Netgear ReadyNAS 422 review: Slick, quick and powerful
A strong, almost stylish performer with useful cloud-sync features
It's not often you find a NAS that's eye-catching - the best you can usually hope for is discrete -- but the ReadyNAS 422 makes a bigger first impression than most. It's larger and heftier than your usual 2-bay NAS with a bright two-line LED display, but it's the cross-shaped layout of cursor controls which dominate the flap at the front of the device.
The display provides useful info and comes in handy if you need to reset the appliance, and underneath the flap you'll find the drive bays, featuring ingenious tool-less caddies that make fitting disks easy (although 2.5in drives will need to be screwed in). The overall build is well-thought-out and reassuringly robust.
Sadly, you can't use the onboard controls to initialise the NAS. Instead you have to use an online portal to find the NAS and set up your ReadyCloud account before going into the browser-based UI to configure the RAID and setup folders. The UI itself keeps things simple, focusing on storage and backup over the more esoteric features championed by other NAS drives.
Make your way to the admin page, however, and you'll still find a good selection of media servers and torrent clients, plus tools to run Drupal or Joomla CMS services on the NAS. There's also ReadyNAS Surveillance, albeit with a stingy allocation of two camera-licences as standard. It's a media server, not a player, and while HD video, photos and music all streamed perfectly to our test laptop, Android phone and Samsung Smart TV, 4K video didn't play without some stuttering.
But cloud-style storage is where the ReadyNAS is strongest. While it doesn't have the fastest CPU or the most RAM, it's still super-speedy, with good sustained read and write speeds to cover larger media files, along with excellent results in our smaller file backup test and our multitasking test.
Thanks to this, Netgear's ReadyCloud web portal and app offers a Dropbox-like experience through the NAS; slick, quick and with options to back up your photos or access files through the ReadyCloud mobile app. With power consumption of just 18.3W when pushed and 16.2W when idle, it's not too expensive to keep running all day, either.
This is a pricey two-bay NAS when set against the competition, but you can buy it with two 2TB drives already fitted for little more than the barebones enclosure. If you don't want to fit your own drives and ease-of-use matters more than features, this could still be the NAS for you.
Ease-of-use and a well-rounded set of essential features make the Netgear ReadyNAS 422 a good first NAS appliance for small businesses who want cloud-like syncing features
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