Each of these NAS drives has its own strengths and weaknesses. Apple’s Time Capsule is the easiest to set up and use, particularly if you own a Mac with built-in Time Machine software that will automatically back up files for you. However, it’s expensive, and it shares Time Machine’s limitations, such as its inability to back up specific folders and files.
At the other end of the spectrum lies Iomega’s StorCenter ix2-200. This is crammed with extras, including an iTunes server, mirrored RAID support and an array of networking controls for business users. However, it’s more expensive than RAID rivals such as the Western Digital World Edition II, and more complex to set up, so it might not be ideal for a small creative business.
In contrast, Freecom’s Network Storage Center is about as basic as a NAS drive can be, but as one of the cheapest models on the market it will appeal to those who want some light, affordable extra storage.
Netgear’s Stora is a good halfway house, allowing you to install a second hard disk to provide a RAID upgrade. Unfortunately its five different management programs left us scratching our heads and poring over the manual for guidance.
The only products that came close to matching the Time Capsule’s plug-and-play simplicity were LaCie’s Network Space 2 and Western Digital’s My Book World Edition II. The competitive pricing of the Network Space 2 makes it our recommendation for home studios, although it’s currently available with only 1TB of storage.
In the end, it’s the World Edition II that takes our Editor’s Choice award, thanks to its ease of use and 2TB of storage for £108 less than Apple’s 2TB Time Capsule, and RAID support for maximum data security.