What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Mon, 29 Mar 2010, 3:00pm

Netgear Stora

Tested at £190
80100
4

Despite some foibles, we like this nippy little Netgear

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For

  • Streamer compatability is good
  • easy installation
  • good value for storage and price

Against

  • Premium services aren'
  • t free
  • MP3-only music
  • single USB drive

NAS devices aren't renowned for being stylish, but the cute Netgear Stora is.

It's great value, too, for storage and price. Handily, its 1TB comes on a single hard disk, but there is a spare bay so you can add a second drive to double capacity orutilise RAID 1 backup.

Streamer compatibility is good, too. Squeezebox is a no-go, but everything else, from Xbox 360 to Sonos, works right from the box.

Installing the Stora on your network is a doddle, thanks to clear software: if you want to customise settings after the initial install, the web browser menus are great.

It's not all good news, though. This is the second NAS we've seen with only a single USB.

Unlike the class-leaders, the Netgear's is located on the front, making it handy for quickly copying data off a memory stick, but rather untidy if you want to add a USB hard drive or printer.

‘Premium' services cost more
It's also worth pointing out that Netgear has seen fit to charge for some services that its rivals offer for free.

Remote access from a computer or mobile phone, a CoolIris picture wall, automatic Flickr updating, extra user accounts, and RSS functionality are all considered to be ‘Premium' services, and will set you back around $20 a year.

That may not be a great deal to pay, and you do get a free 30-day trial to decide if it's worthwhile for you, but when others offer similar features up-front, it's a fairly tough sell.

Also, although that web browser is nice to look at and easy to navigate, the embedded media player has some limitations, such as MP3-only music.

Could that fee not stretch to greater format support as well?

Having said all that, the Netgear's 1TB of storage, expandability and compatibility at a very competitive price still make it a tempting option.

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