Netgear ReadyNAS RN214
An easy-to-use mid-range performer.
With a hard black box and LCD display up front, the Netgear is a good looking device, and its easy installation and setup make it a top pick for a lot of users. Its supporting mobile and desktop apps are impressive and the tabbed admin interface will be a lot less scary for a lot of users than the virtual desktop-style.
Most NASes in this price range use x86 processors, which have better application compatibility and generally better performance. On the other hand, Netgear is sticking with ARM, which might limit the availability of some third-party apps. In terms of raw disk performance, it did OK, but fell down a little in the write tests. Otherwise the hardware is solid, with twin Ethernet ports supporting load balancing, USB 3.0 and an eSATA port for expanding the number of drives.
Netgear’s admin interface is simple and straightforward. It’s a tabbed affair, designed for easy access but with more limited options than you’ll find in Asustor or Synology. There are thirdparty apps that can be installed, and Netgear is popular enough that many software developers offer manual downloads. In general, you won’t find as many third-party apps as you will on QNAP, Synology or Asustor, but there’s more than you’ll have available on Seagate or WD.
On top of that, the mobile and desktop apps are very good. The backup apps in particular make it simple to use the ReadyNAS as a backup target, while media apps for mobile make streaming easy.