Super-fast transfers; Personal Cloud lets you access files remotely; Automated uploads to Facebook; Versatile storage
Bland design; Cloud service hard to configure
The Iomega StorCenter ix2-dl not only backs up your files, but makes short work of posting photos and videos to your social networks.
A network drive can make your digital existence a lot easier. With the Iomega StorCenter ix2-dl, not only can you back up files wirelessly, but many of the tasks you do manually today - post photos to Facebook, send a massive attachment by email - can now be automated, simply by copying a file into a folder on the drive. It's like having your own cloud. But that's not all the business-friendly features ix2-dl offers. Read on to find out why it's one of our favorite gadgets of the year.
Setup and Installation
After installing the Iomega Storage Manager app on our notebook, it found the ix2 in about three seconds. The interface shows icons for each of the folders: Backups, Documents, Movies, etc. You can click on tabs to see the IP address of the drive, folders, Web access (called Personal Cloud), the Twonky server (used for streaming media to a device such as the Xbox 360), and backups.
The drive mappings appeared automatically on our laptop - one for documents, one for photos, etc. You can easily see how the internal drives are configured by clicking on a drive-mapping icon. Helpfully, there is a picture of the back of the StorCenter ix2 with clearly labeled drive bays.
Iomgega Link apps for Android and iOS also let you transfer and stream content to and from the drive. With the Iomega Link app for iPhone or Android, you can upload or download files to the drive, as well as stream photos, movies and music.
The apps were easy to install and use, but the Android version tended to crash on a Samsung Galaxy SIII, Iomega says that its working on a new release for 2013.
One perk: When you stream music on your iPhone, the app continues to run and play the music even if you switch over to e-mail or text.
We also installed the backup app QuikProtect. The program is easy to use and configure - it essentially works in the background and can back up common files by default. However, in an age of Dropbox, the utility is too simplistic. You can't add extra users or access QuikProtect from an app. The program does let you keep revisions of files, up to a max of 10. You can choose to make backups every time a new file is added, on set intervals when files change (say, one per hour), or on a schedule.
PerformanceWestern Digital My Net N900. We also copied one 2GB video file from the HP laptop to the drive as well, which took 45 seconds -- 30 seconds faster than the competition.
Transferring a 100MB video file from the NAS drive to a thumbdrive inserted into one of the USB ports took 80 seconds, quite a bit slower than the Seagate BlackArmor NAS 220 (at 55 seconds). Overall, the StorCenter bested the other drives we tested, shaving off precious seconds from file transfers.
The ix2-DL was also fast when streaming content. Using the Iomega Link app on an iPad 3, an 8MB 5616x3744 JPG picture took five seconds to load, on a par with the N900, and twice as quick as the NAS 220. We then selected a 100MB, 17-second video clip of a train. The video took 22 seconds to load, on a par with the N900.
The StorCenter is packed with extra features, some so convenient they might change how you manage your digital life. For example, a Facebook app lets you configure a directory so that, whenever anyone copies a file there, it is uploaded to Facebook automatically. The drive resizes the images (to a custom resolution, 800x600 or 1024 x 768) and can delete them after upload. You can also send uploads to Flickr and YouTube, trigger an e-mail to be sent with the file attached, and make files available for BitTorrent download - all by copying them. In one test, we copied photos to a Facebook folder on the drive and a few seconds later saw they had popped up on our Facebook wall.
No IT Guy, No Problem
Iomega offers four different configurations of the iix2. The first, which doesn't include any hard drives, costs $199. A 2TB version, which has dual 1TB hard drives, costs $329. Our configuration, which has two 2TB hard drives, is $429, and the top-end model, which has dual 3TB hard drives, costs $599.
While these prices are as listed on Iomega's site, you can often find them for less on retail Web sites.
|Storage Type||Network Attached Storage|
|Size||7.94 x 3.91 x 5.85 inches|