Buffalo LinkStation Duo LS-WX1.0TL/R1 review
Cheap for a 1TB dual-bay NAS drive with a good line-up of features, but performance is mixed
There's usually quite a leap in price when jumping from a single drive NAS device such as the ZyXEL to a twin-bay product. With more advanced controllers to squeeze into the budget, and more physical material, that's not surprising. But the Buffalo LinkStation Duo blithely ignores such restrictions to come in at an uncommonly low price.
It's a reasonable £157 exc VAT, and that's not for a diskless device. Pluck the front panel from its mountings and you'll discover a pair of 500GB Samsung HD502HI hard disks mounted in quick release slots beneath. The disks can be configured as a RAID0 or RAID1 array, and although the build quality is a little rattly compared to the peerless Netgear ReadyNAS Duo (web ID: 249128), it's fine for the price.
The front panel is flimsy and plasticky and, bar a triplet of status LEDs, pretty bare. The same goes for the rear, with just one USB port alongside the main Gigabit Ethernet socket. Just the basics are catered for.
Elsewhere, there's little to fault. The LinkStation is cooled by a single fan, and it's a quiet one too; in a living room or bedroom you'll struggle to hear its whir from 3m away. There's a full complement of media, storage and backup features. Log onto the Buffalo's admin pages and you'll find user, group and storage allocation administration tools, a DLNA-compliant UPnP media server, a BitTorrent client, and Apple Time Machine support. More advanced features encompass a web server with support for MySQL databases and a schedule that allows you to switch it off and on remotely.
Where the Buffalo starts to fall behind is in its ease of use: the web-based admin pages are sluggish, with frustrating load times and an old-fashioned-looking layout. There's no sparkly Flash-based front end here, the likes of which we saw in the dual-bay Netgear Stora MS2110 (web ID: 354088).
Performance, too, was disappointing. While large files transferred to the drive at a perfectly acceptable rate of 20MB/sec and were read back at the same rate, small files taxed it beyond its capabilities. Speeds dropped dramatically to 2.5MB/sec while writing our batch of 3,000 small files, and a similarly snail-like 4.4MB/sec when reading them.
That performance anomaly prevents us from recommending the LinkStation Duo, which is a shame, because otherwise it's a perfectly competent NAS drive: cheap, quiet and with a solid feature set.
|Price ex VAT||£157|
|Price inc VAT||£184|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||5|
|Cost per gigabyte||15.7p|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|Default filing system||XFS|
|UPnP media server?||yes|
|Dimensions||86 x 204 x 127mm (WDH)|
Security and administration
|Kensington lock slot?||yes|
|Admin support for users||yes|
|Admin support for groups||yes|
|Admin support for disk quotas||yes|
|Software supplied||Memeo AutoBackup|