Gadget Review: Addonics NAS Adapter

addonics-nas_diagram

Click…click…click…yep, you’ve heard it before, the sound of a dead USB hard drive crashing its depressed head into the platter. And who can blame it after a monotonous life writing data back and forth, back and forth, back…and…forth, 24/7, catering to your every whim and desire. Sadly, it is the bane of storage devices everywhere. Well, enter the Addonics NAS Adapter, the digital Prozac that dramatically injects new life into your storage device by transforming it into a honest to goodness Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. Too good to be true? Let’s take a look in detail.

Feature highlights:

  • Converts any USB 2.0 / 1.1 mass storage device into a Network Attached Storage device
  • USB port can be used to power most 2.5″ USB hard drives or any low powered USB storage device
  • Supports Fast Ethernet 10/100Mbps
  • Simple to install
  • Small and light weight. Size slightly longer than a C size battery. Can be installed practically anywhere
  • Can be set as DHCP server or client
  • Supports Samba server for up to 64 concurrent clients
  • Built-in FTP server for up to 8 concurrent users
  • Built-in print server to attach any USB printer to the network
  • Built-in Bit Torrent client for direct download to the attached USB storage device
  • Can be set as a UPnP AV server to share photo/music files stored on the file server with XBOX 360 video game consoles connected to the LAN
  • User management to allow read only or read/write access to folders
  • Administrative management access via web browser with password security
  • Compatible with all Windows OS, Mac OS, Linux 2.6.x and above

The Addonics NAS Adapter is a surprisingly small device measuring just under 3 inches long, yet, packing in an extensive feature set that includes a built-in DHCP server, Samba server, FTP server, print server, Bit Torrent client, and UPnP AV server, all on top of the NAS functionality. Not too shabby if you ask me.

Set-up is a breeze. Simply plug into a power source using the included power cable, plug into your router using an ethernet cable, and connect a USB storage unit into the USB port. Once that’s done find the IP address by using the provided java application on CD or look at the ‘connected devices’ section on your router config page. After logging into the Addonics setup page, click to the setup section to detect and format your USB storage device. This will completely wipe out your hard drive by formatting it into one large FAT32 partition (NTFS not supported). Some of you may be thinking, “But what about my high-def movies files that are bigger than the stupid 4GB FAT32 size limit?” To which I’m tempted to say, “You’re screwed, bub! mwahahaha” or I can more correctly say, “The Addonics adapter can read them as long as they’re copied to the storage device through the network. However, the 4GB+ files will not be recognized if you access the drive directly via USB to PC.”

If you have a USB drive already formatted in FAT32, no problem, you’re ready to go. Simply create a ‘PUBLIC’ folder and move all data into it. The Addonics should recognize the content no problem.

In actual use, the Addonics worked without a hitch. I was able to access all data and stream movies to every device on the network. This became quite a liberating experience since I could now watch movies from a wireless laptop, wired entertainment PC, Xbox 360 via UPnP, even my Wi-Fi enabled phone.

So would I recommend this device? That really depends. If you’re the average home user wanting to stream movies, access data, or connect a USB printer to the network then most definitely, absolutely, sell your firstborn to buy this device. If you’re the more serious corporate type needing a robust, high-performance NAS solution, why are you even reading this review? You’re better off buying a high-end, much more expensive dedicated device.

Pros:

  • Extremely small footprint
  • Streams HD content well
  • Adds numerous features such as ftp server, bittorrent client, DHCP server, UPnP server, printer server
  • Remote management through a web browser
  • Compatible with most operating systems

Cons:

  • No NTFS support
  • No Gigabit ethernet support

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4 Comments

  1. Hi albert,

    I read your review – bought the NAS from addonics. I am now trying to set it up with one major limitation. I donot want to format my entire HDD into FAT32. I manually formatted a partition into FAT32 stuck in a PUBLIC directoy and the system status – recognized my HDD partition. However, the samba server is not setup and I am unable to use the file server! can you kindly advice.

    thanks
    anand.

  2. One tweak I’d like to see to this product, as a next-gen, would be to have a second ethernet port, allowing the device to act as both a hub (for a pass-through device) and as an endpoint (for the USB-connected storage). This would allow me to quickly attach the storage device in-line, near my media client, without the need for an additional hub. (This would be especially useful if wanting to take my storage unit to a friend’s.)

  3. I had problems with the first unit I ordered from Addonics, as have others (look on the Internet for other reviews). I had to get another one sent to me. The iTunes support was/is abysmal, and the unit would often hang. I still have it, and am looking to get rid of it. The worst part is dealing with Addonics customer service. _They made me pay for the shipping on an RMA to them for *their* faulty device!_ They may have slick deals, but I’ll *never* deal with them again.

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