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Here, there, everywhere: 3 personal cloud storage systems

Brian Nadel | May 29, 2013
When you use a public Cloud storage service, you essentially give up control of the data so here's an alternative.

Your stored files are accessible from local or remote computers using the company's myNAS website. Once you've logged in, the site shows a list of the drive's items along with details like size and image resolution; click on any to see a thumbnail version in the lower left corner and save the file locally.

There's an iOS-based app called MyNAS (none for Android, BlackBerry or Windows Phones). The app works with Office, PDF, MP4 and MP3 files. It presents you with a list of folders and files that you can click on to view— the images are rather small (not surprisingly); they can be blown up to fill the screen, but in that case, they're rather fuzzy. Images can also be viewed as a slideshow.

There are two ways to share files stored on the CloudBox. As with the others, you can create a special log-on and password for a guest to have access to a special folder.

Alternatively, you can use LaCie's Wuala online storage service, which provides 5GB of free space. To share items, Wuala creates a Web link that can be emailed. The recipient doesn't need a Wuala account.


The CloudBox led the three in transferring 430MB of assorted files onto the drive with an average speed of 7.0MBps. Its 10.6MBps read and 11.4MBps write operations as measured by Crystal DiskMark were in the middle of the pack.

It took 42.2 seconds to get a 3.2MB image on the screen, the slowest of the three by a wide margin.

Bottom line

LaCie offers a two-year warranty on the CloudBox, a year shorter than the others. Its $120 price tag, good performance and general ease of use make it a good buy.

My Book LiveWestern Digital
Price: 1TB: $140 (list), $109 - $271 (retail); 2TB: $160 (list), $140 - $291 (retail); 3TB: $190 (list), $150 - $326 (retail)

If getting to your files from a variety of different devices matters, then My Book Live from Western Digital (WD) should satisfy. It has the widest assortment of remote access apps of the devices reviewed here.

With its rounded front and upright orientation, My Book Live could easily be mistaken for a hardbound book (and can easily be stashed in a bookshelf). At 6.5 x 2.0 x 5.5 in., it is midway between the smaller CloudBox and the larger My Book Live.

It has an easy-to-see LED up front about 2.5-inches from the bottom of the unit that glows green when everything is working. The Ethernet port is in the back.

Inside the dark gray case is a single 1TB hard drive ($140) that yields 992GB of available space for files; there are also models with 2TB ($160) and 3TB ($190). If you want something with RAID functionality, My Book Live Duo comes with a pair of drives that are available with three different capacities: 4TB ($360), 6TB ($460) and 8TB ($610).


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