The D-Link ShareCenter DNS-327L is the among the cheapest entry points yet to owning a fully featured two bay NAS. D-Link doesn’t make a lot of noise about its NAS devices, but on paper the DNS-327L has a lot to get excited about. Can it really compete with devices twice the price? Read on to find out.
For a budget device the 327L’s design doesn’t scream ‘cost cutting’. In fact D-Link has taken noticeable influence from Apple’s line of minimalist white styling and the end result is a NAS which both looks attractive and is a noticeable departure from the company’s famous black, cylindrical routers.
Interestingly the 327L also has a fan-less design to keep it quiet and at 195.3 x 144.3 x 90mm and 640g it is one of the smaller NAS available. Combined with its good looks this makes it particularly living room friendly.
Up close cracks do appear. Aside from Netgear’s ReadyNAS range, most NAS these days have a plastic chassis and the 327L follows in their footsteps - but the quality isn’t great. The sides are thin and a little flimsy and the drives merely drop vertically into position rather than using dedicated runners. The front buttons (power and USB) also feel a little cheap and wobbly.
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None of this is a deal breaker given you are unlikely to interact with the 327L much after initial setup. It will just sit somewhere and look pretty.
Where the 327L does grab our attention, however, is its feature set. This is not like Western Digital’s impressive but NAS-lite MyCloud series, D-Link has produced a fully featured NAS.
It takes two 3.5in drives up to 4TB each (with support for new 5TB drives imminent), offers Standard (individual volume), JBOD, RAID 0 and RAID 1 configurations, iTunes, DLNA and UPnP media server support and a BitTorrent server. Moreover the titular ‘ShareCenter’ allows you to access and view your audio and video content via a web browser or its smartphone apps and there’s a full suite of third party apps including Amazon S3 and Google Drive integration and Time Machine Backups.
Stitching it all together is mydlink, the Cloud platform featured prominently on D-Link’s routers. This lets you manage your NAS settings (both device and user access) from any location and also supports D-Links range of surveillance cameras for real-time monitoring, recording and playback.
On the hardware side the 327L is fairly straightforward with its aforementioned dual 3.5in drive bays and a USB 3.0 port for backing up external storage. Where things do get muddy though are processing power and RAID. D-Link doesn’t reveal the former (concerning given its price) and the latter lacks any form of expandable RAID like Netgear, Synology or Drobo. Consequently if you want to replace a drive with a larger volume you’ll need to transfer all your data from the drives and start again – that is unless you keep both drives as individual volumes but that way there’s no data redundancy.