Having your own personal cloud storage is an attractive notion. However, a lot of people are put off by the technical knowledge needed for some networked storage solutions. Western Digital (WD) may have what you are looking for.
These days everyone has stacks of digital files that they want to keep safe. These could be photos, videos, or even PDFs of important documents. You could squirrel these away on thumb drives or just on your computer hard-drives, but these aren’t fail safe. Plenty of you will back things up to some sort of cloud storage, I do too. But, wouldn’t it be great to have your own personal cloud?
The WD My Cloud Home is exactly that: a personal cloud you can keep at home, use as a multimedia NAS (network attached storage) box and synchronise with cloud-stored data.
WD My Cloud Home design
Between those two sections runs a white status light.
Peering down the vented lid you will see a single 8TB drive. Sensibly, WD has utilised one of its own lovely Red editions for this. Unfortunately, unlike the My Cloud Home Duo version, there is no access to the drive.
It is a smart-looking device, which is not something you can say for most NAS boxes. WD definitely wants to attract the more casual, less tech-y user with this.
WD My Cloud performance
As this has been designed to be used by everyone, the drive can be accessed either by an app or via web browser. You can also open the drive up just as you would any drive on your PC.
My Cloud app
The My Cloud Home app is really straightforward to use. The main panel, ignoring the invitations to backup your cloud content, etc, shows the most recent activity on the drive. This is pretty handy if you have given all family members access, or you are collaborating with someone using the drive.
The Settings menu gives you options to Invite Others to the drive, Manage Services (Plex, Alexa skill, IFTTT, etc), as well as setting Auto Backup, a Passcode or Fingerprint protection.
Right in the midst of these options is a large plus symbol. Tapping this allows you to upload photos or videos from your device or even to take a photo to be stored on the My Cloud drive.
The web browser app is pretty much a large form of the mobile app.
Visual no audio
First the good news. Everything uploaded from the host PC to the drive without issue.
Also, using my phone, I was able to open and watch Blade Runner. Granted, the movie didn’t like to be moved forward or back as it was streaming but it would let me just sit and watch it.
That’s more than can be said of the music files.
First I tried Fleetwood Mac. I thought this might be a big ask as these have been ripped as FLAC files.
Well, it might be the size of the file. Let’s try an MP3. So, over to Tesla I flicked.
I know, perhaps it’s my phone playing up. So, I tried the web browser app.
The thing is, once you’ve activated the Plex feature on the My Cloud Home you can then install any free DLNA client app on your phone or tablet. This all then works sweetly.
My only issue here is that for a drive supposedly designed to be used by those with just a smattering of tech knowledge, this seems counter-intuitive. Perhaps WD was only intending that market to save photos and Office documents?
Given the high specifications, we were expecting this device to perform better than it initially did in our tests. Typical reads speed are in the 55-60MB/s range over a gigabit link, with write performance occasionally embarrassingly low.
Another strange foible is that you are able to copy files from external storage devices to the internal drive via the USB port and yet not back up the other way. Now, as this is a single drive device I would be inclined to want to back files up somewhere else. If you wish to do this, you can drag and drop data via your Windows file manager.
You are able to create a folder and generate a hyperlink for that location using the web interface. You can then send this to anyone you wish to have access.
WD has also implemented a Social and Cloud import system linking Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, Facebook and Google Photos accounts. This then enables you to synchronise them with the My Cloud Home each in a separate folder.
Again, this is a one-way deal. Files added to the My Cloud Home aren’t copied out to the aforementioned cloud applications.
WD My Cloud Home review conclusion
Western Digital has done many things right with the My Cloud Home. I like the friendly design and styling of the hardware. I also applaud the ease of set up and navigation. It all makes sense and there is no need to have any NAS experience or networking knowledge. Additionally, the capacities available in the range are also extremely useful.
However, the first thing I would do is have the drive render music files natively or have Plex pre-installed as that isn’t instantly apparent.
Also, I would like to see better software optimisation of the drive. The read/write speeds were much lower than I was expecting. The thing is, if I was to bypass the WD Discovery software and access the drive via its IP address, those speeds dramatically increased.
If you are looking for a simple personal cloud storage solution that is easy to set-up and use, the WD My Cloud Home is worth checking out. It may also get faster with updates.
Price and availability
You can buy the My Cloud Home now in capacities ranging from 2TB to 8TB.
It is also available as a dual drive version, the My Cloud Home Duo. The capacities for this is 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, and a huge 20TB.
The single drive 8TB, as reviewed, can be had for £302.89 from Amazon.