A secured storage device where you can store all of your data and can access it from anywhere, the idea seems great. Does it look familiar?

Online cloud storage is built on this concept. But, what about my own cloud if I want to host files locally and also want to access them from any device anywhere? Hence comes the NAS devices.

These devices works as your personal cloud. You do not need to pay anyone monthly/yearly for storage if you have a NAS.

More and more offices and personal users are getting used to NAS devices over time. It’s the freedom we all needed.

Here are some of the best Network Attached Storage (NAS) we have found in the market.

ImageNASDetails  Review
WD 4TB My Cloud Home Personal Cloud Western Digital My Cloud Home 4TB HDDBrand: Western Digital Store
Capacity: 4TB
Lan Port: 1
USB Port: 1
Up-gradable: No
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BUFFALO LinkStation BUFFALO LinkStationBrand: BUFFALO
Capacity: 8TB
Lan Port: 1
USB Port: 1
Up-gradable: Yes
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Asustor AS5202T Asustor AS5202TBrand: Asustor
Capacity: 4GB
Lan Port: 2
USB Port: 1+2
HDMI port: 1
Up-gradable: Yes
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Synology NAS DiskStation Synology NAS DiskStationBrand: Synology
Spec: Intel dual-core processor with AES-NI hardware encryption engine; 2 GB DDR4 memory (expandable up to 6 GB)
Lan Port: 2
USB Port: 2
Up-gradable: Yes
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01. Western Digital My Cloud Home 4TB HDD

I am using the WD My Cloud home for 6 months. Here is what I experienced. The cloud device setup is pretty easy both on your Windows PC or Android. I have also shared the device storage with my wife. She uses an iPhone. You all know how low the iPhone cloud storage is! 

Everything works fine. You just need to tap my cloud home app and share your image or browse the folders. Watching movies and browsing images from your home server is pretty easy now.

One thing you might be unhappy with is speed. It’s not as fast as the Google cloud services. Mostly it depends on the router connection and your home internet use. The write speed is limited to 5MB/s for me.

The device comes in several storage sizes. Single drives do not have the raid drives attached. Dual ones have raid installed. So, if you buy a 4TB single drive you will get 3.7 TB of storage space.

If you buy 4TB of dual storage then you will get 1.96TB of storage. The rest will go to backup/raid drives. If one disk fails you can always replace it and get the backup intact.

This is the cheapest home cloud storage solution I got in the market. Not up to the mark, but as a cloud storage where you can put your videos, movies, images, phone backup, and share with your family, this is good.

Things we like

  1. Cheaper price
  2. Auto Phone backup
  3. WD discovery app for uploading a file from your PC
  4. Image and video viewing from any android or iPhone
  5. You can create a separate account for family members

Things we don’t like

  1. Write speed is slow.
  2. You can’t use it as an external storage/ like Pendrive, it is meant to be a cloud device attached to your home network.
  3. You can’t assign a dedicated IP to it.
  4. No raid disk included.
  5. Can’t manage it locally without an internet connection.

02. BUFFALO LinkStation 

Link Station 220 is a portable 2-drive network storage solution for your home NAS requirement. The total capacity is 8TB, but usable storage is less than 4TB, the rest is gone to the backup. It’s a Budget-friendly DLNA-ready NAS device for personal use.

Almost plug and play device. You can easily attach it with your main router then start using it instantly. 

Mostly when you want to backup your data and need to keep them safe you should choose a NAS device with raid drives. If one drive fails you can always replace it. In this price segment, this is a good device for photographers and people who need easy phone and PC backup.

The device is equipped with USB 2.0. You can extend the device capacity or take backup on another external storage.

The speed is what lacks in the NAS devices. BUFFALO Link Station 220 is somewhat better than the WD my cloud home regarding read-write capability.

Things we like

  1. Built-in BitTorrent client for file download
  2. Raid included, 8TB disk included usable 4TB
  3. Compatible with PC, MAC, Android, Apple iOS

Things we don’t like

  1. The software is 32bit for the storage device. Might create problems with some MAC devices if they prefer 64bit software. 

03. Asustor AS5202T 

This NAS is perfect for gamers and people who love to store a lot of movies then watch them from anywhere. It includes: –

  1. 1.5GHz Duel/Quad-Core Intel Gemini Lake Celeron J4005 CPU
  2. Two 2.5GbE Port
  3. 4GB RAM DDR4 and upgradeable to 8GB
  4. 4GB eMMC Flash Memory

A build that is serving people who love speed on their NAS. The device setup is painless with your mobile device. You just plug it in your network switch, then install the AiMaster software on your mobile. Aimster will do the rest to activate the NAS immediately. 

Things we like

  1. Speed is satisfying
  2. Kodi supported – 4K streaming with HDMI 2.0a port
  3. 3RD party RAM also works if you do an upgrade.
  4. Supports 32TB for a storage upgrade

Things we don’t like

  1. Tech support is not reliable
  2. Noisy disk sound if your room is too silent.

Although their tech support sucks like most other IT companies, you get tons of online docs and apps for Asustor devicesThis is a future-proof device where you can upgrade.

04. Synology NAS DiskStation

Synology might not be the most advanced one, but it is one of the best in user choice. They have several options to choose from. You can go from 1-bay to 6-bay options. The body structure and style also change depending on the bay numbers.

For example, the 4-bay home NAS has over 60 TB storage capacity. It has a 64-bit 4-core 1.4 GHz processor and 1 GB DDR4 memory. The NAS has over 112 MB/s encrypted sequential reading and writing capacity. This is the highest I have tested so far, after the Asustor AS5202T.

The Synology’s DiskStation Manager (DSM) operating system is easy to set up and you can manage everything from backing up your computers, accessing your files from anywhere, storing multimedia files to your streaming needs via this.

Things we like

  1. Good Price
  2. Easy to setup
  3. Great collection of apps
  4. You can backup data to other cloud storage

Things we don’t like

  1. Not your regular plug-and-play device. You need to install the driver and OS first to start using it.

The Synology NAS DiskStation is a customizable solution for tech-savvy guys who already have experience with how to set up and use a NAS device. It’s similar to creating your home server in a miniature form. 

Things to Know Before Buying a NAS Device

NAS is in general your personal space where you store your documents, movies, songs, etc. In general, they are just hard disks attached with your home network.

Some companies go beyond that and add raid drivers, multi-port LAN for load balance, integration capability with torrent, plex, and other streaming apps.

A Good NAS device will create a small server of your own and you are free to do almost anything a web server does, plus it will have the capability to manage locally or while the external network is down.

Before you buy a NAS device the very first thing is to look for the storage. We do not recommend NAS that does not have upgradable storage or RAM. But, if you buy a simple one just like the WD my cloud home and use it just for a backup other than your Google Cloud, then it is OK.

The Synology DiskStation DS220+ is a recommended NAS storage for both novice and advanced users. It is customizable and you will get all the options you might need.

Most companies give a two-year limited warranty for NAS devices. So, you should check for your warranty instructions before deciding on your unit. Also, the tech support must be English and US-based.

The online forum and docs are available for almost all of the NAS devices, but in time you might need tech support badly if you are a total noob to networking or setting up a storage device.

Look for the security options given by a NAS manufacturer. Are they virus and malware protected? How many users you can share them with? Can each of them have their protected folder?

Ask these things before you make a decision. It is always seen that the first NAS device you buy will teach you a lot of things to help you decide the better one.

Go for a RAID included NAS device. Data failures are not regular but can happen anytime. With RAID included your data will be copied and if a drive fails it can be replaced easily, so your data is safe.

Diskless or Populated Which NAS to Buy?

Except for the WD models most manufacturers are now selling diskless NAS devices. You can choose your hard disk later. Some NAS manufacturers have recommended models for hard disks as they manufacture NAS-certified HD also.

Seagate, Toshiba, WD have hard disks optimized for NAS. If you are not looking for hi-speed data transfer then you can choose normal HD instead of the SSD which costs more. Before buying a diskless NAS device, calculate the price that you need to spend to buy storage.

Also, if you have an old hard disk that is not NAS certified, it still might work with the NAS. Try first and buy later.

Apps, Controls & Streaming

Check the apps first before buying a NAS storage. Recently WD has changed their app interface and most useful facilities are no longer found when you are using it from a PC. This happens if there is no dedicated support team for the app.

It is great if you can control your NAS storage even if there is no internet connection, but you are connected internally in LAN. Check if your NAS supports that. 

Also, how many ports there are is an important thing to check. Are you able to connect with another NAS and add a Pendrive/USB dongle to it?

Does the NAS support 4K streaming and install apps like plex or VLC? Most of the time NAS does not support all formats of videos or files. MP4, MPEG, JPG is OK but try with AVI or a pdf file.

Above all, most NAS devices have a web interface that you can use to access your files and folders via a browser. You can also create a shareable link to anyone via a web interface. 

So, before you buy a new NAS device remember these few things: Operating System, Upgradable option for storage and RAM, RAID supported or not, media server and is it accessible via web from anywhere?

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