Sunday, 11 July 2010

IOCELL NETDISK 351UNE review

Visits: 1175, Print this page:

VERDICT: It's a basic NAS, but it's still a great buy thanks to its simple configuration, fast performance and low price.

Most network attached storage (NAS) devices need to be configured before they can be used. Although most NAS web management interfaces are straightforward, they can be daunting and time-consuming if you're a network storage novice. IOCELL promises that the NETDISK 351UNE is so simple to set up that it takes mere minutes.

The first job is to fit a SATA disk, as the NETDISK 351UNE is just an enclosure. This is straightforward, although you will need a screwdriver and a steady hand. Once done, instead of a web configuration interface, like almost all other NAS devices, a driver needs to be installed on your computer before you can access the NETDISK's shared storage.

This could be inconvenient if you have a lot of computers on your network but shouldn't be a problem for most home networks. Windows sees the NETDISK as if it were a directly-connected USB disk, so there's no need to type in an IP address or map shared folders to drive letters.

We've been disappointed with the performance of previous driver-dependent NAS devices (known as NDAS devices), but the NETDISK was remarkably fast in our file transfer benchmarks when fitted with a 750GB Samsung SpinPoint F1 DT.

Large files were copied at an overall speed of 38.8MB/s and small files were copied at an average speed of 26.1MB/s, making it one of the fastest NAS devices we've seen at this price. It can also be connected directly to your computer over USB or eSATA where its performance was in line with what we'd expect.

Unfortunately, the NETDISK doesn't have any of the extra features we've come to expect from a NAS, such as a printer or streaming media server. It even lacks basic security features, such as the ability to create password-protected user accounts, although this may not be a concern for the small households the NETDISK is aimed at.

If you need an inexpensive NAS enclosure with better security and lots of well-designed, extra features then the Synology DS110j is our recommendation. For simpler needs though, IOCELL's NETDISK is a great choice.

Expert Reviews, By Alan Lu, 11 Jul 2010