All current Mac owners will have Time Machine installed, some may use it with an external USB drive, but for ultimate ease of use backing up over a wireless network is favourite. Until recently there has only been one option, an Apple Time Capsule. The 1TB Time Capsule costs around £230 in the UK with the 2TB model stretching to £388. Nobody can put a price on the loss of important data, but quite frankly I found the cost of both Apple models off-putting, so I began to look at other options to achieve the same goal. I stumbled across the fact that Western Digital had updated the firmware in the MyBook NAS range to make them compatible with Time Machine, when you consider a 2TB model can be bought for £137 it really does make you stop and think.
Admittedly the Apple unit contains a wi-fi base station whereas the Western Digital unit doesn’t, but for many people, myself included this was a non issue. Setup of the unit was a breeze, simply connect the mains power and ethernet cable, the NAS itself is set to DHCP by default which made things simple on my home network. Configuring the unit to work seamlessly with Time Machine needed a little more work instructions of how to do this are provided on Western Digital’s website here.
Once configured Time Machine works perfectly with the WD NAS, I’ve currently been running it for a few months now with no issues. Western Digital also provide a free service which enables you to access the shared folders on the NAS via the internet through a system called mionet. It’s fine for sending and receiving small files such as spreadsheets, text and photos, but don’t expect to be transferring HD video files as it’s not quick enough.
In summary the Western Digital MyBook NAS is perfect for use as a wireless Time Machine backup drive.
For a while now I’ve been looking at ways to get my spotify account to play over my B&W Zeppelin wirelessly, after discounting a Sonos system I looked at Apple’s Airport Express but found the setup not ultimately straightforward.
After Apple announced the inclusion of airplay with iOS 4.2 I discovered the Belkin Bluetooth Music Receiver, but is it any good?
Well to be honest, yes. Setup is very straightforward, plug the power adapter and audio output cable into the puck shaped unit and connect to your speaker dock or stereo system. The iPhone finds the Belkin unit straight away and doesn’t even need pairing, contrary to the instruction manual which I found strange. Once connected a small blue LED illuminates to show an active bluetooth connection with the iPhone.
Sound quality is very good and Belkin state that the unit is able to operate with a range of 30ft, although I’d qualify that by adding “line of sight”. I have experienced very brief dropouts when moving the iPhone behind a wall into another room, although it recovers very quickly and continues playing.
The Belkin Bluetooth Music Receiver can be picked up for around £17 delivered, add to that the fact it will work with almost any stereo system which accepts external inputs and stream any audio source (Spotify, iPod, Last.fm, Tunein Radio) from an iOS device. It allows remote volume control from within Airplay so no looking round for another remote control. Overall it’s a very capable product and does everything expected of it well. 9/10
BUY ONE NOW!
Don’t get me wrong, I love the way Sonos music systems work, but what I don’t love is the price. A Sonos S5 costs roughly £349 in the UK, which doesn’t sound much in comparison to most premium iPod docks.
It’s only when you begin to fully research the costs involved with setting up a Sonos system that it becomes very apparent that it isn’t cheap. For starters you need a Sonos zonebridge currently retailing for between £70-90, a NAS drive of suitable capacity say another £90 minimum for 1TB. Then you’ll need something to control the system with, you can go for the old Sonos CR100 which will cost you around £200, but realistically you’ll want the newest CR200 which is nearer £280.
Add that little lot together and you’re approaching £790, not forgetting this is only for single room audio, expensive isn’t it!
The bonus of course is that once you buy another S5 you then do have multi-room music but then for that privilege you’ve shelled out £1200.