Advanced network disk at a great price
Zyxel's low-cost network hard disk sold, NSA310, is sold either empty or with a 2TB (2,000GB) hard disk installed (an extra £80). We looked at the diskless version and installed our own hard disk to see how easy it was.
The front panel is fixed with a single screw, and inside is the slot for the hard disk. No screws are needed, but you will need to ensure the hard disk is a standard thickness (2.5cm) as thinner models will not be held securely, and it must be a 3.5in-width disk, not the laptop-size 2.5in type. It accepts the latest 3TB hard disks and you can even plug in an external eSata disk to create a Raid array to protect data should the internal disk fail.
The NSA310 has two USB ports for sharing USB storage devices or printers, and a button on the front synchronises the contents of a plugged-in disk with a folder on the internal disk.
An excellent wizard guided us through the setup procedure, which took only a few minutes before the NSA310 was up and running. A small widget called Zpilot is installed – dragging files onto this copies them to the NSA310 and automatically sorts media files into the appropriate folders.
A built-in web media player can be accessed by typing in the NSA310's IP address into a web browser (either Windows Media Player or VLC plug-ins need to be installed – instructions are displayed if they are not). You can also use any software (such as Windows Media Player) or hardware that supports the DLNA streaming standard and it can even stream high-definition video if your network is fast enough.
In the administrator settings menu (accessed through an icon on the main player web page) lots of advanced features are available. Two examples are the service that can download files from the internet even when the PC is turned off, and the automatic Flickr and Youtube uploader.
Other applications, such as a photo gallery, Wordpress blog publishing tool and a backup utility, are available as free downloadable ‘packages'.
It operates almost silently (there's a small rear fan), and considering the price the Zyxel NSA310 is an impressively capable device that works well.
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A very capable network hard disk that's good value too
Low price; lots of advanced features; easy to setup and use; excellent user guide
Only takes 3.5in disks; can only stand vertically
Phone 0118 912 1700
£60 (no hard disk; £140 for 2TB model)
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