated in the super material, according to LG's press release. "The use of pure graphene in LG’s latest earbuds reduces vibrations and allows users to revel in well-balanced and precise sound, with powerful bass and enhanced mid- and high-range frequencies." Translation: LG feels the T90S will sound better thanks to pure graphene.

Read more
Crazy! Save a massive $1,000 on this TCL 98-inch 4K TV right now
The TCL 98-inch S5 4K TV on a white background.

If you’re looking for a huge TV but you still want to save plenty of money, you need one of the TV deals going on at Best Buy today. Over there you can buy a TCL 98-inch S5 4K TV for $2,000 instead of $3,000. The $1,000 saving makes this TV much more affordable for many people, and we’re still in awe that you can even buy a 98-inch TV for $2,000. If you’re intrigued, keep reading and we’ll tell you all about what the TV has to offer.

Why you should buy the TCL 98-inch S5 4K TV
TCL is one of the best TV brands for value which explains why this TV is so well-priced. A great price, it still packs in tons of similar great features. Besides its huge 98-inch display, it has a high brightness direct LED backlight which produces brighter images and an enhanced viewing experience. It also supports the HDR Ultra package of Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+, HDR10, and HLG.

Read more
Best Buy just discounted this 65-inch Samsung 4K TV to $400
The Samsung 75-inch LED 4K Smart TV on a media cabinet.

If you want a reliable 4K TV that’s just the right size for your living room, check out the TV deals going on at Best Buy right now. Today, you can buy a Samsung 65-inch TU690T 4K TV for just $400. It normally costs $480, so you’re saving $80 on a TV that is already a great value. If you need a new inexpensive TV for your home but you want something from a reliable brand, this is your chance. Here’s everything else you need to know about it.

Why you should buy the Samsung 65-inch TU690T 4K TV
From one of the best TV brands, the Samsung 65-inch TU690T 4K TV is an ideal TV to enjoy plenty of benefits without breaking the bank. It has a great 4K picture with a PurColor Crystal Display which provides fine-tuned colors how they’re meant to be seen. It’s also Direct Lit so that blacks and whites are fine-tuned for enhanced contrast and there’s HDR for a wide spectrum of colors and visual details.

Read more