Iomega Home Media Network Drive Review

by Reads (15,532)

The Iomega Home Media Network Drive like the name implies is a network attached storage (NAS) device intended to share media and files throughout a home to computers and media playing devices.  What separates this NAS unit from the crowd is built-in media server support that streams music, movies, and photos to compatible devices such as an Xbox 360 or photo frame. In this review we cover how easy it is to set this drive up and how easy it is to use it with a laptop and Xbox 360.

Iomega Home Media Network Drive Features:

  • UPnP AV Media Server—Compatible with DLNA certified media players, able to stream photos, audio content and videos to a variety of media devices like game consoles, audio bridges, DMAs (digital media adapters), picture frames and more.
  • iTunes Server—Store your audio content in one central location and share it across your iTunes players.
  • Network File Protocols Supported—CIFS/SMB (Microsoft), AFP (Apple), HTTP 1.1
  • Expandability—Add storage capacity by connecting external USB Hard Disk Drives. Supports FAT32 and NTFS formatted hard drives.
  • Print Server—Intelligent network print sharing capability for one USB printer directly attached to the HomeMedia drive
  • Oxford 810SE chipset with 370MHz CPU and 64MB RAM
  • 500GB 7200 RPM, SATA II HDD
  • 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet
  • One USB 2.0 port (For printers or additional storage)
  • Size: 7.83” x 4.92” x 1.57”
  • MSRP: $159.99

Build and Design
The Iomega Home Media Network Drive looks very good with its sleek aluminum shell and color matched base. The simplistic design has no buttons or lights mounted on the front of the case. As someone who gets annoyed by bright colored flashing LEDs I really like this look. The design blends in well with most computers, including Apple systems, and it is small enough to be hidden just in case it doesn’t.

The drive is solidly built with most of its strength coming from the aluminum body. The plastic front and rear cover fit closely to the body with minimal gaps. The one area I could see some improvement in is the slip-on base, which will quickly let the drive slide out of its grip if you are holding it and tilt the drive forward or back. Some sort of rubber grip or set screw to connect it would give it a more secure feel.

Ease of Use
Setup was very simple out of the box since you only need to plug the drive into your network, give it power, and install the software on your computer. The software installs a small utility which looks for compatible drives and maps the appropriate shares to your system. This makes it easy to drag and drop files into the correct location for media devices on your network looking for a specific type of file. One example would be the Xbox 360, which is able to stream video, songs, and other media files off of the drive with no other setup besides being on the same network.

Any settings for the drive itself are handled through a webpage interface on the drive’s internal web server. You can modify shares, rebuild or format the drive (good for upgrading), and handle other tasks like updating its firmware. The web interface limits the need for operating specific software and increases its compatibility with a wide range of systems.

Performance
Connections to the drive are limited to network access only, as the USB port is used for sharing printers or adding additional storage. While the speed is listed as gigabit, that doesn’t fully represent the speed that transfers go at. Sharing files between two modern computers over a gigabit network usually results with file transfers in the range of 30-50MB/s. Using the Iomega Home Media Network Drive with our gigabit capable switch the drive peaked at 14MB/s. This is faster than some “gigabit” NAS units, but still pretty far from true gigabit speeds. In its intended purpose of using it to stream audio and video to network devices it works great.

You can push multiple HD video streams without breaking a sweat. Using it for system backup of large files would show its slow speed, taking long periods of time to transfer files to the drive. USB 2.0 for example usually transfers files at a speed of 25-30MB/s, almost 3 times faster than this NAS; eSATA and Firewire are even faster.

Heat and Noise
The drive seemed louder than previous NAS units we have reviewed with a constant whine of the hard drive spinning. Some of this might be explained by the way the drive is mounted on steel sled without rubber dampers for more isolation. Unless the drive was on right next to you, you probably wouldn’t notice this.

Heat buildup was minimal with the drive only being warm to the touch. The drive is equipped with a rear mounted fan and air intake through the front that helps to draw cool air through it to keep temperatures down. After being on and active throughout most of a business day the drive warmed up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit with an office temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

Conclusion
The Iomega Home Media Network Drive is a good step forward, giving simple access to other computers on your network as well as media playing devices. The size isn’t any larger than most 3.5” external hard drive units and the style works well with most electronic setups. The gigabit network capabilities are good to have, but the raw transfer speeds were under even budget USB 2.0 external drives. Overall if you have a handful of computers on your home network and want to stream media around your house this drive is worth looking at as it doesn’t cost that much more than a standard external drive.

Pros:

  • Good looks
  • Well built aluminum body
  • Very easy to setup on computers and media devices

Cons:

  • Some mild noise is noticeable if it located near you
  • “Gigabit” transfer speeds well under USB 2.0 transfer speeds


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