The Iomega iConnect is cheap and has some useful features, but unless you're on a strict budget or have very light file sharing needs its poor performance isn't worth putting up with.
Review Date: 4 May 2010
Price when reviewed: £63
Reviewed By: Alan Lu
Unfortunately, we suspect this reliance on USB disks for storage is also responsible for its slow file transfer speeds. Compared to even the slowest internal disk-based NAS, the iConnect is shockingly sluggish at transferring files. Large files were written at a glacial 0.6MB/s and read at a slightly quicker 4.5MB/s. Small files performance was even slower – they were written at 0.3MB/s and read at 2.2MB/s. It's possible to work around this incredibly slow network performance by attaching the USB disk directly to your computer to transfer files before sharing them over your network, but this defeats the point of having network storage.
Although its storage arrangements are unusual, the iConnect is in almost every other respect very similar to Iomega's other, more traditional NAS devices. It shares the same web management interface which is a good thing as it's logically organised with commonly used tasks gathered together on the home page.
The iConnect has many features seen only on more expensive NAS devices. Stored files can be accessed remotely from another computer across the internet. The web interface for this works well enough, but it isn't very sophisticated – uploading multiple files can be tedious, for example. In addition BitTorrent files can be downloaded without the aid of a computer.
Over your local network, photos can be imported over USB from digital cameras that support Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP). Files stored on any hard disk connected to the iConnect can be searched by keyword. This search feature is only accessible from the web management interface though and isn't any better than a search tool such as Google Desktop. The print server function should be able to share a USB printer across the network, but it refused to recognise our Samsung USB laser printer.
We had no trouble using the iConnect as an iTunes music server. It can also stream media files to an UPnP network media player. A standard definition video file played smoothly, but playback became unwatchably choppy if files were being transferred in the background at the same time, or if the iConnect was updating its index of media files.
The Iomega iConnect's slow file transfer speeds make it ill-suited for even moderate levels of file sharing. Synology's DS110j is a much better general purpose NAS. If you're more interested in its other features though, such as its BitTorrent download manager, then the iConnect is a cheap way of acquiring them.