The Asustor AS-202TE is a powerful and fast two-bay NAS, with a well-stocked app store and HDMI video output
Capacity: Bare drive, 3.5″ hard disk bays (free): 2(2), Networking: 1×10/100/1000, DLNA media server: Yes (optional install), Print server: Yes, Dimensions (WXHXD): 108×163.5x230mm, Weight: 1.87kg
The Asustor AS-202TE is a two-bay NAS for home and small home business use with a huge range of first- and third-party apps that can dramatically increase the ways in which it can be used. It comes as an empty enclosure, so you’ll need to install your own 3.5in hard disks, which are easy to fit into their respective bays using the supplied screws.
There are also two USB2 and two USB3 ports, one of which is placed at the front of the device for easy access. This port is also set up for one-touch backup, so you simply have to press a button and your NAS will either back up to the USB device, or the USB device will back up to the NAS (you can choose which way in settings).
Once the simple setup procedure has been completed, Asustor’s nicely designed user interface comes into play. It’s from here that you can truly tailor the device to whatever function you’re trying to use it for, be it a simple file share, media hub, print server or a security camera control centre.
The user interface looks and acts like a traditional desktop operating system in your web browser, with icons and tabbed windows. There is an extensive array of network, hardware and backup settings, which should suit most users. We did find the user interface just a little difficult to navigate, with tabs and submenus hidden within other menus; a simple map or diagram of the device’s capabilities would have been very useful. For instance, some network settings can be found in the Services window, while others are in the Settings or Storage Manager windows. It’s not as clean and simple as Synology’s DSM 5 operating system, but it’s not too far off.
If you’re new to the world of network storage, there are basic help files about every element of the interface, which are very useful when you’re just starting out. For users trying to begin more advanced projects, such as creating a web server or a media centre, there are more detailed tips and instructions both in the form of illustrated PDF documents and informative YouTube videos.
In order to get the most out of your NAS, you’ll need to quickly become acquainted to App Central, Asustor’s hub for applications. Installing any of these will take quite a long time, not least because downloading one application will in all likelihood require it to download multiple code libraries as well as the app itself. This is particularly true with the XBMC media centre application, which required the installation of five extra applications in order to work, and the download speed from Asustor’s servers is painfully slow.
^ Asustor’s App Central is one of the better-stocked NAS software stores
App Central has software made both by Asustor and third party firms. It’s great to see Dropbox in the store, as this lets you synchronise your cloud storage to your NAS; there are also apps for Google Drive and Box. You can also access your NAS remotely using various mobile and tablet apps, such as AiDownload and AiData, although these also require you to install software on your NAS, too.
The NAS could easily be used as a high-capacity lounge PC fit for watching movies and TV. This is because it has an HDMI port on the rear, meaning it’s able to run media centre applications and play videos natively, unlike many other NAS devices, which simply stream the data to your devices and leave them to do the rendering legwork.
You can also browse the web and navigate with a USB keyboard and mouse if you wish, although it’s quite a slow and juddery experience because the processor on board isn’t particularly powerful.
To use the NAS as a media player, you’ll need to download a media centre app, such as Plex or XBMC. You also get an infrared remote control, which is basic with very few buttons, but it works well. Media playback was mostly very smooth, although our Full-HD, high quality DivX test video was extremely stuttery. Full-HD Mpeg4 files played smoothly, however.
We were also able to stream high definition video over our network to three devices without any issues, which is unsurprising considering the AS-202TE’s excellent file transfer performance. In our large file transfer tests it was able to reach a sizzling 82MB/s write speed in RAID 0 and 73.5MB/s read speed. In RAID 1, read speed was a little slower at 59MB/s. For smaller files, the speed dropped off as we expected it to; 11.5MB/s for writing and 15.4MB/s for reading hundreds of small files is still a good result.
With this level of performance and ease of use overall, we have no problem recommending the Asustor AS-202TE as a backup, media or security device. The number of apps available in App Central is also very impressive and the HDMI output could be useful. The more expensive Synology DS415play is arguably better as a media server and it’s even quicker; for basic file sharing if you have less demanding needs, the LaCie 2Big NAS is a cheaper alternative.
|Default file system
|File attribute support
|Price per gigabyte
|Hard disk interface
|3.5″ hard disk bays (free)
|JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1
|Front USB ports
|Rear USB ports
|Universal Plug and Play
|DLNA media server
|Yes (optional install)
|USB disk server
|Mac file sharing
|Remote access, camera server, download manager, app store