We last reviewed Iomega’s entry-level NAS device, the Home Media Network Hard Drive 18 months ago. We uncovered a few no-brainer compatibility issues with Windows 7, but were generally impressed by its on board DLNA media server and backup software. That said, our verdict was that it was very much a “smarter hard drive” that lacked the breadth of features required to compete with more capable NAS servers.

Fast forward to 2011, and we’re presented with an all new version of the Home Media Network Hard Drive, now trailered as a “Cloud Edition”. Iomega have seemingly evolved the design to enable file sharing not just within the home, but outside too – courtesy of a new feature called Iomega Personal Cloud you can store and share data on compatible devices (currently restricted to Iomega StoreCenter and other Home Media Network Hard Drives) owned by friends and family. Why trust somebody else’s cloud, when you can create your own, the thinking goes. As we’ll see, there are a couple of additional tricks also bundled in the new device. Let’s take a look…

What’s in the Box?

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The Home Media Network Hard Drive has had a slight packaging tweak since the previous release, and now features logos from Facebook and YouTube, subtly hinting at some of the product’s media features. Open up and you’ll find:

  • Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive
  • Power cable and UK/EU plug
  • Hard drive stand
  • Ethernet Cable
  • Quickstart Guide
  • Installation CD
  • Iomega Protection Suite Guide

First Looks

Not a lot has changed with design of the device, and you could certainly argue that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Clad in a brushed, gun metal grey finish, the chassis still looks great.

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Cooling is helped by series of punched holes in the front panel, which takes the edge off the aesthetics a little, but there’s nothing that would require you to avert your eyes. On that front panel, you find indicators for the drive’s QuikTransfer backup feature, hard drive activity, system status and a power indicator. A small black button is used to initiate a QuikTransfer backup job, and a front USB 2.0 port is useful for connecting additional storage as well as a printer.

Turn the device around and you’ll find a security lock, power and reset buttons, a second USB 2.0 port, Gigabit Ethernet port and power connector.

Features and Specifications

This time around, Iomega supplied us with the 2TB (£149) version of the Home Network Media Drive. A cheaper, 1TB edition (£115) is also available for the budget conscious. The drive supports Windows, Mac OSX and Linux connections, so no matter which school of thought you subscribe to (or you mix and match), compatibility is covered.

Iomega has selected the Oxford 810SE processor to power the drive, running at 370Mhz and supported by 256MB RAM. It’s certainly no power house compared to some of the newer NAS servers around, but delivers sufficient speed for you not to care. On the flip side, that processor requires just 9 Watts maximum power consumption, so it’s very cheap to run.

As mentioned, the Home Network Media Drive’s feature set has been boosted with two new features. Iomega’s Personal Cloud allows authorised family and friends to both read and write files to and from the drive remotely. Secondly, the drive now supports automatic posting of photos and videos to YouTube, Flickr and Facebook. We’ve seen similar features implemented on other devices, but certainly not at this price point, so top marks to Iomega for bringing a few goodies to their entry-level range.

The full feature set is as follows:

  • Ease of Use:
    • Simple three step setup – Simply plug into your router, power on, and install the software CD
    • User friendly web-based management interface
    • Web interface accessible in 16 supported languages
  • Simple Content Sharing:
    • Access files from any networked Windows, Apple or Linux computer for easy file sharing.
    • Easily share content with friends and family outside of your home using the exclusive Iomega® Personal Cloud feature. Invited guests will have access to read and write to files and folders on your network drive. No need to email file attachments.
    • Built-in photo slide-show sharing feature – easily select and share your digital pictures on the web.
    • File distribution made easy. Drop files into a designated distribution folder, and all of those on the distribution list automatically get an email with either the file itself or a link to download the file(s).
  • Powerful Backup Functionality:
    • Backup all the computers on your network simply by downloading and installing the available client backup software. Also compatible with today’s most common backup software applications.
    • Time Machine® Support: allows Apple® users to easily backup any Mac computers running OS X (10.5 or later) using Time Machine.
    • Personal Cloud Backup: Synchronize data between personal cloud member systems and the Home Media Network Drive.
    • Public Cloud Backup: Use one of the integrated third party cloud-based storage services such as Amazon S3, or Mozy to replicate data from your Home Media Network Drive to your public cloud account.
    • Cloud Disaster Recovery: Utilize two or more Home Media Network Drives in different locations and the Iomega Personal Cloud function to create your own disaster recovery scheme.
  • High Performance: Gigabit Ethernet connectivity combined with a high performing Dual Core processor
  • Network File Protocols Supported: FIFS/SMB/Rally (Microsoft), AFP/Bonjour (Apple), FRP, HTTP, HTTPS
  • Remote Access:
    • Connect securely from any computer in the world and get full access to pictures, videos, files – everything stored on the network drive – through a web browser. Remotely access and administer the Iomega Home Media Hard Drive through a personalized web address.
    • Upload and share files and folders directly from iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ and other mobile devices while on the road.*
  • Replication / Device to Device Copy Jobs:
    • One-touch copying via the QuikTransfer button. Easily copy files to and from attached USB drives or any network share – including Iomega Personal Cloud locations – using the rsync or CIFS protocol.
    • Define your Copy Job to copy/synchronize files to and from connected drives and/or any other shared storage on your network.
    • Schedule jobs to run on a predetermined schedule.
  • Digital Photography Tools:
    • Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP): No touch, automatic transfer of photos from digital cameras via the USB port.
    • Photo resize: Automatically resize photos any lower resolution.
    • Watermark: Automatically add a watermark of your choosing to photos as they are re-sized.
  • Reporting: Email alerts provide up-to-the-minute updates on the status of your device even when you are away from your computer.
  • Built in Audio Video Media Server:UPnP™ DLNA Certified®: Provides the ability to stream photos, audio content and videos to a variety of media devices, such as game consoles (Microsoft Xbox® 360, Sony PlayStation® 3), audio bridges, iTunes™ players, picture frames, Iomega ScreenPlay products and more.
    • Create shared iTunes™ libraries to provide a central location for your music.
  • Social Media Sharing Made Easy:Convenient folders that automatically integrate with your social media accounts. Multiple accounts are no problem – just create another folder for each account.
    • Facebook: Files dropped into your Facebook folder are automatically uploaded to your Facebook page.
    • Flickr: Files dropped into your Flickr folder are automatically added to the designated Flickr photo album.
    • YouTube: Videos dropped into your YouTube folder are automatically uploaded to your YouTube channel.
  • Torrent Download Manager: the Iomega Home Media Network Drive manages peer-to-peer file transfers without the need of a dedicated PC.
  • Power Efficient: Runs cool and quiet with a fan-less design. Supported drive spin down to conserve more energy when the drive is idle. (user adjustable).
  • Print Server: Intelligent print sharing capability for up to 2 USB printers.
  • Expandability: Add storage capacity by connecting external USB Hard Disk Drives. Supports NTFS, HFS+, FAT32, and ext3 formatted hard drives.
  • System Status: Single page view of device information and status.
  • Software Compatibility: Compatible with today’s most common backup software, web browsers, media devices and computers.
  • Total Data Protection:
    • Native security support with robust username and password authorized access. Create additional users and secure their content with password protection.
    • User Quotas: easily manage capacity by setting maximum limits per user.
    • RSA® BSAFE® technology protects installs and upgrades.
    • Data Protection Software: Iomega’s full suite of data protection software is available for download. The suite includes; Trend Micro™ Internet Security, Iomega QuikProtect, Roxio Retrospect® Express Backup software, and MozyHome™ Online Backup service.
  • Warranty: 3 years (with product registration)

There’s a lot packed into such a relatively inexpensive device that is most certainly positioned for the non-technical user. The question is, how easy will it be to use?