Today we all create and enjoy gigabytes of digital content, whether it is downloading the latest music, movies or e-books on our notebooks and tablets or taking tons of photographs with family or friends. As a result we spend countless hours trying to manage content spread across our smartphones, tablets, notebooks and other computing devices. WD’s My Cloud is your very own personal cloud that allows you to store all your data in one central location and access it from any device. I spent a month using it to keep my digital content organized. Keep reading to find out if it improved my digital life.
WD My Cloud looks sleek and modern. The casing is shiny white with a silver name plate. A small, blue LED is the only indicator for the device; it’s lit when the device is powered on and blinks when it is processing. On the back are a Gigabit Ethernet port, a USB 3.0 port, and the power connection port. The My Cloud comes with a small power adapter, a network cable, and a Quick Setup guide. The unit is not obstructive and sits comfortably on a desk or in my case, an Ikea Expedit shelf. I like that the casing is modern and at first glance appears to be an accessory rather than a technical device.
Setup was a breeze. As mentioned above, My Coud comes with a Quick Setup guide. I used it to get the device up and running. After establishing a power and network connection, I followed the steps for Client Computers.
[alert heading=”Activate Email” type=”alert-info” block=”false” close=”false”]During setup, you are prompted to enter an email address. The email address must be activated before it can be used to login. Check your email to activate it. This step is not explicitly mentioned in the Quick Setup guide.[/alert]
The My Cloud setup page is simple and easy to navigate. You can choose download controls for Mac or Windows using a single drop down box. The page also includes additional software downloads and How To guides to help you through the process.
Once you click a download, the process starts immediately. Screen shots of the download client for Mac are below. The download process consists of a few steps to setup your WD account. Completing these steps allows the software to populate your username for future login attempts. I found this aspect to be a bit misleading, hence the shaving of points in this section. Remember that I created and activated a WD account before I could access the downloads. In the setup process for the software download I was asked to name my account. I chose an account name that was different from my formerly established username. Consequently, the username populated for me to login is incorrect and I have not found a way to change it besides uninstalling and reinstalling the software. My work-around is to manually connect to the device each time I want to access it which requires me to enter my username and password. (There is a button for manual login.) This isn’t too taxing a thing to have to do, but it does prohibit me from using a feature that provides a faster login.
Just before the final step, the download client checks to see if an updated version of the software is available. I was given the option to complete my install with the updated version. Because I was timing the process, I chose to install without the update. All in all, setup was quick and painless. It took 3 minutes for WD account setup and another 2 minutes for the actual software install.
My Cloud is full of useful features. You can read the full list here. I’m going to focus on the features that positively impacted my lifestyle.
Physical Control. First, there’s the aspect of centralized cloud storage that I physically control. Sure, every service and software company offers cloud storage but where in the world is your data and who’s controlling it? I prefer My Cloud, which allows me to have control over my data in both cyberspace and the physical world over service based solutions that do not. It just felt more secure to me.
Direct Photo Uploads. As a mommy who blogs I take hundreds of photos a week. I capture everything from my son’s first pony ride to exquisite fashion shows at Bride Abu Dhabi. It’s a time saver and it frees my computer to function faster by bypassing the dreaded photo download. I can simply connect my camera using the USB 3.0 port to quickly add all of my photos to my personal cloud.
Mobile and Desktop Apps. It’s inefficient to store the same photo on multiple devices. But as a blogger, there are distinct reasons why I would need the same photo stored on my desktop and my phone. I create wonderful blog posts like this one from my MacBook but publish pictures to social media from my smartphone. Both instances require the same photo but in different sizes and resolutions. I love the fact that I can store photos on My Cloud and access them from any device using an app. I was able to successfully install and access My Cloud from MacBook, iPhone 5s, iPad 2, Lumia 1520 and the Lenovo S920. That covers iOS, Windows and Android. The app interfaces are straight forward and easy to navigate. Moreover, once the app was installed on each device, it took only a matter of seconds for it to find and configure the My Cloud device on my network. Check out screenshots from the My Cloud desktop and iPhone apps.
My Cloud offers up to 4TB of easily accessible storage. This review is of the 2TB model. The most impressive thing about the WD My Cloud is its performance. This single-volume NAS server offers a remarkable data rate. During testing, the server offered a sustained speed of 67MBps for writing and 87MBps for reading over a gigabit Ethernet connection. When away from my home network, I was able to connect to My Cloud seamlessly using both Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connections.