Price When Reviewed: £102
Pros: Plenty of shared network storage at a competitive price
Cons: No USB port for adding extra hard disk space; documentation could be improved for non-technical users; doesn’t work with Apple’s Time Machine software.
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There’s nothing fancy about Freecom’s new Network Storage Center, but it’s a good option if you just want a low-cost NAS drive that will allow you to share hard disk space with other people on your home or office network.
Our review unit was the smallest in the range. However, there are other models available, including a 2TB model that – at just £190 – is one of the cheapest currently available.
There’s just a single Gigabit Ethernet port on the back of the drive, with no added extras such as a USB port for adding extra hard disk space. It took 21 minutes to complete our 10GB backup test, which was marginally slower the 20-minute average, but not a major weakness.
We did experience a minor hiccup when first installing the Storage Center. Freecom includes a program called Network Storage Assistant that allows you to quickly connect to the drive and display its main Public folder on your desktop. This program also allows you to enter a more advanced web browser interface that provides additional options such as setting up personal folders for individual users.
But the drive didn’t remain mounted when we restarted our test Mac, and it took us a while to figure out how to keep the drive connected to the computer at all times. In this respect, the manual could provide clearer information on details like this for first-time users who haven’t set up a NAS drive before.
One niggle is that the Network Storage Center refused to work with Time Machine, but otherwise it still works well as a shared network drive that will provide affordable storage for multiple users.
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