Linksys by Cisco Media Hub
Summary and Conclusion
Unfortunately, the feature that makes the Linksys by Cisco Media Hub unique is also its biggest detriment. If you remove the device's Media Browser interface from the equation, however, then the Linksys by Cisco Media Hub is a simple, capable NAS device with very good performance--with the significant caveat that you won't see that performance whenever the device is busy rebuilding its database--which we found was a frequent occurrence.
It's also a shame that media kept disappearing from the Media Browser's interface, as it is intuitive and easy to navigate. But no matter how easy it is use, if the media you are looking to access is not there, then that simplicity is utterly wasted. This is why we recommend that you skip using the device's Media Browser interface altogether and instead use other locally-installed apps, such as iTunes and Picassa, to access the media on the device. Taking this approach, however, doesn't help you when you want to access the device remotely over the Internet, when you have no choice but to use the Media Browser interface which relies on the device's flaky media database capabilities. Linksys is working on the issue, however, so hopefully it will be addressed with a firmware update at some point in the future.
We also found the Linksys by Cisco Media Hub's $349.99 price tag to be high when compared to other 500GB NAS devices--which often sell for more than half what the Linksys by Cisco Media Hub costs. We were hoping that this was just an inflated MSRP to make the actual street price seem like a great deal, but this was not the case. The vast majority of vendors we found selling the Linksys by Cisco Media Hub, were selling it for the MSRP or even higher. For roughly the same amount of money, you can find the much-more capable, Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition with up to 2TB of storage capacity, which we recently bestowed with a HotHardware Editor's Choice award. Weighing all the factors, we find it difficult to recommend the Linksys by Cisco Media Hub as a NAS solution--there are better, more capable options out there, for a lot less money.