Netgear's ReadyNAS line of network-attached storage devices has probably sounded like a good idea to home users looking for an easy and secure way to back up and access their files over their home network, but the drives' high prices have probably scared off many would-be purchasers. With its new ReadyNAS Duo line, Netgear is wooing home users. The company announced three ReadyNAS Duo models at CES: ReadyNAS Duo 500GB (RND2150), ReadyNAS Duo 750GB (RND2175), and ReadyNAS Duo 1TB (RND2110).
The drives feature only two SATA drive bays to the four bays found in Netgear's ReadyNAS NV+ line that primarily targets small business (we recently reviewed the RND4425). Each of the three ReadyNAS Duo drives features one hard drive with the other bay empty. According to Netgear, the 500GB RND2150 model will be priced at $499 when it starts shipping in March. Pricing for the other two models has not been released. The $500 price for the entry-level model, however, represents a significant discount when compared with the entry-level model in the ReadyNAS NV+ line, which costs $900 and doesn't include a drive in any of its four bays.
The ReadyNAS Duo drives support Gigabit Ethernet and supply three USB 2.0 ports so you can pop your media files directly onto the drive to share with the various PCs in your home. The drives work with both PCs and Macs, as well as other devices such as Netgear's EVA8000 Digital Entertainer HD, Sonos Digital Music System, Logitech Squeezebox, Apple iTunes clients, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. An embedded BitTorrent client lets you download files directly to the drive.
The drives ship with Netgear's X-RAID software for managing and mirroring your data across multiple drives, should you choose to add a second hard drive. Integrated backup software helps automate that process, and a setup wizard should ease the burden of getting the drive configured and running.