It’s been a busy few days for the whole idea of networked hard drives that provide direct Internet connections so you can get to them from everywhere. Last week, Seagate introduced DockStar, a $99 add-on for its FreeAgent Go drives that provides browser-based access to their contents. And today Netgear launched Stora, an all-in-one network drive with Web access.
It’s not a new idea–Western Digital is one of several companies that offer boxes with at least generally similar capabilities–but Stora looks like its specs and features should be appealing for the $229 price. It contains one hot-swappable 1TB drive with room for another (some competitors have no available expansion), has gigabit Ethernet, reads at 280Mbps and writes at 240Mbps, does RAID 1 disk mirroring, and comes with a three-year warranty (one year is more common). It also supports the DLNA and UPnP standards for streaming media around your network to various devices (including game consoles and phones). And Netgear says it’s particularly proud of the Web-based interface for getting at your music, photos, videos, and other files. (I got only a glimpse and haven’t done any hands-on tests, but at first blush it looks slick.)
Stora isn’t as fancy as a true home server like HP’s MediaSmart (which can, among other things, slice-and-dice digital video files for various devices in the background). But the price looks right for the capabilities–your $229 will get you more storage and more features (albeit in a larger, less portable package) than if you spend the same amount on a FreeAgent Go and a DockStar.
Geez, was it less than five years ago that a 1TB network device that had a lot fewer features and sold for $999 felt like a low-cost breakthrough?