UPDATED 04/24/15: Added Chromecast support to list of Benefits
You’ve seen the unboxing, now I’m gonna share with you my honest review of the WD MyCloud Expert Series EX4100 NAS (Network Attached Storage) device. I received the device a couple weeks back but I was only able to set it up and start trying it out last week.
Btw, the model that WD sent me to test and review is the 8TB EX4100 variant of the WD MyCloud Expert Series line that is powered by a Marvell ARMADA 388 1.6 GHz dual-core processor and 2GB DDR3 memory. It also has four bays and comes with two 4TB WD Red NAS hard drives that can be configured using multiple RAID options (depending on model) including RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 JBOD and spanning modes.
I’ve been testing out this beast of a device for about a week now and I can frankly say that it’s totally awesome and I LOVE IT!
Setup was a breeze. I just followed the instructions provided in the quick start guide that came with the package and I got the thing running in a few minutes. All I needed to do was to plugin the power cable as well as the ethernet cable then press the power button. After that, I opened my web browser and typed in http://wdmycloudEX4100 (http://wdmycloudEX4100.local for Mac) to start the initial setup.
Then I was asked to create an administrator account/password to keep the device safe and secure.
WD MyCloud EX4100 Dashboard
Next thing I did was to update the firmware.
After updating the firmware, I proceeded to creating/adding Users, Groups and Folders (Shares).
You can add/create as much users as you want and set limits to the files/folders each user can access and set quotas on how much disk space is alloted for each user.
Now that I have the Users, Groups and Folders (Shares) setup, I went on to upload some movies and videos. For testing purposes, I tried uploading files via WiFi and with the laptop plugged in to the router and the upload speeds were pretty good for both connections. I got about 4 MB/s using WiFi and about 11.5 MB/s when plugged in to the router. With those speeds, I was able to upload a single HD video with a file size of 1.53GB within 1 minute & 45 seconds. I also tried uploading twelve HD videos at once with a total file size of 11.5GB and was able to upload all of it within 17 minutes. These results are only based on my initial testing and I’ll update this post in case I come up with new upload speed results.
BENEFITS OF HAVING THE WD MYCLOUD EX4100
Backup all my photos, videos, movies, mp3s and other important documents – Before I got the WD MyCloud Expert Series EX4100, I only had less than 2TB of space for storage & backup. I had a 1TB WD Elements and a 320GB external hard drive which I salvaged from an old Toshiba laptop. I was already thinking about getting an additional external hard drive because both drives were almost filled to capacity. Now that I have the MyCloud EX4100, I don’t have to worry because I have all the storage space I need and more to keep all my photos, videos, movies and mp3s.
Share photos and videos with family and friends – With the help of the WD MyCloud Expert Series EX4100, I can now easily share photos and videos with family and friends. I don’t have to lend my SD card (which can be misplaced or damaged) or send photos through email. In the past, I would sometimes use Google Drive or Dropbox but often times it becomes ineffective because not everyone has a Google or Dropbox account. With the MyCloud EX4100, I can share files with anyone connected to my WiFi network or allow access to family and friends so they can view and retrieve files online.
Automatically backup photos & videos from mobile devices – Prior to having the WD MyCloud EX4100, I would backup the photos and videos from my Android devices by either using a USB cable and plugging it in to my computer or wirelessly thru apps like AirDroid, Box, Dropbox or Google Drive. Now, I can backup all my photos and videos automatically and save it on the WD MyCloud Expert Series EX4100 with the help of the WD My Cloud app. This gives me a better peace of mind knowing that I have copies of the files in my possession and not just stored somewhere in the cloud by Google or Dropbox.
Stream videos/movies to multiple mobile devices at home and during road trips – At home, we have several mobile devices – Android phones & tablets as well as iPhones & iPads. Uploading movies or videos to each device can be time consuming especially with Apple devices since you’ll have to do everything through iTunes. Now I can just upload those videos to my WD MyCloud Expert Series EX4100 and each mobile device in the house can access those videos separately at any time. I can also share the videos with guests who are connected to my WiFi network.
Having kids & toddlers with you on a road trip can be quite challenging. They get bored easily and one of the effective ways to keep them calm and preoccupied is to let them watch videos or movies. I have several videos & movies stored on my phone and tablet but since storage space is a bit limited there are times when the kids get bored watching the same videos again. The task becomes easier with the videos and movies stored in the WD MyCloud EX4100, I can stream the media straight to the mobile device so the kids can watch more of their favorite videos/movies.
Chromecast support (Android) – Almost forgot about this feature which I’m sure any Android & Chromecast user would love. Using the WD My Cloud app, you can stream all your media (movies & videos) to your Chromecast. Make sure that the Chromecast is ON and that you’re connected to the same network and open the WD My Cloud app, go to your media folder and click on the Chromecast icon and voila! You can now enjoy watching your favorite videos and movies on your TV.
Aside from the quick and easy setup as well as the benefits I mentioned above, there are a lot more things to like about the WD MyCloud Expert Series EX4100. One is the overall size of the device. For a NAS, it’s not too big or bulky so it doesn’t take up too much space and can be stored easily. The EX4100 has four bays, two of which is already used by two WD Red hard drives so the two extra/empty bays can be fitted with another set of WD Red hard drives or any compatible drives to further increase the storage capacity of the device.
With the built-in Twonky DLNA-certified (Digital Living Network Alliance) Media server you can stream content to compatible devices like smart TVs, gaming consoles, media players and other DLNA-certified devices. It can also be synced with the iTunes server so you can access your media anytime/anywhere through the iTunes player. Another useful feature for Mac users is the ability to create TimeMachine backups with this device without having to worry about using up space on the internal hard disk or having to plugin an external hard drive.
The WD MyCloud Expert Series EX4100 is great for personal use – backing up photos, videos, documents, etc. but it can also be a very useful tool for professional users such as photographers, videographers, graphic designers, web designers and other creative professionals or prosumers. This device allows them to work and access their files anytime wherever they go so it doesn’t hinder their creativity and it also allows them to share their work with colleagues or with clients. It could also enable these prosumers to have a more affordable or cost-effective solution (compared to using a public/commercial cloud) in providing their virtual/digital services.
I’ve only been using this device for about a week so there are still a few features/options that I haven’t tried. Most of the stuff I shared with you today are only my initial impressions of the WD MyCloud Expert Series EX4100. I might update this post or publish a follow-up review if I come across something relevant and worth sharing with you guys.
If you’re looking for a private cloud storage solution for your personal or professional needs, I highly recommend the WD MyCloud Expert Series EX4100. It’s an awesome product, not only in terms of features and capabilities but also in performance and quality.
The WD My Cloud Expert Series high performance NAS device comes in 2 variants, the EX2100 and the EX4100. The EX2100 is available in 0TB (casing only), 4TB (2x2TB), 8TB (2x4TB), and 12TB (2x6TB) while the EX4100 is available in 0TB (casing only), 8TB (2x4TB), 16TB (4x4TB), and 24TB (4x6TB). The models that come with disks are covered by a 3-year limited warranty, while the diskless (casing only models come with a 2-year limited warranty.
Last but not least, thanks to our friends from WD, we’ll be giving away a 4TB My Cloud WD EX2 worth $349.99 to one lucky JaypeeOnline reader/visitor. I’ll be posting a separate giveaway post containing the instructions and rules within the next few days so watch out for it.
DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by WD but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.