Monday, December 30, 2013

Apple Airport Time Capsule

Apple's Airport Time Capsule is a wireless router and an external hard drive rolled into one. It's not specifically designed to be connected to a particular computer (although you can), but instead connect wirelessly to all of the computers in your home (ideally, Apple computers, although it's not difficult to get them sharing with Windows and Linux machines). You can manage it remotely with an iOS device, and even though a wireless external hard drive sounds overcomplicated, setting it up is surprisingly easy. If you need it to be a base station, you can set it up to be one, or if you want it to act as a bridge, extending Wi-Fi into another room, you can set it up that way as well. The Airport Time Capsule comes in capacities of 2TB and 3TB, and can be connected to a printer or even more USB storage to make it available to the other computers on your network. It even features a built-in firewall to keep the internet at bay, and supports Apple's Time Machine automatic backup software natively. Those of you who nominated the Time Capsule—both the current Wi-Fi enabled model and the older, flater models, praised Apple's build quality and customer support. Obviously it's ideal for those folks invested in the OS X/iOS ecosystem as well. All of those features will definitely cost you more than the average external drive however; the Airport Time Capsule is $300 for the 2TB version and $400 for the 3TB version, direct from Apple. Now that you've seen the top five, it's time to put them to an all out vote to determine the winner. No honorable mentions this week—the votes dropped off pretty quickly after these five, although there are definitely some other contenders buried in the call for contenders thread that didn't approach the top five, but are still worth a look if you're no fan of Western Digital, Seagate, or Apple, or just want to do a little bargain hunting. Drives from LaCie, OWC, and Fantom were all nominated.

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