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Asustor AS6302T review: Business performance without the price

A great mid-range 2-bay NAS appliance with some impressive talents

Price
£258
  • Outstanding write performance; Great cloud support; Good value
  • Setup is somewhat convoluted

It's tempting to see two-bay NAS as entry-level devices, but the AS6302T proves that this doesn't have to be the case. As well as an Intel Apollo Lake Celeron processor and 2GB of RAM (expandable to 8GB), it packs an impressive number of inputs and outputs: one USB-C and three USB 3 Type-A ports, a 4K-capable HDMI 2 output and S/PDIF. This enables the Asustor to double as both media server and player through the Asus Portal and ever-popular Kodi app.

It's a well-designed unit with a robust steel chassis and slide-out caddies, although the two drives have to be screwed into these. The flashing blue and green status LED bars on the front are a little exuberant, but can be toned down for use in the living room. It's also a frugal little beast, using around 14W while idle rising to just 18.2W when pushed. Plus, you can leave it hibernating at just 7.2W, and it'll kick into action when woken either on the LAN or through the web.

Getting the AS6302T up and running could be easier. While you're urged to go online for setup, this only prompts you to download the Asustor Control Centre app - at least this does a reasonable job of taking you through configuration.

The Linux-style UI lacks the modern feel of Qnap or Synology's, but we can't fault the apps and services. Media apps are obviously a focus, with Asus's own media server plus optional installs of Plex or Twonky, but you can also stream through Kodi or watch Amazon Prime Video when connected to a display through Asus Portal.

However, Asustor hasn't neglected more serious applications: there are tools for syncing folders with Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox; support for the SugarCRM and WorldCard Team contact management systems; not to mention support for the roll-your-own cloud service, OwnCloud.

What's more, the AS6302T can do a few things you might not expect, including running virtual servers through VirtualBox or a full Debian Linux desktop through the Linux Center app. Using the latter disables Kodi, but it runs smoothly on the Celeron CPU.

There's nothing entry-level about the Asustor's I/O performance. Its sustained read speeds aren't great but the write speeds hit the limits of Gigabit Ethernet, while it coped well with the smaller files in our more demanding multitasking test. If Asustor could just match its power and features with more polished hardware and a slicker user experience, the AS6302T would be a barnstormer of a 2-bay NAS. As it is, it still feels like a premium NAS without a premium price.

Verdict

If Asustor could just match its power and features with more polished hardware and a slicker user experience, the AS6302T would be a barnstormer of a 2-bay NAS. As it is, it still feels like a premium NAS without a premium price.

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