Western Digital MyBook Live Duo review: Western Digital MyBook Live Duo

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The Good Affordable for the storage involved. Decent speed for the price. Attractive interface and features. iOS and Android support. User-serviceable drives.

The Bad Mobile applications need more work. No active cooling: make sure to leave it upright. Doesn't handle switching networks particularly well.

The Bottom Line Western Digital's MyBook Live Duo is a good entry point into the world of NAS. The lack of active cooling is a concern, though — make sure that it's in a position where it can vent its heat easily.

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8.0 Overall

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Western Digital's MyBook Live Duo is an affordable network attached storage (NAS) for the home. The device itself has two user-serviceable drive bays, a gigabit Ethernet port and a USB port, and sits vertically on the desk like some kind of monolith. You'll want to sit it vertically to aid with heat exhaustion, as there's no fan inside and the top gets quite hot. Be sure not to put anything on it.

After plugging in, Western Digital's discovery software finds the device easily and begins the set-up process. At its completion, the user is given links to file shares, the device's web interface, and backup options. Two apps can be installed: WD Quick View sits in the system tray and gives an at-a-glance impression of available storage and device health, while WD SmartWare offers either set-and-forget easy backup options, or allows the user to define exactly what files and folders get backed up to the Live Duo. Up to five different versions of files can be kept, too, giving the user quite a bit of control.

The web interface is quite pretty and functional, and although it can occasionally be a bit laggy it is certainly usable. From here you can set the device to configure in RAID 0 or 1 modes (it ships in RAID 0, but we'd suggest RAID 1 for extra security); authorise the WD 2go and WD Photos iOS and Android apps for use with the device; enable remote web access, FTP, DLNA and iTunes servers; and set up email addresses to send critical system alerts to. It's NAS light, and for most people that will do just fine.

The interface is rather pretty and helpful.
(Screenshot by Craig Simms/CBSi)

One thing we did notice was that it wasn't particularly graceful when it came to switching networks, resulting in us pulling the power to force a reallocation of IP.

We tested WD 2go on a Nexus One smartphone over Wi-Fi, and it found the Duo quite rapidly despite being on a different subnet. However, things went pear-shaped when attempting to connect, so we moved both devices to the same subnet. At this point we were able to browse publicly available folders quite fine. The software itself is rather limited; you can view properties of files, but unless you have a "viewer" installed on your phone for a particular file type, you can't access them. There's no option to simply download a file.