WD My Cloud Mirror Gen 2 review
An excellent choice if you want an easy-to-use NAS to create your own cloud, and excellent value too
Much as we love the Qnap TS-451+ , not everyone wants a chunky NAS with hot-swappable bays, a vast range of features and the kind of design that makes network admins swoon. Some simply want fast networked storage, Dropbox-like sync capabilities and solid media-handling features, preferably in a box that's easy on the eye and with an interface that justifies the adjective "intuitive". If that's your wishlist, the second-generation My Cloud Mirror is hard to beat.
For a start, the design owes more to Western Digital's external hard disks than enterprise storage, and it comes populated with dual 2TB, 3TB or 4TB WD Red drives for a total of 4TB, 6TB or 8TB of capacity. If you do need to replace drives, they're easily accessible through a flap at the top of the unit.
It's quite noisy when starting up but very quiet in general operation, while power consumption never crept above a peak 18W in our tests, mostly hovering at 12W to 15W. Connectivity is basic, with just two USB 3 ports on the rear plus the single Gigabit Ethernet, but for many home and small-office users, that's enough.
It's those users who will best appreciate how easy the new My Cloud Mirror is to set up. The web-based routine discovers it on your network, creates an account and sets up the drives. There's a focus on web access and synchronisation that leaves you feeling you're turning on your own personal cloud. This straightforward user interface makes managing this device a cinch, whether you're adding users, creating new shared folders or setting up backups through WD's SmartWare Pro app or Apple's Time Machine. It's the same story with DLNA and iTunes media streaming; you don't get advanced features such as real-time transcoding but the basics are in place and work.
While the My Cloud Mirror isn't the only NAS to offer cloud storage capabilities, it and the Netgear RN214 are the only ones that approach Dropbox or OneDrive's features and ease of use. Download the WD Sync app and any files you save or update in your My Cloud folder are synced almost instantly on the NAS, complete with a Dropbox-like status applet to keep you up to date on progress.
Meanwhile, the My Cloud web portal gives instant, easy access to your files and folders through a browser, even if it lacks the sort of document preview, media streaming, slideshow and sharing features you'd get from OneDrive or Dropbox. If you need mobile access, the iOS and Android My Cloud apps let you access and download files, and will also automatically upload photos - much like the true cloud storage apps.
The downside of most consumer-level NAS units is performance, and we didn't have high hopes for the My Cloud's 1.2GHz Marvell Armada CPU and 512MB of RAM. Surprisingly, however, it's not slow at all, with read and write speeds in excess of 100MB/sec when copying large 4K video files. The limitations of the CPU proved more apparent when processing our 10.7GB of small files but even here the results were more mid-table than bottom of the league.
Perhaps its biggest selling point, though, is value. Just the two 4TB WD Red drives would cost around 260, making this NAS's 350 price seem pretty reasonable. Drop down to the 6TB version and you can find it for less than 250.
If you're an ambitious user looking for a Swiss-Army-knife of a NAS that can function as a web server, email server, IP camera security centre and 4K video transcoding powerhouse, then choose the Qnap TS-451+ or Synology DS216+; the My Cloud Mirror is not the NAS you're looking for. If, however, you want a simple, ready-made solution for backup, file-sharing and personal, cloud-like storage, look no further. The WD My Cloud Mirror 2 gives you all you need with the minimum of hassle and expense.
This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 261.
If you want a simple, ready-made solution for backup, file-sharing and personal, cloud-like storage, look no further. The WD My Cloud Mirror 2 gives you all you need with the minimum of hassle and expense.
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