For about $130 for the 500GB version (or $230 for the 1TB version), the Iomega Home Media Network Drive is a sound buy for any home user. Iomega NAS servers are known to be easy to use, and the Home Media Network Drive is the company's easiest so far. Getting it up is a simple task, as is customizing the more advanced settings. Its good performance and support for USB hard drives and printers round out its merits. If you're looking for more advanced features, check out the Editors' Choice winning Synology DS107+ or the Western Digital My Book World Edition.
Setup and ease of use
Barely larger than a 3.5-inch hard drive, the Iomega Home Media Network Drive is about as compact as a single-volume NAS server can get. The device comes in both a 500GB and a 1TB version. Choose carefully though, the device is not designed to let you to replace the hard drive later if you want to increase its capacity.
The drive includes a Gigabit Ethernet port and one USB 2.0 port, located on the back. The USB port can be used to host a printer or an external hard drive. Also located on the back is a very small fan that, unfortunately, produces a high-pitched sound when spinning. However, it only spins when the drive gets hot, which is only when during heavy loads.
Setting up the drive was as simple as installing the included Home Network Media Storage and EMC Retrospect HD Back Up applications. In our tests, the installation took about 3 minutes. Once finished, the NAS server's share folders are mapped automatically to your computer and are ready to be used.
The Home Media Network Drive comes with five default share folders including photo, backup, music, movies, and public. By default, these folders are set to be publicly accessible by anyone; however, you can use the Home Network Media Storage application to launch the Web interface of the NAS server to further customize the security settings.
Enabling certain features was simple and easy. Turning on the iTunes server or DLNA media server features involved only a single click of the appropriate button on the user interface. This lets iTunes-enabled and DLNA-enabled clients automatically see and play the share media from the NAS server.
Overall, the Iomega Home Media Network Drive is the most easy-to-use NAS server we've yet tested. Getting it up and running was a simple process, and most people with basic computer knowledge should have the same experience.
The Iomega Home Media Network Drive lacks many advanced features you'd expect to find in a NAS server. Common, but missing, features include: FTP, HTTP servers, download station, support for an IP camera, and remote over-the-Internet access. Also curiously missing, is support for Bluetooth devices, which was included in another iOmega product, the Iomega StorCenter ix2.
The Home Media Network Drive has a very interesting way to limit users' access to the share folder. Each share folder includes a switch, with the choices of "Everyone" and "Secure." The former allows everyone to access it freely. With "Secure" you'll see a list of user accounts pulled from your computer, each with a check box next to it. Checking its box allows the account access to the folder. This is a much simper way compared with other devices where you have to create user accounts and apply settings to each account separately, making the whole process confusing for home users.