There's a lot of shiny and flashy gadgets and home entertainment devices that will entice most of the population during the holidays - cameras, music players, camcorders and tablets are sure to be this season's top sellers once again. But once gift recipients start to create content, listen to music, download apps or record videos, they will eventually need a good, safe and reliable digital place to store their stuff. That's where storage comes in - it's not always the sexiest product category, but there's a lot of new innovations in storage that we think will make good gifts as well:
Products reviewed in this category:
NUS2000 Network USB Storage Link+, by Cirago
CDD2000 Hard Drive Docking Station USB 3.0, by Ciragoio
Safe Rugged Portable hard drive, by ioSafe
My Passport Essential (500 GB) hard drive and Nomad rugged case, by Western Digital
1T Wireless External Hard drive designed by Neil Poulton, by LaCie
LaPlug, by LaCieGoFlex Turbo, by Seagate
GoFlex Satellite mobile wireless storage, by Seagate
GoFlex Slim external hard drive, by Seagate
GoFlex Desk external hard drive (4TB), by Seagate
DataTraveler 109 with urDrive, by Kingston Technology
SuperHero Backup & Charger for iPhone, by Iomega
Network-attached storage is the way to go for many enterprises - but the rest of us can also benefit from reliable storage provisioned on a network and thus available to multiple users, client PCs and other devices. One of my personal wishes for some time has been for a little box that can connect any USB storage device to a network, instantly adapting a USB drive to Ethernet, while in no way preventing it from easily shifting back to pure USB.
The Cirago NUS2000 achieves exactly that, providing a SAMBA server in a small box, coupling USB 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet. While file system support is limited to NTFS, FAT32, and EXT2, that should be plenty for most applications.
Setup was a piece of cake - you just need to connect the NUS2000 to the network, access setup via HTPP or UPnP, and that's about it. I tested the NUS2000 with a USB thumb drive, but any USB external storage device should work. Configuration options are plentiful, and NUS2000 can even function as an iTunes or media server, or even as a BitTorrent client. Remote access is supported, as is a WebDAV client. There's also a print server - all in all, a lot of value beyond basic file serving.
As mentioned earlier, I've been looking for something like this for a while, and I love the solution. Can I keep it, Keith? Can I? (Ed. Note: We'll see). For your favorite techie, this is a great gift, whether or not begging is involved. Top marks!
Cool Yule rating: 5 stars
Price: $79.99 (list)
Reviewed by C.J. Mathias