We could wrap this review in a sentence if need be: the My Book Live is a baby network-attached storage (NAS). But perhaps this wouldn't do it justice.
The hunk of hard plastic we received contained a 2TB desktop drive, connected to a logic board no doubt running on some form of embedded Linux, which in turn was connected to a gigabit Ethernet port. There's a single LED on the front of the box that changes colour depending on the status of the Live, although you'll find yourself digging through the manual to determine what colour means what.
Now usually when such things are connected to gigabit ports, they perform about as adequately as a mariachi band that's been set on fire. Thankfully, Western Digital has imbued the My Book Live with some sort of mojo juice, as it sustained around 96MBps read speeds. The 45MBps sustained write speeds may not sound so hot by comparison, but for something of this physical size the speeds the Live attains are rather impressive.
Western Digital has also put a lot of time into the look of the web user interface (UI), which by NAS standards is gorgeous. It's also incredibly slow at loading pages, and we can only surmise that although the Live has clearly been optimised for sequential throughput, it hasn't been for its in-built web server.
Options are limited compared to a full-blown NAS, but there are still some surprising entries, like the in-built Twonky Media Server for one. It also has iTunes and FTP servers, you can add additional share folders, manage users (but not groups), and set the time out before the hard drive goes idle.
You can also download an iPhone or Android app called WD Photos, although this requires you to sign up to MioNet. It's as simple as the name implies, allowing you to view photos on the Live, share them or order them in a slideshow. Disappointingly, there's no way to simply access the unit over the local network from the phone, unless you have an SMB browser and hit up the IP directly.
The non-user serviceable and single drive nature means it's not bullet proof, but the Western Digital My Book Live is a simple, well-performing solution for those who don't want to be overwhelmed by a NAS.