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WD My Cloud EX4

/ 16 February, 2015

wdsfMyCloud_EX4At first glance, Western Digital’s My Cloud EX4 bears no resemblance to its predecessor.

The, white, single bay My Cloud was much slicker looking and came in 2TB form, and the EX4 is a heftier black unit; not ugly, but not stylish. WD have added a read-only LCD display, which is useful.

The ‘Easy-Slide-Drive’ feature, which allows hard disks to be inserted with a simple click, is a neat, pleasing touch, and allows the user to avoid the hassle of replacing disks further down the line.

WD has added another USB 3.0 port to the EX4, meaning more storage can be added, as well as a power port for greater redundancy, and another Gigabit Ethernet port.

In the same vein, the device can be bought with WD’s Red drives, which are designed for NAS use, but the EX4 also supports all standard 3.5 internal hard drives.

Those looking to install their own hard disks will require a degree of technical acumen, but anyone opting for WD’s Red drives shouldn’t have too many problems. These included hard drives are already set up in RAID 5 configuration, which enables the capacity of the fourth drive to be used for redundancy in case one of the drives fails.

Available at $800, $950, or $1,150 with 8TB, 12TB, or 16TB hard drives pre-installed, the EX4 does represent good value for money, meaning what it lacks in style it makes up for in practicality.

The unit can be integrated with leading cloud services including Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive, and can be remotely accessed via apps for iOS, Android, PC and Mac.

The EX4’s Cloud Access feature allows the creation of a WDMyCloud.com online account for each user account of the NAS server, and to create an access code for a remote device, which allows a VPN-like connection over the Internet for computer users.

Its main flaw is write speed, which is disappointing. However this is balanced out by the fact it is easy to install. The web interface is intuitive, with a simple dashboard featuring tabs including ‘users’, ‘shares’ and ‘storage’ among others.

The EX4’s playback function isn’t the best. It can only support browsing content by folder, meaning the user has to remember where content is stored, and there’s no search function to ease matters.

Nonetheless, the EX4 is an affordable cloud storage option that is well suited to a connected consumer. It’s simple enough to set up, has a neat interface and can be used in line with prominent consumer cloud services. 8/10