Being a new name into a particular market segment is not always going to be easy for any vendor, but thankfully Asustor have got the association with Asus, who we all know are one of the biggest names in the motherboard and GPU sectors. Coming in with such a strong product in the mid-range group, Asustor are looking like they have exactly what it takes to take on the big guns.
Design wise, four bay NAS’ generically are going to have a close resemblance to each other in basic system layouts, but there is something about the finer points in the units design that stand out for me. The drive trays for example with the smooth curves and the extra large buttons beside the LCD stand out for me and thus it would blend in to a home or office environment wit h today’s modern design principles.
The GUI also is very impressive. I love the use of application tiles and pages that different management areas and applications can be grouped on to. In the current era where the number of user of smart phones is booming, the ‘at home’ feeling of an icon based interface is going to be far more welcome than some may imagine. Another thing that is also very welcome to see is the task-bar style section at the top of the GUI that allows for open windows to be quickly changed between, making management so much more fluid.
Before I move on to the performance, there is one other little feature that I feel is a little understated within this range of systems. For those of use out there that have a computer in our homes, particularly the bedroom or even the living room, at night having a series of bright lights flashing away at you can be rather distracting and this is where the night mode comes into play. Through the GUI, all the LEDs on the front of the NAS can be set to turn off during the twilight hours or even manually. As simple as this sounds, this option simply turns all the activity LEDs off, whilst behind the scenes the AS-604T continues to hum away doing what it does best – serving data.
Performance is another area where Asustor have got off to a great start. Looking over the performance figures, particularly within the HD Video Record test where the AS-604T came close on a couple of occasions to topping out the LAN connection with as much bandwidth as is theoretically possible. Throughout the remainder of the test areas and through all the RAID configurations, the AS-604T gave some impressive figures that show they are just as good as the other leading brands out there.
When it comes round the price, this is the be all and end all for NAS sales, the system may have top end performance, but if the price is not right, then the sales just not going to happen. At a shade over £500 the AS-604T is in the midst of similarly spec’d models from other vendors, giving it a highly competitive price tag.
Bottom line: Being a newcomer to a market sector is not always going to be plain sailing for everyone, but with the knowledge on product design and innovation from Asus behind them, Asustor have made a huge impact within the NAS playing fields with the AS-604T.