HP Media Vault MV2120 (500GB) review:

HP Media Vault MV2120 (500GB)

The Photo Webshare features also worked well. HP has gone one step further than Synology in helping you make your photo album available over the Web. A Remote Access Wizard helps you set up your personal Web address and configures your network router to accommodate the connection. This is a rather significant improvement for novice users as understanding what port needs to open and forwarding it to the right IP address could be a very intimidating task. For this to work, your network's router must support Universal Plug and Play, which, fortunately, most new routers do. If yours doesn't, the wizard will guide you through the manual setup. HP also includes one year of personal domain registration from TZO, after that, it will cost you $9.95 per year. Once setup, you can access your MV2120--both photos in album format and your data files--over the Internet via the personal Web address.

Though not new, the iTunes server feature worked well. The HP MediaVault MV2120 offers a little convenience with this feature by adding a slider to adjust how often it checks for new music on your computer. This means you don't have to worry about backing up your music each time you have added more songs. The MediaVault also works with DLNA-compliant devices such as the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.

Despite the existence of two USB ports, the MV2120 does not include a printer server, a potential deal breaker if you are buying a NAS drive in part to share your printer over your network. It also doesn't have features such as music playing, USB speakers, remote control, surveillance system, and so on, as found in the Synology DS107+. However, the Synology is probably one of a kind, at least for now, when it comes to offering useful features that nobody even thought about in a NAS device.

Lastly, the HP MediaVault MV2120 includes the standard NAS features of setting up user accounts to manage read and write access to certain features and shared folders.

The HP MV2120 turned in average scores on CNET Labs throughput tests. On our write test, the NAS device was about the average among those we've reviewed, scoring 39.2Mbps. On our read test, it did better with 46.1Mbps, moving up to the third place on our charts. The MV2120 was also very quiet during our tests and worked very smoothly.

We did notice, however, that its Web interface's response was very inconsistent. Most of the time, we had no problems. However, sometimes it would be very sluggish and even froze for a few seconds or crash the browser.

NAS performance tests (in megabits per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Note: Tests performed via Gigabit Ethernet.

Service and support
HP backs MediaVault MV2120 with a one-year warranty. Also, 24-7 toll-free phone support is available. Alternatively, you can contact tech support via e-mail or Web-based chat. At HP's support site, you can download the user manual and the software that comes bundled with the MV2120 as well as firmware updates.

What you'll pay

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