In the US, the AS-302T is available for around $329.99 over at Amazon.com, leaving it in a competitive position in the market considering the feature set that it has on offer. In the UK this system can be had for a more competitive price of£250-260 from the likes of Overclockers UK and Scan Computers
When we look at the number of NAS options on the market that offer up the ideal solution for media playback, it’s only when we dig in a little deeper that we find that a fair number of these lacking in the ability to play media content straight from the system to a TV without the need for a third-party system. To me this kind of defeats the object of having a NAS dubbed as the ideal solution for home entertainment and media playback. After all this would constitute to the most basic media viewing method over say streaming to a mobile device.
Thankfully though, the AS-302T does tick all the boxes when it comes to bringing you the whole media and home entertainment package. With the ability to connect a TV or other display directly to the NAS via HDMI and through the use of a media front end such as XMBC, Asustor have hit the nail right on the head here. The media front end is customisable by the user through a choice of media playback applications that are available in the app centre and through the use of a mouse / keyboard combo or the optional IR remote control, watching films if of little fuss.
Considering Asustor intend for this system to be used as a media centre-esq device, this point being made clear by the inclusion of the remote, I am surprised to see that a HDMI cable nor batteries for the remote are included in the box. Thankfully both of these items are cheap to pick up separately, but at the same time its going to cost a lot to include these basic accessories in the box all the same.
As far as performance is concerned, the dual core Atom SoC is no slouch for a 2-bay system. Topping out at 116MB/s on the write side and 113.3MB/s on the read side of things, for the money, you really can’t go far wrong. Pair the speeds and specifications with a very user-friendly GUI and what we find here is an ideal package for the first time NAS user who wants a system that is easy to work with and one that also offers up that little bit extra with its media centre capabilities. I’ll also point out that if you already have another NAS or other network storage device already setup within your network, then these sources can be linked in to the media front end of XMBC making it even easier to get access to your media content wherever it is stored on the network.
- Well known manufacturer
- Intuitive GUI
- Good level of performance for the price
- Simple, no thrills specification
- No HDMI cable included for media playback
“With media playback functionality becoming more of a necessity in the home environment, it is surprising to see that many ‘media’ orientated NAS options don’t include playback functionality through a HDMI output and front end application. The AS-302T however is a great example of an affordable 2-bay system that DOES provide this and with a great user experience to go alongside.”
Thanks to Asustor for providing us with this review sample.