By Cliff Joseph | on March 02, 2010
Company: NETGEAR International, Inc.
Pros: Versatile network storage device with spare drive bay; Time Machine compatibility and good Mac software.
Cons: Expensive; manual can be confusing; some features require additional subscription fee.
Netgear’s Stora isn’t the most elegant NAS drive, or the cheapest, but it does have some attractive features that will appeal to creatives.
Its chunky, cube-like design is down to the Stora having two separate drive bays, giving you the option of turning the Stora into a RAID drive by inserting a second hard disk and using it to create a mirror copy of the files on the original hard disk for extra security. There’s also a USB port on the front of the unit to connect an additional USB hard disk or share a printer on the network.
The RAID option will appeal creatives wanting to keep their files extra safe. Netgear’s Setup program is extremely easy to use, and provides step-by-step guidance for installation. After installation on a Mac, you’ll see a Stora icon in the Dock that provides easy access to the drive’s main features, or you can modify the Stora’s settings using a web browser interface.
There are some minor niggles, though. Performance was just below average, taking 21 minutes to complete our test. The confusing manual – not to mention its set of five separate desktop applications – meant that it took us a while to figure out how to do a number of tasks.
We were also disappointed to see that some of the more advanced features, such as the remote access function or uploading stored photos and files directly to the web, require an extra subscription that costs $19.99 [£12.50] a year.