Promise SmartStor NS4600 NAS device
Promise's SmartStor NS4600 NAS offers up to 8TB of storage
- Fast, Snapshot backup and NAS replication options, DLNA compatibility, sleek design
- Can't use external hard drives that don't have their own power supply, poor software and Web-based interfaces, flimsy drive rails
Promise's NAS device for homes and small businesses is great as a central storage device, thanks to fast throughput speeds. Unfortunately, it's let down by a poor set-up process and an odd plug-in system.
Price$ 700.00 (AUD)
The Promise SmartStor NS4600 4-bay network-attached storage (NAS) device can provide up to 8TB of storage for the home or a small business. It performed well in our file transfer tests and has an attractive design. However the configuration software and Web interface are difficult to use and its backup options could be improved.
The Promise SmartStor NS4600 is certainly one of the sleeker looking NAS devices we've seen, with rounded edges and a glossy black case. Neon blue LEDs indicate disk power and operation, as well as network and general activity. The only physical button on the SmartStor's front panel initiates the scheduled Snapshot one-touch backup function, which provides up to four restore points on a specified volume.
On the back of the SmartStor NS4600 NAS device there is a Gigabit Ethernet port, a power button, two USB ports and an eSATA port. The USB ports can be used to access flash drives and share USB printers. Unfortunately, they won't work with external hard drives that don't have an external power supply, and the USB and eSATA ports don't support HFS or NTFS file systems; only FAT32 and EXT3 support is available.
Despite the attractive design, the SmartStor NS4600 NAS device's build quality could be improved. It has a plastic feel and employs small plastic rails instead of the larger drive trays found on the Proware DN-500A-CM and QNAP TS-439 Pro Turbo NAS. Promise claims the rails prevent drive vibration, but we haven't noticed this problem on other NAS devices.
Screwing drives into the rails can be difficult and inserting and removing the drives isn't easy either; we would have preferred metal trays instead. Drive bays can't be locked individually, but you can lock the drive bay door to keep out prying hands. The drives are hot-swappable and can be configured to RAID levels 0, 1, 5 and 10; there is no JBOD option.
The set-up process isn't as intuitive as it is with friendlier NAS devices like the Western Digital Sharespace. The SmartStor NS4600 NAS device isn't visible on a network until drive volumes are configured, which can be done through the accompanying SmartNAVI software. The software discovers available NAS devices and provides an icon-based replacement for the Web interface. It can be used on either Windows PCs or Macs.
SmartNAVI allows you to set up the drive's volumes, configure basic media and download functions, manage user settings and set quotas, as well as share folders. Unfortunately, we often found ourselves resorting to the Web interface to make even basic changes. The DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) server and the download functions, for instance, are both disabled by default and must be enabled from within the plug-in manager, which is only available through the Web interface. The Web interface has an archaic design, but it at least provides the options that are required to get the NAS device fully functional.
iTunes and UPnP server capabilities are offered, and you can stream to DLNA-compatible devices. eDonkey and BitTorrent downloads can be scheduled, and backup options include the Snapshot feature and NAS-to-NAS replication.
The Promise SmartStor NS4600 NAS device was quite fast during our tests. In Intel's NAS Performance Toolkit it performed well in the HD playback and Restore tests, achieving read speeds of 38 megabytes per second and 65.4MBps, respectively. Write-based backup tasks were slightly slower, averaging 27MBps.
With four 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 drives configured in RAID 0, the NAS device wrote 20GB worth of 3-4GB files at a rate of 35.5MBps, read them at 63.3MBps, and performed a simultaneous read/write task at 19.5MBps. In a small file transfer test — copying 3GB of 1MB individual files — it wrote at 22.5MBps, read at 28.3MBps and performed a simultaneous read/write at 11.9MBps.
Though it looks sleek and is very quick, the Promise SmartStor NS4600 NAS device is let down by poor software. We were also disappointed that we couldn't back up external hard drives.
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Join the PC World newsletter!
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Surface Pro 4
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- IEEE sets new Ethernet standard that brings 5X the speed without disruptive cable changes
- New Skype Preview lets Windows 10 Insiders manage phone texts on PCs
- 5 ways Cisco could become an iPhone's best friend
- Skype is getting infused with conversational “bots”
- Anonabox promises a portable, streamlined way to use Tor to hide your online tracks
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTDevops EngineerVIC
- FTService Desk Analyst (Level 1 Support)NSW
- FTTechnical ConsultantACT
- CCIT Business Analyst - UX DesignNSW
- FTSenior Change Analyst/ Change ManagerNSW
- FTWorkforce AnalystNSW
- FTJunior Network EngineerNSW
- FTField Hardware Deployment EngineerNSW
- FTPeoplesoft Functional Consultant - Campus SolutionsNSW
- CCBig Data Developer - Government - 12 Month Contract - SydneyNSW
- TPSystems ManagerQLD
- CCTechnical Business Analyst (Security) - Finance - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- FTSenior C# DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperVIC
- FTSeeking all Java Developers!VIC
- CCApplication Support Specialist- Bathurst or Port MacquarieNSW
- FTDatabase Administrator - OracleQLD
- FTNetwork Security AnalystNSW
- FTSecurity Support AnalystNSW
- CCWintel Engineers - NV1ACT
- CCSenior Test Analyst-InfrastructureNSW
- FTSenior Lead Developer/Architect - TelcoVIC
- TPBusiness Analyst - Infrastructure ProjectQLD
- FTSenior Java DeveloperQLD