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WD My Cloud review

Gordon Kelly

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WD My Cloud
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  • My Cloud front back
  • My Cloud app

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Pros

  • Incredibly fast
  • Simple setup
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Bargain pricing

Cons

  • PC app lackluster
  • No data redundancy

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Key Features

  • 2TB, 3TB or 4TB capacities
  • Remote file access
  • DLNA, iTunes Server support
  • Time Machine compatible
  • USB 3.0
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Manufacturer: Western Digital
  • Review Price: £129.99

What is the WD My Cloud?

In short, a clever hybrid device we didn't see coming. The My Cloud range is a line of external 2TB, 3TB and 4TB hard drives determined to pick a fight with both traditional NAS and Cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive. They support traditional NAS features via a browser-based dashboard and DLNA support, while apps let you access your drive remotely via PCs, smartphones and tablets just like popular cloud services.

This means you have a much bigger storage allowance than standard Cloud services, your data isn't shared with another company and you only have to upload what you need with no monthly subscriptions. WD also claims the My Cloud performs faster than most NAS drives for a fraction of the price. Is this a breakthrough product or too good to be true?

WD My Cloud - DesignMy Cloud front back

The roots of the My Cloud come from WD's existing My Book range of backup hard drives. This is no bad thing. Over the years WD has refined the My Book design and it translates well to My Cloud with subtle rounded corners and a clean, minimalist finish that suggests it could've come off an Apple product line. The fact WD has released My Cloud in white is not an insignificant factor.

For a multi-function device My Cloud is also very compact. At 170.6 x 49 x 139.3mm and 960g it is less than half the size and weight of most NAS and no bigger than the My Book while the well vented mock-metal top and rear keep it cool and quiet. If we do have an issue with the My Cloud design it is that its chassis isn't particularly rigid, but since this is a device unlikely to move, let alone be carried with you, it isn't a major issue.

WD My Cloud - Features

So WD has nailed the looks, but just how good of an external HDD/NAS/Cloud storage wannabe is it?

Dealing with the first of these is fairly straightforward. With 2TB, 3TB and (soon) 4TB versions My Cloud is as capacious as any single drive backup solution currently available. It supports automatic backups on Windows using its own 'SmartWare' software and TimeMachine for Macs. There is also a USB 3.0 port for connecting additional storage or initiating direct downloads from cameras but, perhaps surprisingly, this doesn't support printers or network connectivity. The latter is left to Gigabit Ethernet.

When it comes to its NAS aspirations the My Cloud is also relatively simple. It ditches more advanced features to concentrate on core functionality like support for DLNA and iTunes servers, UPnP, and FTP (though the latter is disabled by default) plus multi-user support to set folder access and permissions.

My Cloud app

Meanwhile it gains its Cloud storage (and more advanced NAS) credentials thanks to remote file access via Android (above), iOS, PC and Mac apps. These support file downloads, edits and media streaming. The restriction is the apps have no integrated media player so playback is limited to formats your device supports. This isn't a problem for Windows or Android, but is a significant drawback for iOS.

On the upside, the mobile apps bring support for Google Drive, Dropbox and SkyDrive letting users transfer and sync content between your 'personal Cloud' and any existing Cloud storage services you already use. This is particularly useful for any essential content you might want access offline since all My Cloud data is accessed on demand.

Returning to hardware, WD claims an unspecified 'dual core' processor provides it with the grunt to turn the tables on premium NAS. But, as with any multifunctional device, there are limitations. The most obvious is being a single drive system means the My Cloud can back up your data, but not itself. This lack of redundancy means extra expense for those with critical data, but My Cloud does address this with an elegant 'Safepoints' system that can automatically back itself up to USB or network storage as required.

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Pg

October 10, 2013, 12:43 pm

It's also cheap. People don't back up their data as often as they should, especially their photos/videos. Something like this is perfect for home use, most people don't know, and don't want to know, about raid and multi-disc NASs. They just want something that works - which is sounds like this does.

It won't help in a fire, but it's a step in the right direction. Don't go through the pain of not having backed up.

Brian Munich

October 10, 2013, 3:30 pm

What's the actual model though? Amazon have an older version stocked I think?

DanielM

October 11, 2013, 1:50 pm

my book live with a diff case?

Philippe

October 11, 2013, 8:58 pm

Wait a minute, D-Link has been doing this for years....

Gordon Kelly

October 15, 2013, 10:48 pm

Not quite. Read beyond the first few paragraphs :)

Gordon Kelly

October 15, 2013, 10:48 pm

Nope

Gordon Kelly

October 15, 2013, 10:49 pm

The MyCloud line have 2TB, 3TB and 4TB models. There is no previous line so it shouldn't be a problem finding one. We had the 2TB model.

Gordon Kelly

October 15, 2013, 10:50 pm

Exactly. It is perfect for backing up and accessing your files remotely, but as the main source of your data the problem is it needs something to back itself up. A 2 drive model with integrated redundancy could cover all bases. We're told it's coming.

Pete

October 18, 2013, 5:49 pm

Gordon am I right in thinking that the IOS app will not allow you to play/stream iOS compatible files saved on the my cloud? Or have I got that wrong clarification would be helpful as I am about to buy one of these

Guest

October 20, 2013, 7:56 pm

I set this up today.
I can access the files (via wifi and 4G) through my MBP(Finder) and my iPhone 4S(WD app and another media streaming app).
But I am not able to access the files via web browser (same or different network). When ever I click on the shared folder after signing in on WD2GO.com I get an error "Execution Failed :80"
Any Help?

Powder Monkey

October 21, 2013, 4:34 pm

I prefer dropbox as the files sit on your computer and sync with the cloud, that is a far better system and WD would do well to adopt it.

sasmjuk

October 28, 2013, 12:13 pm

Very useful. I got my brother to bring me the 3TB version back from the States and so far it's proving very useful. The main benefit is I can now slowly begin to move my stuff off from my Dropbox account and go back to a free account. At the same time I have masses more storage and can still access everything remotely. It's not quite as flexible as Dropbox, in that there's no folder that syncs automatically with the drive, and as the review states the PC App is quite limited, but it does the job. So instead of having a folder that syncs automatically you have to use the PC App to upload files to the MD My Cloud. Still a very usefull piece of kit and very cheap considering.

Jeremy

November 8, 2013, 1:34 pm

Would this work for synchronising two computers, laptop and desktop? It doesn't sound as though it's quite got the capability of a Dropbox-type facility, unless there's a way of doing that. Would the auto backup (Time Machine in my case) create synchronised records between both computers?

Mo

November 14, 2013, 3:51 pm

Can you limit the space TimeMachine backups take - otherwise it will fill any free space with Mac backups?

MJdaSupremeBeast

November 21, 2013, 3:35 am

Does any know whether this drive is 7200rpm or 5400rpm?

Artie

November 27, 2013, 10:53 pm

I purchased a 3tb My Cloud have almost 10 hours on line with support. Support does an ok job but it depends on who you get. Additionally it took 6 hours of support to get the drive to work as advertised. I had my first real problem with the drive not allowing public vs private access and the support guy was useless. I was finally able to get it working myself but find the product not ready for release, instead we are the beta guinea pigs.

Kingy

December 13, 2013, 10:18 pm

Hi, I just want to be able to put photos, movies & music on this drive and be able to share it wirelessly to iPhones, android touchpad, Sony Bravia smart TV & PS3.......... is this the drive for me ?
And is it the one currently selling for £99 on Amazon?

Thanks guys

Dave

December 27, 2013, 11:48 am

Can this device be used for media streaming that can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection, not just on your home network? For instance, if I travelled a lot, can I store all my media on my cloud and stream it to my laptop or tablet from another location?

Charles Tenant

January 3, 2014, 8:43 pm

I've been using Copy for my cloud storage and it's pretty fast.
It's from the folks at Barracuda Networks. They offer 15 gigs for free.

neet

January 16, 2014, 7:04 pm

Looked at this excellent review because my old WD dropping connection a lot last week. Very hard to reconcile to amazon comments - like 6 days to transfer my current files onto it (not to mention the persistent issue with dropped connections!) Wonder if TR should check forums as part of review - many firms, not mentioning netgear or HP in particular, seem to have intergenerational curses.

Iarla Kilbane-Dawe

January 27, 2014, 10:19 pm

Only if the wretched thing works. Which is tends not to.

ikd68

January 27, 2014, 10:28 pm

My experience was the same. Dead slow, can't see the internet, a hopeless, utterly HOPELESS support. Wish I'd never bought the wretched rubbish. A USB hard drive would have been way better and cheaper.

kilo

March 4, 2014, 5:44 am

Can this be directly hooked up to a laptop through Ethernet cable and copy/paste files?

Andy Cannon

March 14, 2014, 8:27 pm

Slow as hell, no support, constant errors trying to transfer files, terrible interface... I am beginning to regret this purchase as it is basically a very bad product. It needs a proper instruction manual to come with it to explain how to set it up and actually transfer files across.

Dazed and Confuzed

March 22, 2014, 7:52 am

It would appear from all the comments that all these devices and NAs's are rubbish….is there an answer out there. My omega media player just died after a year of use. I have had multiple HD die on me also.!!!

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