The DNS-327L may be the most stylish of our budget NAS enclosures, but its sleek, unobtrusive looks come at a cost. In theory, it should be easy to fit your hard disks – you detach the top lid, screw on two plastic handles and slide the drives into place. In practice, we found the drives hard to locate in their connectors without a good push, and it took us several attempts to get the D-Link up and running.
On the plus side, once you get it going, the DNS-327L is easy to set up, thanks to a wizard that asks basic questions, sets up the drives and checks which RAID configuration you’d prefer. Shared folders are mapped to a network drive, and it’s easy to get media-streaming services online. In fact, D-Link’s intuitive, browser-based control panel is one of the DNS-327L’s best features; even when a setting or option isn’t in the most logical place, you’ll find a hint to tell you where to go and what to do.
Setting up the device’s cloud services is equally straightforward. Register an account online at www.mydlink.com.au and the site will find and register your device – there’s no need to mess around with port forwarding. There are browser-based apps for browsing, uploading and downloading your files remotely, plus strong features for streaming music, photos and video, not to mention decent iOS and Android apps. If the DNS-327L also had Dropbox-like sync facilities, we’d be praising it as a great budget option for a personal cloud. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.
The DNS-327L has a specification similar to that of the Buffalo LinkStation 421DE, with a 1.2GHz ARM processor and 512MB of RAM (although it has only a single USB 3 port at the rear). Its write speeds and backup performance were superior to the Buffalo’s, but its read speeds were significantly slower. It must be said, however, that the D-Link feels nippier and more responsive when browsing and streaming.
The D-Link DNS-327L is easier to use than the LinkStation and has better cloud features, not to mention a good range of downloadable add-on modules. Both factors help to justify the higher price.
The D-Link DNS-327L is a flawed budget NAS with good cloud features, but no Dropbox-style synchronisation. Read the review.