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 newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 4 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
- 5 Giabyte Aorus X9 Gaming Laptop review: Full, in-depth review
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro review
- Dell Inspiron 5675 Gaming Desktop review
- Hands On: Our first impressions of Sony's a7R III
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- TPBusiness Continuity Senior Associate/ IT AuditNSW
- FTPEGA ArchitectOther
- TPProject ManagerQLD
- FTService Delivery ManagerOther
- CCScrum Master - BrisbaneNSW
- TPBusiness Analyst ManagerNSW
- FTSystems AdministratorOther
- FTAxiomSL Technical ConsultantOther
- CCIseries Analyst ProgrammerNSW
- FTSolution Architect - API / SaaSOther
- TPPrincipal PO|PI DeveloperQLD
- CCBusiness AnalystVIC
- FTSnr Information Security Consultant - IT Services - North Ryde areaNSW
- FTService Provider Manager - Asset ManagementOther
- TPTest Automation EngineerQLD
- FTSenior Change Manager, Portfolio Change DeliveryOther
- FTSenior Business Analyst - WealthOther
- FTTechnical Product ArchitectQLD
- FTJunior Business AnalystACT
- FTInsights AnalystOther
- FTDigital Business Analyst - IntermediateQLD
- FTChange Manager- Rail / Fleet MaintenanceOther
- FTFinancial AdministratorOther
- FTCapability Specialist | Business AnalystOther
- FTProgram Director - ieMROther