Apple AirPort Time Capsule – 2TB ME177LL/A Review

I recently bought a new devices and would like to give a quick feedback. This mysterious device is called Apple AirPort Time Capsule – 2TB (ME177LL/A) and I bought it on Amazon.

Apple AirPort Time Capsule

First thoughts

It was perfectly packaged with attention to detailed and I could see for what I paid. Premium quality packaging and its something only Apple can be proud of. The device itself was like I already expected – small and heavy due to full size Seagate Barracuda  3.5inch 7200RPM drive. Some models are reported to have WD drives but it doesn’t matter as they are nearly the same. Time Capsule has the same footprint as Apple TV. Exact same dimensions except the height.

Setup

It took me 1 minute to setup. The easiest setup I have ever done for router and network hard drive. It justs works. However, it lacks several configuration options and it does what Apple have made it to do. You can’t do much else. You can’t schedule different backup time, file types or anything else. The only option for backups are ability to exclude files or folders and that’s it.

The same is about router. It just works and you can’t do anything about it. No parent control, content filtering, custom firewall rules or anything. You can change device name and password and that’s it. Not the best option for advanced users.

Performance

It has AC enabled Wi-Fi which makes it extremely fast and stable. However, there are not many AC enabled devices except few MacBooks and 5th generation iPad and 2nd generation iPad Mini.

It has USB 2.0 instead of USB 3.0, so it is slow if you are looking to add an extra drive. Probably the better option is to attach a network drive or add your content wirelessly if you have AC enabled devices. It is the slowest backup solution I have used in years but at least it works every time you need it. Previously I was using WD My Claud which is much faster but unreliable. It often went in sleep and I had to restart it to wake it up when I needed it. For most users it could be OK but I am on my computer 16 hours a day, so I need it all the time.

Range

Range is better than most cheap and/or old routers but any today’s router over $150 will provide with much better range. The range equals to my old premium Linksys WAG320N. I was expecting more at that price point. A lot more.

Overall

I bought it to replace Linksys WAG320N because I finally had a chance to switch from A-DSL to 4G (100 Mbtis download and 30 Mbits upload) and this router is designed to handle A-DSL but it useless when it comes to decent network speeds. I decided that I could just use one device to replace both External hard drive and router and the only option was Apple Time Capsule. While the performance is down from what I had before I am happy with my purchase because of less wires, less devices and because it just works. I am using Apple Time Capsule for 3 weeks now and I haven’t noticed it unresponsive. Yes, it does go to sleep when it’s not in use but it takes few seconds to make it work again. This is something WD were unable to do in many cases.

TL;DR

The simplest router and backup solution not designed for performance and lacks advanced functionality. It just works the way Apple wants and you can’t do nothing about. However, it is the only NAS device under $300 that works seamlessly and is awake when you need it.

Pros:

  • Design
  • Simplicity
  • Easy to setup
  • IEEE 802.11ac support
  • It just works
  • User replaceable drives (not for everyone but still doable)

Cons:

  • Performance lags behind most high end routers and NAS combinations
  • Wi-Fi range is the same as 3 years old Linksys router.
  • No control over your backups
  • No advanced features.
  • USB 2.0

AirPort Time Capsule is designed and developed for regular users and won’t please power users looking for performance, insane range or advanced functionality. It is made for average users that has no idea what they are doing but still would like to backup their data.

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