Bought one of these little Nas boxes recently and paired it up with a 2TB Caviar Green Western Digital Drive.
Build Quality 5/5: Very impressed with the product, great design. Durable full metal construction, none of this plastic rubbish. Drive bays have a solid loading mechanism and the blue illumination of the power and drive lights fits in perfectly with the rest of my equipment. I personally like the look and style.
Hardware 5/5: Processor low power consumption, 256Mb onboard ram. Cooling fan is quiet. With the drive I chose, its low power consumption and very quiet. There is a gigabit ethernet interface and I get 40Meg/s write and 60Meg/s reads. It is worthwhile if you are getting low transfer rates checking you have the correct LAN cabling and your router/switches are Gigabit interface. I can quite happily stream 2/3 videos and 2 mp3 streams at the same time with no problems on this box. I orginally chose this box as didn't want the expense of a full pc turned on 24/7 and this box is perfect for that.
There are also 2 usb 2 ports and a usb 3 port. These can be configured to plug a flash drive into / portable hard drive, click the backup button and transfer all the files onto the NAS. Really handy feature.
Software 3/5: This is the main failing block of this device. I'm a qualified network engineer and even I found the bundled software confusing at first. I had a good idea of how I wanted to configure this device and how I wanted to use it but took me a little to while to navigate and work out the menus that are less than intuitive. I would be concerned about how well someone less technical would cope and would imagine that it could cause frustration for a lot of people.
That being said when you do learn your way round the software you discover how flexible this box is. I connect to it with a phone, windows pc, linux pc and I also use ftp to access it through the internet from anywhere even on my phone. The software although quirky is rock stable. There are a few gimiky addons like the genie apps and add-ons but I have disabled these. The ReadyDLNA software is appalling too, virtually unusable on my phone. ReadyDLNA is about as much use as a chocolate teapot.
My recommendation if you intend to connect to this device with your phone would be to get yourself a static ip / dyndns and port forward on your router, there are a lot of guides on the internet on how to do this. I found DroidFtp is the only ftp client on my phone that established a connection properly. Transfer rates to your phone will be very much based on your internet upload speed so bear this in mind. 8Mb broadband does not a streaming service make :)
The security features are good, enabling you to setup user accounts and restrict access to resources on a read / write / access basis. You can also enable different protocols and users on different shares (folders). I for example have one user that can access one share over ftp (from phone) and only view/download files (not delete) and does not have access to other shares, however I have full access.
My main frustration with the software is Netgear's more expensive models have better software and this seems like a bit of a kick in the teeth. I can't imagine that it would have been that much hassle to have offered enterprise style software on this device particularly as it is well aimed for not just home users but small businesses.
Summary: Perfect device for my needs, once configured software isn't really a concern. Solid, stable and good performance. Happy with my purchase.
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