Western Digital My Net N900 Central Value
So is the Western Digital My Net N900 Central worth buying? For Mac users a big rival is the Apple Time Capsule which at £249 for 2TB costs the same as the 1TB edition of the Central (2TB is £299) and similarly packs dual band wireless. Then again the Central is equally happy on Mac and PC and searching online you will find it significantly discounted whereas Apple's RRPs are locked in stone.
The second question is whether the inclusion of the internal drive is worth the extra investment. Obviously it is far cheaper than buying a separate router and dedicated NAS, but since it does not aim to compete with a fully featured NAS a fairer comparison would be with a router plus external storage. Here WD itself makes a strong argument for the latter with its 'My Net N900' - a version of the Central without the internal storage - which retails for £150 and offers no less than seven Ethernet and two USB ports, both of which can connect external drives. Likewise most other routers can also be bought for under £150 and currently a 2TB external drive costs under £90). So yes there is a premium for convenience and it is worth noting the drive inside the Central is fixed, but those looking for the tidiest solution will still be persuaded.
Lastly we come to the elephant in the room, however, 802.11ac. We have already been blown away by the performance of the ac capable Buffalo AirStation 1750 which we found roughly tripled 802.11n performance in real life scenarios and it carries little premium above existing 802.11n equipment. More ac routers from other major manufacturers will arrive throughout the rest of the year and with that in mind, we'd be waiting for an ac version of the Central before making such a large investment.
Western Digital My Net N900 Central Verdict
Western Digital has made a solid entrance into the router market. The My Net N900 Central may not be the most attractive router you'll see and its 2.4GHz performance is nothing special, but its 5GHz speeds are excellent and its integrated storage makes it a wonderfully simple NAS. The mobile apps are good too offering quick access to media from any location.
The problem is pricing. Both 1TB and 2TB models are more expensive than buying your own choice of router and connecting equivalent external storage and the drive inside the Central is fixed ruling out future upgrades. Furthermore north of £250 is a big investment with 802.11ac routers hitting shelves now. We'd suggest waiting for a next generation My Net N900 Central which will inevitably include it.