Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price £167.97

Lacie Wireless Space - Performance and Verdict

Although the Wireless Space is bundled with software for both Windows and Mac OS, we found ourselves perfectly happy ignoring it. On OS X Time Machine works flawlessly out of the box, and on Windows both the built-in backup utility (at least in Windows 7) and a number of third party tools are better than the provided one. Managing the Wireless Space, meanwhile, is best done through the web interface.


As well as giving you web-based access to files on the Wireless Space, the web interface offers a large range of configuration options for setting up a Firewall, DHCP settings (when operating as a router) and Wi-Fi security, to name but a few. What's more, the Wireless Space will also download torrent files for you, either manually added or dropped into a monitored folder.

The problem with this web interface is that its liberal use of JavaScript can make it somewhat confusing. The home screen, for example, has a limited number of spaces for displaying controls for the Wireless Space's various functions, but there's no way to tell without experimentation that you can drag these around, and that the small icons on the right must be dragged into play to activate them. On the plus side, once you get to grips with how it works, it is a slick system, and for the most part you won't need to enter this interface very often anyway.


Performance-wise the Wireless Space doesn't particularly impress, although it's not overly sluggish. Over Ethernet our small file test (1067MB of various MP3s and images) saw write speeds of 174Mb/s and read speeds of 186MB/s, while the large file transfer (those same files in a single zip 907MB archive) write and read speeds hit 216Mb/s and 220Mb/s respectively. While much better than the many routers available with USB ports for adding storage, that's far shy of more robust NAS devices.

Switching to Wi-Fi, the transfer speeds dropped of in line with the Wi-Fi signal - about 42Mb/s close up and a dreadful 12Mb/s separated by a few dozen meters and a couple of walls. The Wi-Fi results are to be expected, and the Ethernet results acceptable - the Wireless Space is certainly no substitute for a full-fledged NAS device but it's on a par with most, and better than some Time Capsule alternatives such as the Seagate GoFlex Home.


Last but not least on the Wireless Space's list of abilities is its media server. Or rather, media servers, because as well as offering up music, pictures and video to any DLNA-compatible device (we had no problems streaming from a PS3) the Wireless Space also has a built-in iTunes server, which functioned as expected.

Verdict

At £155 in its 1TB guise the Lacie Wireless Space is notably cheaper than an Apple Time Capsule and yet offers more functionality - from DLNA streaming to torrent downloads. The Wireless Space isn't as speedy as dedicated NAS devices, and if you just want a backup device, cheaper alternatives are available, but its mix of features justifies its asking price if you do want all that it offers.

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