NAS is a naughty word for some companies, who think such acronyms are too scary for the majority of consumers and therefore not to be uttered out loud. They're probably right.
If you need somewhere safe to store your collected digital media, the key is ease of use and reliability; you don't need to know whether your storage is network attached, or connected via wet string and sealing wax. As long as it ‘just works' so that your pictures, film and music are available wherever you are in the house. Or now, outside of it.
Western Digital's new My Book hard drive storage unit, the World Edition, is attached to your various home computers over a local network... a NAS by any other name. Where the WD My Book World Edition goes that bit further than your regular NAS is in its potentially invaluable backup and remote access options.
The My Book World drive itself is a clean and modern objet d'art, separated from the flock by neat touches such as a white LED vertical strip up its front, which periodically flashes up and down its length like some ghostly lavalamp. A gimmick maybe, but it's as anthropomorphising for cold technology as Apple's now-familiar white sleep lights that gently pulse on and off like a slumbering animal.
We tried a World Edition fitted with a single 1TB hard disk, a 3.5in desktop-type drive. There's also a two-drive version, and thanks to WD's recent bar-raising in disk capacities, a 2TB single-disk version is also offered. On the back of the unit is a single ethernet and a USB 2.0 port; the former to connect to you network, the latter to allow expansion of capacity with an extra USB disk drive.
Physical setup requires you to just plug the unit into your home router with a short supplied network cable, plug in the power adaptor, and press the on switch. Software setup is not much harder - on a Mac, the MBWE will automatically appear in the network share list thanks to Apple's Bonjour networking, while Windows users will need to install the WD Discovery app from CD first.
Once done, you can use a Mac or Windows PC on your home network to gaily drag and drop files to the My Book World Edition's capacious storage, or to play media stored on the drive. And unlike some NAS drives of old, we found transfer speeds through our network were suitable speedy.