Western Digital My Book Live

Cliff Jospeh, Macworld UK
8 November, 2011
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Western Digital My Book Live

Western Digital, store.westerndigital.com

Pros 

A fast, affordable and easy-to-use network drive; useful companion iOS apps; works with Time Machine and acts as an iTunes server

Cons 

No WiFi, RAID, or USB ports

$169 (1TB); $269 (2TB); $319 (3TB)

Reviews

At first glance, there’s nothing particularly special about the My Book Live. It offers similar features to most of its competitors, with a Gigabit Ethernet interface for connecting to your home or office network. It works with Time Machine and acts as an iTunes server and also supports UPnP networking for streaming music and video to other non-Apple devices. And, like the Iomega StorCenter, it also provides a personal cloud option that allows you to access your files over the internet when you’re out and about.

However, where the My Book Live really scores is in its ease of use. Like Apple’s Time Capsule it automatically shows up within Time Machine so that you can back up your Mac over the network without having to do a thing. And it combines that ease of use with additional features that Time Capsule lacks. When you install Western Digital’s SmartWare software it provides simple advice on how to set up user accounts and shared folders for other people on your network, and also explains how to set up the personal cloud option.

Western Digital also scores brownie points for its two iOS apps – WD Photos lets you browse photos stored on the My Book Live, while WD 2go is a more advanced file viewer that allows you to view Word and Excel documents, as well as stream music and video files.

The My Book Live is a good performer too. Western Digital claims to have used a special high-speed processor to provide extra performance, and the My Book Live did outshine all its rivals during our backup tests with a speed of 28MBps. Our 1TB review unit cost just $169, and the 2TB ($269) and 3TB (319) models are cheaper than most of their rivals too, so it’s good value for money.

Macworld Australia’s buying advice

That’s not to say that the My Book Live is perfect. There are no USB ports, so you can’t plug in another USB drive to add more storage, and it lacks the RAID capabilities of the Iomega and Freecom drives, so if you need those specific features then you may prefer to pay a bit more for one of the other drives on test this month. However, if you simply want a fast and versatile NAS drive that’s affordable and easy to use, then the My Book Live is hard to beat.

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