6 March 2018

REVIEW: WD My Cloud Home

Requesting backup

As an increasing amount of all our important 'stuff' is now digital, from photos on your phone, to files and documents on your laptop, backing them up is of paramount importance. If you just pop in a flash drive now and again to copy over important files, you might find yourself forgetting to do it on a regular basis, have no access to your files when away from that same drive, and - worst case scenario - you could lose it. To address problems like that, we review the WD My Cloud Home personal cloud storage.

In a nutshell, this is an external hard drive that connects to your router to give you access to it, both at home over WiFi, and while out and about via the internet. We were sent a whopping 8TB version, but 2, 4, and 6TB versions are also available. Set up took about three minutes from plugging it it, hooking it up to your router via the included Ethernet cable, then downloading the app. Once done, you can immediately back up all the contents of your phone. Which is nice.

However, as well as being handy for saving all those photos you took of your sister's new baby, the way it goes about is great. Set the 'auto-backup' function in the app, and new files will automatically copy over to the drive, either wherever you are, or, more sensibly, just over WiFi when you return home, to save mobile data.

As well as backing up your phone, the WD My Cloud Home acts like cloud storage over your network, allowing anything else on that network to connect. Therefore the drive appears as a network location from your computer, and as long as you're connected to the internet, you can access your files from anywhere in the world. If your WiFi is good enough, you can therefore stream media from the WD My Cloud Home while you're in a hotel room on the other side of the planet.

Although the WD My Cloud Home has clearly been designed for the mobile generation, it does also feature a USB port on the rear. This lets you hook up conventional storage devices like flash drives and other external drives to copy over yet more media. We literally emptied all our drives onto it (8TB lets you go a bit crazy) so we had everything in one place. We could then access the WD My Cloud Home via an app on the Roku Streaming Stick+, so we could view everything on the TV. Bloody handy, and the stream was lightning quick. 

Uniquely, the WD My Cloud Home app allows you to create separate accounts for different users, essentially partitioning the drive. Only the individual user has access to their files, and the app allows you to set a password and fingerprint ID to gain access. This is handy if you live in a shared house, or want your whole family to use it, but you also have "sensitive" files you might not want others to view. Like nude selfies. No, just us?

Obviously we would recommend the largest possible storage size for a device like this, but the 8TB version does come at a significant cost. Right now Amazon has it for more than £300, with the 2TB weighing in at £149.99. Not cheap at all, but as those important digital files start to pile up on computers, phones, and random drives, you might appreciate (and require) one easy-to-access home for them all. In which case, we can't fault the WD My Cloud Home.

The full range of storage sizes are available at www.amazon.co.uk 

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