Netgear ReadyNAS RN214 review

A fine choice if you’re after a solid, robust NAS that’s easy to use while offering business-class features

Price
£267
  • Excellent management options; Easy setup and installation;
  • Performance leaves something to be desired;

A chunky, business-like four-bay NAS, the Netgear RN214 earns points straight away for ease of installation with drives fitting neatly into pull-out rails on the screw-less caddies, the process takes just a couple of minutes. The rest of the setup is no more challenging, with a web-based routine that signs you up to Netgear's ReadyCloud web portal for configuration.

Netgear's well-designed user interface encourages you to use the NAS much like a cloud storage service, partnered with a ReadyCloud app running on your PC or Mac. It's effective, with a Dropbox-like look and feel and rapid synchronisation of documents and media files.

The accompanying iOS and Android apps even allow for auto-uploads of photos and videos, just like OneDrive or Dropbox. However, if you prefer to map folders to network drives or use the built-in backup tools and Time Machine to keep your files safe, that's fine. There's even a dedicated button on the unit for one-touch backups.

That's the basic applications covered, but this NAS isn't short on options for expert users. The firmware provides easy access to status panels, power options and management features, while you can install a wide range of third-party add-ons, including WordPress, Joomla, a selection of torrent clients and the Plex media server. The built-in DLNA media features work smoothly, both with mobile and PC-based clients, and there's a nice balance here between comprehensive features and overall ease of use.

This is a solid, quiet and thoroughly robust NAS, with three USB 3 ports and one eSATA port for running external drives or easy backup, plus dual Gigabit Ethernet ports for link aggregation. Its only serious problem is performance. Read speeds are actually pretty good, but write speeds never quite breached the 100MB/sec barrier.

While the quad-core ARM Cortex A15 processor isn't slow, it couldn't motor through our small files test with the same pace as the Celeron processors in the Qnap and Asustor devices. Performance isn't the be-all and end-all, though, and it's still worth considering the Netgear if ease of management and business features are your main priority.

This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 261.

Verdict

It's not quite as quick as some rivals but performance isn’t the be-all and end-all, and it’s still worth considering the Netgear if ease of management and business features are your main priority.

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