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Buffalo TeraStation 5210DN review: An extremely fast NAS

Buffalo TeraStation 5210DN review
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
627
inc VAT

A great NAS for business storage and backup, but it’s limited elsewhere

Pros 
Very fast
Perfect for simple business storage
Cons 
Tricky to set up
No apps
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Make no mistake: this NAS means business. Relatively compact but impressively heavy, the 5210DN looks purpose-built for the corporate data centre, with the two drive bays concealed beneath a locking panel complete with a tough hexagonal grille. There’s an enormous 8cm fan at the back of the unit, and this kicks in when the appliance is turned on with a ferocious roar. It’s much quieter in general operation, but still far from the most unobtrusive unit. You can also only buy it with drives preinstalled, but you can still replace the drives yourself.

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It’s not the easiest NAS to set up and configure. Forget automatic discovery – you have to browse to a device-specific URL and download Buffalo’s NAS Navigator utility. You use this to discover your NAS and configure basic settings or map network shares, then use the web-based configuration panel for more in-depth work. 

The user interface isn’t that friendly, either, but then again this isn’t the kind of NAS that rewards any tinkering. There are no apps as such, just features to sync folders on the NAS with Dropbox folders, or back up files and folders to Amazon S3. Dropbox users definitely get the better deal, with options to encrypt files in transit, create share links and schedule synchronisation. And while the 5210DN was picked up as a media server by a Windows laptop and an Android phone running VLC, it doesn’t have any media server capabilities as such. It’s an appliance for centralised file storage, sharing and backup – and that’s about it. 

Buffalo TeraStation 5210DN review: Verdict

Why bother with the 5210DN, then? Well, it’s not alone in supporting iSCSI, Active Directory and virtualisation, but it’s VMware certified and covered by a three-year warranty with 24-hour hard disk replacement. It also has 10 Gigabit Ethernet built in, with a single 10GbE port alongside two Gigabit Ethernet ports with link aggregation.

Most importantly, it’s extremely fast. Its CrystalDiskMark scores were underwhelming, but the TeraStation 5210DN was consistently speedy in our file-transfer tests, both for sustained high-speed transfers of large media files, and when we transferred large numbers of smaller files while streaming 4K video. It’s not a versatile, do-it-all NAS, but as a plug-in business storage solution, it makes a certain sense.