The ReadyNAS 314 isn’t the fastest, most feature-packed or best-value NAS on test, but if you want a speedy, reliable and easy-to-manage appliance for the home or office, it’s hard to do much better than this.
The chassis is compact, businesslike and practical. Open the plastic door covering the four drive bays and you can install new drives in slide-in, slide-out caddies without needing any tools, and they fit back into place with a reassuring click.
Connectivity is excellent: there are two USB 3 and two eSATA ports, plus an HDMI output for playing media directly to a projector or TV. This is a NAS with the capacity and expansion potential for the most ambitious enthusiast or small business.
It’s also incredibly easy to set up: simply log on to Netgear’s ReadyCLOUD portal with the NAS attached to the same network, and the site will discover the NAS and set it up. While you’re at it, you can register your new appliance and set it up for life as a private cloud server. Within the browser-based interface, you can create new shared folders, drag and drop files, and configure users and permissions.
The ReadyNAS 314 has an attractive and intuitive user interface, and it’s extensible as well. If you want to use your NAS to run a WordPress blog, a website or a private cloud server using BarracudaDrive or ownCloud, that’s also easy to achieve.
Netgear’s own cloud service works effectively. ReadyCLOUD gives you remote access from a Windows applet, or iOS and Android mobile apps, while ReadyDROP delivers Dropbox-like synchronisation of a folder or folders across multiple clients. In terms of usability, speed and response, it’s a close match for the real deal, spotting changes to a synced local file within seconds and uploading them to the NAS across the LAN or WAN. Few of the services offered by rival devices can replicate the ease of use and functionality of the big public cloud options. This one actually can.
With a dual-core 2.1GHz Atom D2700 processor and 2GB of RAM, we expected a good performance from the Netgear. Its benchmark results were neck and neck with those of the Lenovo and Synology devices until we ran our backup tests, in which the Netgear struggled to keep up. That said, it’s certainly a speedy NAS by any standards.
Combine these results with the rich feature set, the ease of use and the potential for expansion, and you have a four-bay NAS that’s easy to recommend. However, we’d suggest you buy the diskless version and fit your own drives; 2TB isn’t much for a four-bay NAS, and you’d be paying slightly over the odds for two preinstalled 1TB drives.