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.
The USB 2.0 port of the NAS server lets you extend the storage capacity by connecting an external hard drive. Unlike the Iomega StorCenter ix2 that supports drives formatted using either FAT32 or NTFS file system, the Home Media Network Drive only supports those formatted using FAT32. This is disappointing as it's not easy to format a hard drive larger than 32GB using FAT32 and most external hard drives are much larger than 32GB. To make matters worse, the Iomega doesn't include a formatting tool for external hard drives.
Sharing an external drive is as simple as plugging it in. Once connected, a share folder will be created for the drive and you can access it as well as configure access privileges for it the way you would with any other share folders.
The included and EMC Retrospect HD Back UP application works well too. It allows for backing up the entire computer or just select folders. You can make copies of files that can be viewed and retrieved using Windows Explorer, or create restore points that can be used to recover the entire computer to previous working states.
The Home Media Network Drive performed very well in our throughput tests. It is one of the fastest single-volume NAS servers we've tested.
The device registered 105.6Mbps for the write test and 192.8Mbps for the read test. We test NAS servers' throughput by timing how long it takes them to finish writing/reading a certain amount of data. The scores, therefore, are a sustained data rate, with all performance overheads taken into account.
In comparison, the Home Media Network Drive was just a tad slower than the Western Digital My Book World Edition, which scored 120.1Mbps and 206Mbps for the write and read tests, respectively.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
Iomega backs the Home Media Network Drive with only a one-year warranty. This is short for a storage device, especially one you can't service yourself. However, you can purchase an Extended Silver Warranty package that extends coverage for another year. The device also comes with three years of complimentary toll-free phone support, available Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT. Iomega offers online chat support via its Web site as well as support through e-mail. The site has a user forum, FAQs, how-to videos, downloadable manuals, drivers, and software.