It’s no secret that we’re digital hoarders. Every day we snap up photos of our food, download our favorite music to our phones, and record videos of our friends falling backward into a pool. For home users, file storage can often be a bit of a hassle – people want something that’s easy to setup and forget about, rather than messing with external hard drives or countless USB thumb drives. While power users like myself would be more than happy to setup a basic NAS at home, many home users don’t want or need something as complicated, which is why WD’s My Cloud Home Duo is a viable solution. It strips away a lot of the complications often involved with a home NAS, and instead offers a basic storage space for anyone in your home. Unfortunately, it comes with its own set of drawbacks which makes it a bit difficult to recommend as an all-in home storage solution.
Build Quality & Design
- Sleek, futuristic design
- Minimal LED lights
WD introduced a new look for its My Passport series not too long ago, sporting a very futuristic geometric design and coloring. That design inspiration has carried forward to the My Cloud Home Duo as well. Gone are the days of bulk black boxes with an annoying bright LED slit in the front. Instead, you get a chic white and grey box that can gracefully be set up anywhere in your home and not look garish in any way. In fact, one of my coworkers described it as looking like a ‘fancy tissue box’, which I’m not sure is a good thing or not.
A thin LED strip sits horizontally in the front to let you know when the drive is up and running, while round the back is where you’ll find the device’s connectivity options. There’s a slim power button, two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, and a reset button. I would have much preferred to have one USB port in the front for easier access, because every time I had to plug something in I had to rotate the device to find where the USB slots were.
The WD My Cloud comes in both single and double drive versions (hence the Duo name), and only the Duo model can be user-serviced. The drives can be accessed by prying open the top cover, after which you can slide out either of the drives to replace them. WD’s stuck their Red drives into the Duo, which makes for better performance and reliability. I remember when older models would use Green drives instead, so it’s good that at least this improvement has been introduced.
Our review unit featured a killer 16TB of storage spread across two 8TB drives. However, by default the system well set itself up in RAID1 to ensure that your data is kept secure if one of the drive fails, so you’ll have to contend with using just the 8TB instead. You can switch this over to JBOD instead (which formats the drives), but if either of the drive fails then you’ve lost all of your data. 8TB is still a lot of space to play around with, so I’d recommend you just stick with the RAID1 setup.
- Currently only supports Plex for media streaming
- Easy backup for Windows and Mac
WD is positioning the My Cloud Home Duo as something you’d want to setup at home, and so it’s a bit odd that it doesn’t feature a native media service to stream content to compatible devices. You can get Plex up and running on it (more on that later), but it’s a bit of a puzzle since older WD devices had support for DLNA and iTunes sharing right out of the box.
There are also options to enable cloud services, which lets you link up with Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, or even upload photos from Facebook and Google photos. This makes the My Cloud Home Duo a straightforward backup solution to sync up with whatever services you already use, as well as wirelessly backing up from your smartphone and other devices via the dedicated app.
The My Cloud Home Duo also supports Windows Backup and Apple’s Time Machine, so if you want to be extra secure about your data, you can easily set these up and let your OS and the My Cloud Home Duo take care of the rest. I tried this out with my MacBook Air, and it had zero problems backing up and restoring from the My Cloud Home Duo.