Back up your files with these top NAS drives

There’s no doubt that the My Cloud Duo is a very different kind of NAS. For a start, it’s actually good-looking, thanks to a living room-friendly, white design that hides all the drives and connectivity away. You can get in and replace the drives should you need to, sliding them in and out of a panel at the top, but you suspect that WD prepopulate the My Cloud Duo in the factory and really intended it to stay that way. It’s difficult to imagine a NAS that needs less work before it’s up and running.

This isn’t just a question of the hardware, but also of the software. The My Cloud Duo will set itself up with RAID1 by default and then there’s really not much else to do, bar adding users. Once added, they get their own folder, which syncs with a desktop folder in the style of Dropbox – all thanks to the My Cloud desktop app. Otherwise, you can set it to back up files from Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and other cloud services, along with photos from Google Photos and Facebook. Moreover, can create backups from your Mac or PC using Time Machine or Windows Backup.

It’s incredibly easy to set up and work with, then, but there are limitations. For example, there are no media server features unless you install Plex from the tiny app store, and while the My Cloud Duo will download files added to Dropbox folders, it won’t upload any files you add to the folder to the folder on Dropbox or to any synced machines.

The My Cloud Duo is also slow. Give it a task and it seems to ramp up the speed as time goes on, but the performance in our backup file transfer test was only just above that of the TerraMaster F2-210, although its performance in our sequential read/write tests wasn’t nearly as bad. We would lay the blame at the door of the quad-core, ARM-based Realtek CPU – and the fact the appliance has just 1GB of RAM. However, if all you want is an affordable and unobtrusive device to sync and back up several PCs in your home then the My Cloud Duo is both well-priced and easy to use. If you want anything more than that, though, you really need to have a look elsewhere.

Western Digital My Cloud Duo (4TB) specifications

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Model numberWDBMUT0040JWT-EESN
Price (inc VAT)£231 (£288)
Warranty2yr RTB
Dimensions (WDH)53 x 140 x 176mm
Noise levelNot stated
CPURealtek RTD1296PBCG
CPU coresQuad core
CPU speed, cores1.4GHz
RAM/maximum RAM1GB/1GB
Bays (free)2 (0)
Drive type3.5in hard disk
Max internal capacity20TB
RAID modes0, 1
Bay typeSlide-in caddy
Hot swap?No
2.5in drives supportedNo
SSD supportNo
Status displayLED status bar
Gigabit Ethernet ports1
10GB Ethernet portsNo
USB ports (rear)2 x USB 3
USB ports (front)No
802.3ad link aggregationNo
Load balancingNo
Network failoverNo
Major network protocolsSMB, ATP
iSCSI targetNo
USB expansion optionsNo
NAS OS/firmwareNot stated
Main desktop softwareWD Discovery, MyCloud Home
Remote accessMyCloud Home
Cloud integrationNo
BackupWindows Backup, Time Machine
MediaMedia Server, iTunes Server, Plex
Testing and DevelopmentNo
Other major servicesNo
Stuart Andrews

Stuart has been writing about technology for over 25 years, focusing on PC hardware, enterprise technology, education tech, cloud services and video games. Along the way he’s worked extensively with Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android and Chrome OS devices, and tested everything from laptops to laser printers, graphics cards to gaming headsets.

He’s then written about all this stuff – and more – for outlets, including PC Pro, IT Pro, Expert Reviews and The Sunday Times. He’s also written and edited books on Windows, video games and Scratch programming for younger coders. When he’s not fiddling with tech or playing games, you’ll find him working in the garden, walking, reading or watching films.

You can follow Stuart on Twitter at @SATAndrews