The Apple Website describes it as 'a revolutionary device' - a wireless hard disk that can be set-up to automatically back-up all of your most precious digital possessions from multiple Macs (or at intervals of your own choosing).
APPLE CUSTOMER SERVICE
My first experience of the Time Capsule was with its 500GB sibling. Purchased after a nightmare with some PhD work (backed up, but not frequently enough!) I loved its ability to automatically backup all of my computers from anywhere in my home (to avoid my usual absent-mindedness!)...
It didn't seem to be functioning properly. At first it was just difficult to access the stuff on it, and then finally it wouldn't back up at all. Due to the aforementioned absent mindedness it took me over a year to do anything about it.
I tootled along to Apple's Genius Bar, despite knowing it was out of warrantee. After taking a look at it the lovely assistant asked 'if I'd mind' if he gave me a new one. The 500GB ones no longer being manufactured they gave me a 1TB version - £35 more hard drive for free (the 500GB version was around £199, the 1TB comes in at around £234)..... For free. Top marks for customer service..... but does it work?!
HOW IT WORKS - SET-UP AND WINDOWS FUNCTIONALITY
A word of warning to Windows users: you won't get all of the functionality. The automatic back up relies on the Time Machine software found on the Mac.
In contrast to my earlier experience, this Time Capsule has worked smoothly from day one. You're 'walked through' the set up using the included software and there's a very useful visualisation tool that enables you to 'sweep' back in time through your back-ups.
So far as security is concerned, you can be confident in the built-in firewall and encryption technologies that give this hard driver server-level security.
The noisy fan is perhaps a minor con, but only really if you intend to sleep in the room that it's being used in!
As well as its hard drive functionality, the Time Capsule functions as an 'AirPort Extreme Base Station' with 802.11 technology - basically the hub to a high-speed network. You can share the internet with guest computers, access your documents online from elsewhere (using Apple's 'Mobile Me') and network one printer to numerous computers (using the USB2 port).
Admittedly the ability to share the internet is somewhat extraneous - most people have a router with a modem built in these days. Wireless printers are also available very cheaply....
The time capsule has the same sleek look you get from other products in the Apple range. With a footprint of 20cm x 20cm (and at around 3.5cm in height) it'll sit unobtrusively on your desk in all of its white glossyness. Only a single built-in wire needs to trail from it (providing power) as well as your WAN cable, in line with Apple's minimalistic style. A single small LED light indicates when the product is on and backing up.
Every now and then, Apple introduce innovative and unique products to the market. Touted as "As leap forward for backup", their new wireless backup drive, "Time Capsule" is no exception.
So what's this "Time Capsule"? Time Capsule is a wireless hard disk which you can access from anywhere within range to wirelessly backup your lifetime's worth of memories and important documents over-the-air without any effort. It works seamlessly with you, and your computer.
Anyway, onto the actual product at hand. You can see Apple really do take time to create stunning and effective packaging. The packaging has an image of the product, your Time Capsule unit, and then a background image similar to the ever-so-loved OS X Leopard background, "Aurora", except this time it's in a wonderful spiral with milky pink and purple colouring. Included in this wonderful box is printed and electronic documentations, "Bonjour" networking application for Windows, Airport Disk Utility for Mac and Windows, a 802.11n enabler for Mac and of course a power cord.
I purchased Time Capsule a few months back, so that I could easily and visually view files which I may have deleted without actually realising; although it's core function is it's wireless technology and the ability to backup files from anywhere in your home over various wireless protocols.
The Time Capsule is available in just two models: a 500GB unit (£199.00) or a 1TB unit (£329.00). Each model comes with a 7200-RPM Serial ATA server-grade hard disk drive. Not too technical? Well that basically means the Time Capsule houses a fast and efficient hard drive for storing and backing up your precious data, such as: documents, movies, photos and music. I purchased a 1TB unit myself, as I personally thought the 500GB wouldn't be enough, and if you ever decide to expand, you have that extra space. The addition of a USB 2.0 Port also means you can expand using an additional hard disk, if you prefer.
The design of Time Capsule is simple, as are most of Apple's pioneering products. The Time Capsule it's self is of a beautiful, slim line, gloss-finished design. No ports are visible from the front, giving it a "clean" overall look. The only visible electronic is a small and minimal green LED light which displays the status of your Capsule. Also to note is that the power adapter is built right into the unit, so there's no need for any power adapters or bricks lying around! Time Capsule's weight and size specifications are nor light, nor heavy. According to the official Apple product specification page, Time Capsule is 197 mm in length and width (7.7 inches), 36.3 mm (1.4 inches) and 1567 grams (3.5 pounds) in weight.
Many people believe The Time Capsule is simply a wirelessly based back-up drive. Well, it isn't! Time Capsule is also a full-featured "Airport Extreme Base Station" with 802.11n wireless technology. What's 802.11n wireless technology? It's basically a high-speed wireless networking protocol, and a breakthrough way to backup all your files from a Mac or PC over the air without any thought or input. The built-in Airport Extreme features certified WiFi, in 802.11a/b/g and draft 802.11n.
Time Capsule also has integrated protection services, including a built-in firewall and industry-standard encryption technologies including WPA/WPA2 and 128-bit WEP. What does this mean, too? Encryption is when data you submit to the internet becomes "coded", so that other people cannot view them, or "un-encrypt" them. These technologies are a great inclusion if you like to shop or bank online, like myself.
On the back there is a selection of ports, including: 1 USB 2.0 Port, WAN Port, which connects to your ADSL or Cable Modem to establish a connection, 3 Ethernet Ports, which can be used for connecting multiple computers to, possibly, a network printer or any other network capable device, and a Security Slot, should you ever wish to securely tie your device to an area. There's also a power supply cable input port.
One of the main uses of The Time Capsule is it's usability and integration with Mac OS X Leopard's impressive "Time Machine" application, which was one of my main purposes for purchasing this wonderful unit. Time Machine is the breakthrough automatic backup that's built right into Mac OS X Leopard. It keeps an up-to-date copy of everything on your Mac - digital photographs, music, movies and documents. Your backups appear in a visual screenshot arrangement, similar to that of CoverFlow, allowing you to simply scroll through whatever you previously done on your Mac; wherever it be deleting, renaming or moving a file, or even deleting a contact from your Address Book. You can view a interactive screenshot of how exactly how your computer looked at a specific date and time, and edit any unwanted changes. Every hour, every day, an incremental backup is produced. It's very easy and intuitive to go back a week or so and restore a file which you didn't mean to delete. If you'd like to learn more about Time Machine and it's integration with Time Capsule, check out the details over at Apple's official website: http://www.apple.com/uk/macosx/features/timemachine.html
Time Capsule is also compatible with any PC's, however, they must be running Windows XP (Service Pack 2), or Vista. Also note that the "Time Machine" functionality is not available for Windows machines, as it's an exclusive application designed for Mac OS X Leopard. High-speed wireless data transfer and backup is compatible and available on any machine with the minimum requirements and installation of Bonjour, which can be viewed over at Time Capsule's official specifications page at Apple: http://www.apple.com/uk/timecapsule/specs.html.
Setting up your Capsule is easy! (For me, anyway). When I first plugged in my unit to my internet connection, I simply opened AirPort Utility and followed the on-screen instructions. It's as easy to set-up and use a printer too, Bonjour does it all for you.
You can purchase the Time Capsule back-up drive from Apple's Online Store or various online outlets and market resellers. The suggested retail price is standard almost everywhere, with a few exceptions. If you're not comfortable with The Time Capsule's current pricing, I recommend checking out eBay for a used unit.
I personally feel that this product is nearly perfect. I have had no problems with the unit, apart from one time when I thought it had a fault due to sluggish transfers, but it was my ISP's side.
Overall, it's simple and effortless way to backup all your important documents and memories. I'd definitely recommend it.
Thank you for reading my review. Feel free to comment and rate at your leisure.
Apple always seem to innovate, with ultra-cool new products. Their launch of the Time Capsule amazed me. It seemed so call. Answered what I really needed in a device (with one exception) and was one of the few products that I actually pre-ordered and had the patience to wait for its arrival.
My Time Capsule cost me £329 for the 1TB (Terrabyte) version, though there is also a lower capacity version offering 500GB for £199. This slimline box not only looks superb in its gloss white shell, but offers some superb functionality too.
Around the back you get a Gigabit Ethernet WAN port on the back. This connects to your ADSL or cable modem, your connection to the internet. You get three Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports. These can be used for connecting other computers to, or perhaps an network printer or any network capable device. There is also a USB 2 port, for connecting a regular printer or an extra hard drive. The power cable also connects around the back and there is a security slot, should you wish to tie the deivce down to a desk.
Around the front is a single LED light, which shows the status of the device. Inside the tiny box of tricks you get the 1TB hard drive and wireless 802.11a/b/g/n connectivity.
The function of the box is to give you wireless access (or wired) to the internet and to the storage capacity of the internal hard drive. If you have an Apple computer, you can use their Time Machine software (built into the latest Leopard operating system). This enables you to automatically back up a single or multiple Macs to the Time Capsule. It is not just for Mac users though, any PC user using Windows XP (SP2) or Vista can also access the device and obviously store files on it.
That USB 2 port on the back also allows you to add extra storage. So if you run out there is the possibility of expansion. It can also be used to connect a supported printer, so you can print wirelessly too and share one printer between multiple computers. Wickedly useful.
That one exception that I mentioned at the beginning of my review. Well, I already use a router with modem built in. So this device is really being used as glorified network file storage. If only Apple would release a version with an ADSL modem built-in, now that would be superb. As it stands, it is still a very worthwhile product, and it works superbly. The 500GB version does seem better value though... you pay a big premium for the 1TB hard drive.