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ASUSTOR AS7004T REVIEW (NAS)

ASUSTOR AS7004T REVIEW (NAS)

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ASUSTOR AS7004T REVIEW – The NAS

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ASUSTOR AS7004T REVIEW – Installation and Specification

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With our drive installed and the NAS connected to our network we launch the Control Centre application which is a free download from the support site. It launches and searches for compatible NAS devices and when appropriate launches the initialisation wizard for us.

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The main configuration steps for the AS7004T are performed in our browser and start with a simple question. Do we want to go with one click setup, or get a bit more in depth. The second option give us a little more control of the NAS configuration…

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…however all of the key options are available on the one click screen. The set-up assistant and PC/Mac applications are available from ASUSTOR.

ASUSTOR AS7004T REVIEW – The OS

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The OS used by the AS7004T, and all modern ASUSTOR devices, is ADM. Currently on version 2.3. Our experience with that OS begins on the login screen. On first boot we get a helpful wizard which explains some of the key features of the NAS and then where appropriate the NAS will prompt us about any patches for the OS.

From there we are in a standard OS experience with a set of shortcuts on the desktop, leading us to key features. A taskbar runs along the top of the screen and is the location where we find any minimised windows and then over on the right is a user menu with power options, quick access to settings and that sits next to the search bar.

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Running through some of the main functionality of the NAS we start with the applications available for it. These are accessed through “App Central”. A small number of apps are installed by default, such as Surveillance Centre which includes free camera IP licences and Download Centre which manages our downloads. Interestingly we also get an internet browser (Chrome) which is often lacking on NAS devices.

Other key apps include Storage Manager which allows us to manage our drives, Access Control which allows us to manage users  and Backup & Restore offering easy recovery for our systems in the event of failure.

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Settings takes us into a wide range of configuration for the NAS and then we have the media functionality. As well as supporting features such as iTunes server and a standard UPnP server we also have XBMC on this NAS. Currently it supports version 13.2 which has full support for 4K and 7.1 playback as well as control via remote or smartphone app.

Speaking of smartphone apps, ASUSTOR also provide AiMASTER which allows us to control our NAS from iPhone/iPAD or Android handset/tablet.

Anything else of note? Actually yes… the apps above are just the key functionality… looking through the massive list of software available for the AS7004T we have the likes of FTP manager, Dropbox, Google Drive, Boxee, Bit-Torrent, Avast Anti-virus, Spotify and many many more… including a Super Nintendo emulator!

ASUSTOR AS7004T REVIEW – User Experience and Conclusion

Starting with the build quality of the AS7004T we have a NAS from ASUSTOR which is very well put together. The metal body feels solid and the finish is very good. One thing which could be said about the NAS is that it isn’t particularly high style as far as the front panel goes, this is more a functional techy looking device than a sleek one. Not that this is a huge issue for most people but on future NAS units ASUSTOR could maybe provide a removeable front cover which gives people the option.

Would we change anything else? Not much. The OS while very good, could do with a few little tweaks or extra wizards to help novice users through the more advanced options but on the whole it is a very easy device to use.

Back to the design, there is plenty going on across the front panel with some useful status LEDs, the handy display and of course the always useful front USB 3.0 port which allows us quick and easy access to a high speed port. There is also plenty of connectivity round the back of the NAS with all the key ports offered, sometimes multiple times over. This allows us to expand our storage past the internal devices with ease. Clearly though the stand out ports are the HDMI and audio outs which make this one of the best network storage devices for media use.

Looking at the performance of the NAS the general OS use is super responsive thanks to the i3 CPU, as is media playback. Support for SMB 2.0 means our network performance is top notch and the ability to support RAID 0 (as well as 1,5,6 and 10) means we have some very fast copy speeds across the two GB LAN ports. ASUSTOR have a handy summary of that performance here. (Performance TAB)

Just to clarify, you can essentially see this NAS as a mini-pc as far as performance and functionality is concerned. That includes the media functionality… for example many other NAS units stream files to our TV, where we have to hope that the display supports the file format for playback etc. Here the OS/app handles the playback and the TV purely acts as the display, just as if we were playing a media file within Windows or OSX.

We also note the ability to upgrade our memory over time and add wi-fi or 10GB LAN card (some models) but on the upgrade front are most impressed by ASUSTOR’s claim of migration. If we outgrow the AS7004T and want to move to say, the AS7008T which is an 8bay model, we simply remove our drives, insert them into the new NAS and it is ready to go. That is a great feature.

Summary:
ASUSTOR have come a long way with their NAS devices. The AS7004T is an exceptional unit which offers fantastic performance, great features and plenty of future-proofing. A worthy winner of our Gold Award.

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Gold Award

About Author

Stuart Davidson

Stuart Davidson is Senior Editor at HardwareHeaven having joined the site in 2002.