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ioSafe N2 review

Kat Orphanides
16 Sep 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
491
inc VAT

This fire and waterproof NAS enclosure provides ultimate peace of mind for your most business-critical files

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Specifications

2 disk bays, N/A storage supplied, 1x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports

The ioSafe N2 is essentially a NAS enclosure built into a fire safe, able to protect your data against temperatures of up to 843 degrees centigrade for 30 minutes. It's also waterproof, to protect against flood damage. As long as it’s sealed properly, your hard disks will survive being fully submerged in fresh or salt water up to a depth of three metres for 72 hours.

ioSafe N2

The ioSafe N2 also has a Kensington security slot, so you can secure it to protect it against theft, although its 150x230x292mm size and 12.7kg weight should be a fair deterrent too. However, it's not really theft that this sturdy enclosure is built to withstand. The final key security feature is the $5000 (£3232) of guaranteed data recovery for your drives, no matter how your data was lost. You must register online to activate this feature.

The ioSafe N2’s front panel is a thick metal plate that you can open with a specially designed hex key. The key is designed to flex when you've screwed everything to the correct tightness, so even though you can use a standard hex key of the same size, you should hang on to it.

ioSafe N2

When the outer plate is removed, you can see the ceramic blocks that protect the ioSafe N2 against fire. At this point, you still can't reach the drive bays as there’s another seal to open, a metal block with rubber washers and seals at all joining points that ensures your drives are protected against water damage even if the NAS is submerged. Behind this are the drive bays in which you can mount 3 1/2in or 2 1/2in drives. The bays don’t have the anti-vibration grommets we're used to seeing on other high-end NAS devices, but they’re unnecessary as it's impossible to hear any trace of drive noise through the N2’s layers of metal and ceramic. Specially designed vents keep the N2 cool under normal operation without compromising its environmental protection.

ioSafe N2

Once you've fitted the drives and re-secured the NAS's external housing, all you have to do is power it up, plug it into your network, and use the Synology Finder application on the supplied CD to install the N2's operating system. The Finder identifies the N2 as a Synology DiskStation 213. Like the DS213, the N2 has a USB port and an SDXC card slot at the front, and two USB3 ports and a single Gigabit Ethernet port at the back.

The NAS has 512MB of DDR3 memory and a 2GHz Marvell Kirkwood MV6282 processor. It's not as powerful as the dual-core Atoms used in some high-end NAS devices we’ve seen, but it's powerful enough to produce fairly quick transfer speeds in our throughput tests and make the N2's web-based user interface feel quick and responsive. The user interface used is Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM), which is our favourite NAS operating system because of its clear icons and great online documentation. You can install lots of optional programs and services through it, and you can also create shortcuts on its home desktop page, quickly search for programs and settings and resize windows just like a regular desktop operating system.

Synology has just updated DSM to version 4.3, which adds a bit more polish to an already excellent user interface. New features include speed limit controls to throttle throughput speeds for specific users or groups, updates to the way its Cloud Station synchronisation handles changes to existing files and some extra features for its photo and video galleries.

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