HP Mediasmart Server EX490 review

This HP NAS isn't a cheap piece of kit, but we think it's a winner, with its swappable hard drives, easy upgrades and solid construction Tested at £440.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

It isn't cheap, but this HP is a cracking NAS


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    swappable hard disks

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    four USB ports

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    easy upgrades

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    works with most devices


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    Not the cheapest

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This HP is a chunkier, more serious proposition than its rivals, and it works a treat.

The chassis is bigger, but it's far from huge, and it feels well-built. The reason for that extra girth becomes clear when you open the mesh ‘door' on the front of the unit: hidden within are four, easy-access hard drives.

Each of these has a capacity of 250GB, resulting in 1TB of useable storage space, or 500GB of ultra-safe data if you opt for a RAID 1 (backed-up) configuration.

These hard disks can be swapped for bigger drives. You could, if you so wished, put 1.5TB HDDs in each bay, giving you an impressively huge 6TB behemoth of a machine.

Even if you don't want to go that far, the upgrade and customisation options may still appeal.

There are four USB ports, which can be used to add external hard disks for backup or even more storage, or a printer that can then be shared across your network.

This NAS will work with anything
You can also install Logitech's Squeezebox Server software – and that completes the plays-with-everything package.

Whether it's Sonos, PS3, Xbox 360 or any other media streamer, the HP will almost certainly work with it.

The software can be used to automatically update the NAS, create and edit regular computer back-ups, and find and organise your media.

Add remote access via web browser and iPhone/Touch (courtesy of a free app), and you've got a complete package. The HP's not cheap, but it is clever.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test