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Acer Aspire easyStore H340-H review

Alan Lu
2 Apr 2010
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Acer Aspire easyStore H340-H
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
450
inc VAT

Despite a couple of flaws, Acer's Aspire easyStore is a fast, easy to configure and good-value network storage device.

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Specifications

4 disk bays, 3x 1TB storage supplied, 1x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports

Acer is better known for its laptops than its NAS devices, but the Aspire easyStore is the latest in the company's line of network storage devices running Microsoft's Windows Home Server (WHS).

It’s fitted with three 1TB disks mounted in disk trays, with space for a fourth disk. The slide-out trays are located behind the front door and the trays are screw-less, so adding or replacing a disk is painless. The only omission is the inability to lock the door to deter theft.

Due to a limitation in WHS, there's no RAID support. Folder duplication is a close equivalent to RAID 1 though – once enabled this automatically makes copies of selected folders from one disk onto another and this makes it more flexible than RAID 1. Plus, its performance copying large files is impressive with overall speeds of 37.3MB/s. Its small files performance isn't quite as exemplary, but it's still reasonably quick with write speeds of 10.2MB/s and read speeds of just under 15MB/s.

Configuring the easyStore is hassle-free thanks to the WHS Connector administration program. It even forces you to choose a strong administrator password consisting of numbers as well as lower and upper case letters. The tabbed, clearly labelled interface is straightforward and uncomplicated to use. Having to use a dedicated administration program may seem less flexible than a web management interface, but it's possible to administer the easyStore from any PC using the Remote Desktop Connection program included with most versions of Windows.

Chosen files on each of your networked computers can be backed up on a schedule. Individual backup schedules can't be set, though, so all your computers will be backed up at the same time. Another useful feature is the ability to access your files remotely via the internet using a web browser. For this to work, WHS Connector will automatically configure your router, but only if it supports UPnP port forwarding. If it doesn't, you'll have to make the settings manually.

The easyStore can also stream media files to a network media player or a PC running Windows Media Center. The contents of USB disks can be backed up automatically when plugged in. Oddly, USB printer sharing isn't supported although it's possible to enable this using an unsupported workaround.

Extra features can be added using plug-ins, although it's best not to go overboard and add loads of plug-ins though, as they're all added to a fixed-width toolbar which quickly becomes unwieldy if filled with anymore than a handful of plug-ins. Acer has even included a couple, one of which allows the easyStore to be used as an iTunes music server. The Lights Out plug-in is especially handy and could help save you money on your electricity bill. It improves upon the standard WHS power management features, allowing you to set multiple startup and shutdown times per day using a straightforward calendar interface rather than an abstract series of menus.

The easyStore's high price of £450 may be off-putting, but its competitive price per gigabyte of 15p makes it good value if you need lots of storage space. The lack of printer sharing is disappointing, but there's otherwise much to like - the simple configuration, easy disk installation, useful features and generally fast file copying performance. If you can afford it, it's an excellent NAS.

Basic Specifications

Price£450
Rating*****
AwardBest Buy

Storage

Capacity3x 1TB
Formatted capacity2793GB
Default file systemNTFS
Price per gigabyte£0.15
InterfaceSATA 300
3.5in drive bays4
Free 3.5in drive bays2
RAID modesnone

Interface

Ethernet ports1
USB direct access ports (front/rear)0/0
Other USB ports (front/rear)1/4
eSATA ports (front/rear)0/1
Other portsnone

Networking

Ethernet connection speed10/100/1000Mbit/s
Universal Plug and Play supportyes
UPnP media serveryes
iTunesyes
Print serverno
USB disk serveryes
Web serverno
FTP serverno
Protocols supportedTCP/IP, SMB/CIFS

Miscellaneous

Size212x200x222mm
Weight5.5kg
Vertical positioningno
Ethernet cable includedyes
Additional featuresremote access, power management
Power consumption idle35W
Power consumption active40W

Buying Information

Price£450
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.saveonlaptops.co.uk
Detailswww.acer.co.uk

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