Asustor AS6202T review

Blistering speeds, excellent media features and flashing lights mark the AS6202T out from the crowd

Price
£278
  • Excellent app library; Great expansion options; LEDs absolutely everywhere;
  • No dedicated server app or client software for cloud syncing; Sound isolation isn't perfect;

If we judged NAS units solely by the number of lights and ports, this would be a winner. It's festooned with blue and green LED indicators on the front panel and drive bays, and three USB 3, two USB 2 and two eSATA ports offer great expansion choices.

The hot-swappable drives screw into two slide-out caddies, which click back into place with ease. Sound isolation could be better, though, with some clicking from the drives carrying through the chassis. Software setup and configuration involves visiting the Asustor website and downloading the Control Centre utility, but once installed finding and initialising the drive won't take long, with the option to choose between RAID0 and RAID1.

Those looking for a NAS for home entertainment will be even more interested by the HDMI 1.4b port and optical digital output; the AS6202T has everything you need to be both media server and media player.

Media features are this NAS's biggest strength, with the option to install Plex on top of the integrated DLNA and iTunes servers plus the Kodi media player - or Asustor's own SoundsGood and LooksGood players. With its intuitive interface, Kodi is particularly effective if you plan to hook the AS6202T up to your TV, and the NAS has built-in hardware transcoding support.

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Asustor now rivals Synology when it comes to apps, with BitTorrent and FTP clients, IP camera surveillance, email and VPN servers and even virtualisation through VirtualBox. The interface has an old-school feel but the control panels and menus are structured sensibly and you can use Asustor's AiMaster mobile app to handle most basic tasks. The lack of Dropbox-like synchronisation features is the only weakness. You can install OwnCloud to set up a personal cloud, but there's no dedicated server app or client software.

With dual Gigabit Ethernet ports for link-bonding, a 1.6GHz quad-core Celeron processor and 4GB of RAM, it's no surprise the AS6202T can handle heavy workloads while still keeping power demands low. Both write speeds and read speeds went above 100MB/sec when copying large 4K video files, and while the Asustor took more time with smaller files, it's still no slouch. The Qnap TS-451+ edges it on speed and versatility, but the AS6202T is a credible rival.

This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 261.

Verdict

It's no surprise the Asustor AS6202T can handle heavy workloads while still keeping power demands low. The Qnap TS-451+ edges it on speed and versatility, but the AS6202T is a credible rival.

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