Asustor AS-204TE Media NAS - Performance, Value & Verdict

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Asustor AS-204TE – Performance

With the 204TE performance is twofold: firstly in terms of raw speeds and secondly as a wannabe media centre. The first it handles well, if not spectacularly.

Transferring large files, the Asustor 204TE managed consistent read and write times of 86MBps (688Mbps) and 71.7MBps (573.6Mbps). These fall significantly behind our current four-bay consumer NAS of choice, the Synology DS414, which managed 112MBps (896Mbps) and 97.3MBps (778.4Mbps) respectively, but the Asustor is in no way a slouch.

There is a similar gap with transferring small files. In our CPU crunching test, which transfers a 2GB folder holding over 2,000 files, the 204TE managed reads of 35.7MBps (285.6Mbps) and 28.6MBps (228.8Mbps). Again the DS414 is faster at 44.2MBps (353.6Mbps) and 38.5MBps (308Mbps), but again in day-to-day usage the 204TE’s figures should be more than acceptable. Both its large and small file test results also trounce the disappointing Western Digital EX4.

As for its second point of assessment, the AS-204TE does well. Codec support is very strong and the XBMC software is a joy to use. It may not be quite as simple to operate as an Apple TV, but it is far more flexible and it makes for a genuine contender in the media player space meaning you’re getting two quality devices in one.

App support is also good with the AiMaster and AiRemote apps on iOS and Android providing remote control and a virtual remote respectively. Meanwhile Android gets AiData and AiDownload for remote file management and downloading while iOS gains AiMusic for remotely accessing your music.

What is disappointing, though, is the lack of remote video access with an equivalent to Synology’s DS Video for watching your TV shows and movies on the go.

Should I buy the Asustor AS-204TE?

The answer will depend on your specific usage scenario. With a £349.99 RRP for an unpopulated system (though we’ve seen this vary a lot online), there are obviously far cheaper media players. Meanwhile if you want a dedicated NAS we’d stump up the extra £25 for the superior Synology DS414.

Then again if you want a well-made, quiet NAS with decent performance that saves you buying two devices then the 204TE is excellent. Furthermore we don’t think that target market is as niche as it sounds.

Where our biggest reservation lies, however, is Asustor’s limited RAID arrays. Yes there are plenty of options, but none are particularly consumer friendly. In 2014 you really shouldn’t have to upgrade all your drives with identical capacities to allow the volume to expand. Fix this, make the design a little more living room friendly, add some remote video streaming and Asustor will be onto a real winner.

Verdict

The Asustor AS-204TE is something of a jack of all trades. It is a solid NAS with good, if not spectacular performance and a highly competent media player lacking remote video streaming. It is well priced without being cheap and quiet enough to be living room friendly without having living room friendly looks. For those who want a NAS and media player all in one it is a great option, but for those happy with specialist devices there are better around.

Next, read our pick of the best routers

Score


Score in detail

  • Performance 7
  • Value 7
  • Features 7
  • Build Quality 8
  • Usability 8
  • Design 6
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