capsule review

HP Media Vault mv2120 Network-Attached Storage Drive

At a Glance
  • HP Media Vault mv2120

    PCWorld Rating

Network-attached storage can be intimidating, but HP's Media Vault mv2120 puts users at ease with its carefully designed, integrated software. Though the mv2120 has a two-bay design, it comes loaded with a single 500GB drive; the other bay can accommodate a second drive to provide additional storage or to handle mirroring.

The menu system's approachable push-button design walks you through everything from media folder shortcuts (leading straight to premade video, photo, and music directories) to automating file backups and setting up a simple photo-sharing Web site. The Photo Webshare function broadcasts as an HP-labeled Web site, so you can grant external access to the NAS without revealing your own IP address to the world.

The Media Vault's network interface emphasizes convenience and functionality. For example, you can use a slider to adjust how often the mv2120 pings iTunes to back up your music--freeing you from having to remember such pesky details as storage. Ditto for backups of other data on your system (the Media Vault's software can handle only file-level backups, not full system backups, however). 

The mv2120's software may be great, but its performance versus other NAS devices on our tests was undistinguished. The unit took a hit on its write performance, but balanced that out with above-average read performance.

Unfortunately, the mv2120's hardware cut a few corners in its physical design, too. The Media Vault's largely plastic housing makes it feel a bit lightweight compared with, say, the ReadyNAS Duo. Another gripe: The swappable drive bay uses a flimsy plastic tray. The hard drive snaps into the tray to provide its structure, but I cringed as it snapped into place because it felt slightly fragile. Also, juggling the drives is a bit of a pain. The primary drive, which comes built in to the unit contains the NAS's operating system. You can crack the case and replace the drive with another one, but then you have to download a utility from HP's site to format the new drive and to install its OS.

The mv2120 offers an easy way to add storage to your network. It's a good choice if you have moderate storage needs and want to share content; but if you plan to move lots of data to the device, its slower-than-average write speeds may reduce its appeal.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Good for straightforward network-based file storage and backup; but, this model oversimplifies some tasks.


    • Simple, easy-to-use software
    • One easily-accessible, hot-swappable bay


    • Not as many features as other NAS drives
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