UK Price (as reviewed) £201.63
US Price (as reviewed) $242.99
The LG N2B1D goes one step further than most other NAS boxes we've reviewed as it includes a memory card reader and a Blu-ray writer. Given that these components together retail for well over £100, the fact that the N2B1D costs just £200 is quite a commercial feat. Despite having an 80mm cooling fan – the largest we've seen – it’s still fairly loud though and, with a standard 5.25in optical drive included, it’s also one of the largest NAS boxes we've seen too.
Click to enlarge
Turning it on for the first time requires a combination of button pressing so the N2B1D can configure itself. Setup takes around ten minutes, during which time it formats the hard disk and handily places a shortcut to the web interface on the desktop. Happily, the web interface is clear and well laid out, and the bright LED display on the front panel dims after a few minutes so as not to annoy you if it’s beneath your TV. The one-touch backup is compatible with USB sticks, flash cards and optical drives, but it’s tricky to use, so we found it easier to make backups via the web interface.
The N2B1D’s optical drive supports iSCSI, allowing you to use the drive as a Blu-ray writer on your PC. This means that you can stream Blu-ray and DVD movies, as well as using the N2B1D to back up your data to writable DVDs and Blu-ray discs from any PC connected to the network although there are obviously limitations about doing this from more than one PC at the same time. As Blu-ray film bit rates peak at around 7MB/sec (50Mb/sec), most home networks should be fast enough. The N2B1D drew 33W from the wall – not a huge amount, but it’s still the highest of all the NAS boxes on test.
User Interface - Click to enlarge
The N2B1D is bundled with CyberLink Blu-ray software for reading and writing discs. Also included is Comnso backup – a program allowing for automatic backups between PCs and the N2B1D. There’s a simple Bit-Torrent client, along with support for FTP, print and iTunes servers – but we couldn’t get the latter to work. Overall, the N2B1D is reasonably fast and the Blu-ray writer is a nice, if extravagant, inclusion.
Speed-wise the LG N2B1D put in a good show although it was actually slower than some other NAS boxes we've tested recently. However, it was streaks ahead of many others such as the ZyXEL NSA-220 Plus, Xtreamer eTRAYs and Icy Box IB-NAS3221. It managed a read speed in our small file test of 16MB/sec and write speed of 10MB/sec - not great (we've seen nearly double these speeds with other NAS boxes recently) but this was enough to put it in the middle of the field. In the large file test it performed better and managed a stonking read speed of 38.6MB/sec - normally enough to saturate even the fastest powerline adapters, while it managed a more modest write speed of 18.2MB/sec. See the speed test results page
for the full set of results.
If you like the look and hanker after the features of the N2B1D, there’s a similar version with a DVD drive available for around £140 – which is even better value for money. However, if you don’t want or need an optical drive in your NAS box then it might be worth holding off till you see what else we've tested recently as there are much faster and easier to use NAS boxes out there.
|Key specifications|| |
|Drive bays (hot swappable)||2 x 3.5in (Y)|
|Ports / other||10/100/1000 LAN, USB 2 / memory card reader, Blu-ray writer|
|Dimensions (mm) (W x D x H)||165 x 233 x 165|
|FTP server / print server / BitTorrent client||Y / Y / Y|
|Media Streaming support||iTunes, UPnP, DLNA|
|iSCSI||Y (optical drive only)|
|One touch backup / backup software||Y / Y|
|RAID modes supported||JBOD, 0, 1|
|Total storage capacity (all bays)||3TB|
|WiFi support via USB dongle (included)||N|
|Interface buttons||Power, one touch backup, mode select|
|External storage support||USB mass storage, memory card reader|
|Stated noise||Not stated|