The Verbatim MediaShare Mini is a stripped-down version of the Verbatim MediaShare, with a much smaller physical size, no built-in storage, and significantly slower performance. It's designed to host up to four USB external hard drives and turn them into a quick network storage option, with over-the-Internet media-sharing capability.
Though this is a good idea, the MediaShare Mini isn't a good execution of that idea. It's rather cumbersome to set up and use, especially for home users. On top of that, it's slow, especially compared with full-size NAS servers. In our testing, it didn't support 3TB external hard drives, either.
At a street price of just around $50, however, it could be a fun device for those who want to enter the realm of network storage and media streaming and sharing. If you want more features or something that's easier to use, however, we'd also recommend the Synology USB Station 2 or the Iomega iConnect.
Design and setup
Measuring 6.4 inches tall by 6.4 inches wide by 3.5 inches deep and weighing merely 1.2 pounds, the Verbatim MediaShare Mini, as the name suggests, is very compact. It's just about the size of a pack of playing cards, except it's completely square. The device's chassis, like the Verbatim MediaShare's, is made out of aluminum, giving it a stylish look.
On the front of the device are two LEDs that indicate the status of the power and hard-drive activity. There are two USB 2.0 ports on the left side and another two on the back. This means it can host a total of four USB external storage devices, such as external hard drives or thumbdrives. Also on the back, you'll find a Gigabit Ethernet port for hooking it up to a network, an on/off button, and the power connector.
The device comes with a CD that contains software that helps facilitate the setup process, which requires a live Internet connection. We found this process rather painful, as we were forced to register the device with Verbatim to go through it. We were also required to pick a unique name for the NAS server, which had to be unique among all existing NAS servers that use the same Internet-based service from Verbatim. After that, we had to pick a strong password and then enter a valid e-mail address before we could access the NAS server's settings.
This process isn't particularly difficult, but it is rather intrusive and forces you to embrace Verbatim's service before you can use the device. It also seems that you can't set up the device without access to the Internet.
Despite the fact that the MediaShare Mini is about one-sixth the size of the MediaShare, it offers almost the same number of features. In fact, apart from the internal hard drive and features associated with that, which the Mini doesn't have, the other features of the two devices seem exactly the same.
Both of them come with the MediaShare Agent desktop application, which automatically runs each time the computer starts and helps map the server's share folders to the local computer for faster access. You can also use it to view all the server's share folders and launch the NAS server's Web interface.
Technically, however, you can do all of these without using the software. For example, you can get to the server's Web interface by pointing a browser to its IP address, and you can browse for the server's share folder using Windows Explorer and map the share folders manually. On a Mac computer, the server automatically appears in Finder.