LaCie, working with world renowned designers, has created some of the most visually appealing storage solutions since starting the business in 1992. We have seen amazing works of art come from LaCie collaborating with designers such as Ziba, Porsche, Philippe Starck and the fantastic Scottish designer behind the product we have today, Neil Poulton.
The LaCie CloudBox is a single bay NAS device that takes aim at removing the headaches of setting up traditional appliances, with its one plug, one click setup. The device is also "Cloud" accessible, that is to say you can access your content from anywhere in the world with your Mac/PC or iOS device.
The CloudBox is available in 1TB through 4TB capacities and is equipped with a single Gigabit LAN connection. Features of the device include file server access through Samba and Apple Filing Protocol among others and even access to a download manager that supports BitTorrent. The CloudBox also has built-in Time Machine and Windows Backup functionality with a one year warranty.
The packaging depicts a family setting where the CloudBox is accessible by a multitude of devices. We find LaCie's "1 Plug, 1 Click" simple install listed along the bottom and its capacity in bold font at the top.
The back of the packaging goes into finer detail about the CloudBox and its capabilities.
Included in the packaging was the power adapter and CAT6 Ethernet cable. This is the first I have seen a NAS device come with the higher grade cabling, as most manufacturers include CAT5 or CAT5e.
On the side of the CloudBox we found a simple layout with just the power button and power connection next to each other. On the right side the Gigabit LAN port and reset button.
The bottom of the device has a mesh design to allow air to circulate through the device. At the bottom there is a sticker that acts as a legend for the LED indicator.
Internally, LaCie uses the Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 hard disk drive.
The PCB of the CloudBox utilizes the Marvell 88F6702 SoC operating at 1GHz. We also found 256MB of DRAM by Hynix.
The "finder" application called LaCie Network Assistant allowed for quick setup of our CloudBox.
In the volume tab the finder allows you to mount the drive, giving you a drive letter for easy access.
The configuration tab allows you to setup a static IP for the CloudBox or DHCP for easier setup. There is the option to update the NAS as well.
Connecting to the dashboard through our browser was as simple as typing in the IP address for the CloudBox. We were then presented with a user name and password authentication screen.
The landing page for the CloudBox is elegant and at the same time laid out so that everything is easily accessible. The right the dashboard shows us how many users are logged on, while at the bottom we see the eco management.
The general settings tab allows you to configure time settings along with FTP, SFTP and multimedia server settings.
In the network tab you can configure the network address to use DHCP or static IP's. To the right there is the option to enable remote access.
The download machine included with the CloudBox is one feature that allows this NAS device to stand out among the crowd, as we don't normally see this functionality on personal NAS devices.
The backup tab allows you to schedule jobs for both Macintosh and Windows operating systems.
Here we have the eco management tab. From here we can allow the internal drive and NAS to enter deep sleep mode, you can also adjust the time after which the drive will shut down.
The drive information tab, gives you an indication of how much storage you have used. Our 1TB model comes with a formatted capacity of 987GB, but with the NAS OS and firmware, we have a useable 919GB of space.
In the support section you can enable or disable the auto update function to your preference. We are using the latest firmware (188.8.131.52) for our review.
Mounting our CloudBox as a network drive we proceeded to run ATTO disk benchmark on it. Marketing specifications depict this drive is capable of 60MB/s read and write. We found the drive capable of 76MB/s read and 45MB/s write.
The CloudBox from LaCie is a rather unique device that offers plenty of design characteristic and all of this reflects on the commitment LaCie demands from the designers they collaborate with, and in the case of the CloudBox, Neil Poulton.
Performance of the CloudBox was superb for a single bay NAS device, and the added functionality of the download machine brings features of high-end NAS appliances to the average consumer. The only drawback I found, and it could be a turn off for a lot of users, is the absence of an app for Android or Windows mobile platforms. Now you can still access your files from any web browser, but I feel an app would definitely make things more user-friendly for non-iOS users.
Availability of the CloudBox should allow for easy access to the 1TB, 2TB and 3TB model, however I was unable to find the 4TB model at a reputable location. Pricing of the 1TB model we reviewed here today is set at $119.99, which is quite competitive with products such as the WD MyBook Live.
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