LaCie Network Space2 1TB review
LaCie's 1TB Network Space2 has an attractive glossy black finish. You'll need to ensure it gets plenty of ventilation – its underside can become alarmingly hot.
Configuring the Network Space2 is straightforward thanks to its simple discovery utility and slick web management interface. The home page consists of several panels showing information such as the current number of users logged in and the current IP address – these can be rearranged by dragging and dropping to create a slightly more customised homepage.
Unusually for a modern NAS, the Network Space2 can be connected to a computer directly via USB instead of Ethernet. The web interface insists on splitting the available storage space into two partitions though – one for network use and the other for USB use. Plus, once you've set the size of the two partitions, they can't be changed. Even more annoyingly, the USB partition isn't visible when the Space2 is connected to a network and vice-versa so this is no reason to buy it.
Creating new user accounts is a quick and simple process. They can't be organised into groups for easier administration, but this is unlikely to be a huge problem since the Network Space2 is aimed at small groups of users. Each user gets a private folder and access to a common, public folder by default. Bizarrely, extra top-level shared folders can't be created. This may suit some, but we'd prefer the flexibility to create more shared folders as necessary.
We had no trouble using the Network Space2 as an UPnP media server and as an iTunes music server. Using it to share USB peripherals across our network was more error-prone though. It was very picky, refusing to recognise some USB hard disks and printers but working fine with others. When it does recognise a printer, we had no problems printing. It can also be set to automatically back up the contents of a USB disk when it's plugged in to the front USB port.
The Network Space2 can also download files over BitTorrent or from a website without the aid of a computer. The download manager is part of the overall web administration interface though, so you can't give access to others without also letting them loose with all the other settings.
The Network Space2 can be used as a FTP server, so shared files can be accessed remotely from another internet-connected computer. There's also DynamicDNS support, allowing easy access via a domain name even if your ISP provides a dynamic IP address. This doesn't mean you have to leave the Network Space2 on all the time though, wasting electricity. It can be scheduled to turn on and off, but you can't schedule different times for different days.
The Network Space2 is reasonably quick at copying files. Large files were written at just under 19MB/s, but speeds jumped to a much faster 35.7MB/s when reading them. Small files were written at 12.3MB/s and read at 19.4MB/s. It's not the fastest NAS we've seen, but it's still quick.
At a low 11p per gigabyte, LaCie's Network Space2 is an inexpensive 1TB NAS. It's fairly quick and has some useful features, although some, especially the shared folder restrictions and picky USB peripheral support, need improvement. If you can live with these issues, it's a good-value NAS.
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