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Samsung's Tizen smartphone reportedly coming next year
Dec 31st 2012, 19:32

Samsung's Tizen smartphone reportedly coming next year

Back in May, the first images of Samsung's Tizen smartphone prototype were released, though little else about the phone was divulged.

Samsung did manage to reveal a few scant specifications, including the phone's 1.2GHz dual-core ARM processor and 4.3-inch HD display, but there wasn't much else about the Linux-based OS to show off at the time.

Then in September, rumblings of Samsung readying a Tizen Galaxy for release made the rounds, with sources claiming the device would be coming in the "near future."

It's been a few months, but it appears Samsung is still on track to release the first Tizen phone in the coming year thanks to its partnership with Japanese carrier NTT Docomo.

Another new OS?

According to Daily Yomiuri, Samsung's Tizen smartphone would launch in Japan first under Docomo (the only Japanese carrier without iPhone), with other countries expected to get the device around the same time.

Regardless of where the Tizen phone first launches, it will find itself in an uphill battle against the likes of Android and iOS, two operating systems Samsung counts as Tizen's chief competition.

Analytics firm Garnter reported Android held 72.4 percent of the smartphone market through the third quarter of 2012, with iOS holding onto just over 13 percent, there's little room for a little fish to make a big splash.

The recent launch of Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 and the upcoming release of Research in Motion's BlackBerry 10 will also provide some stiff competition for the untested OS.

TechRadar has reached out to Samsung, and will update this story when and if they respond.

Facebook Midnight Delivery New Year's app hit by serious privacy flaw
Dec 31st 2012, 19:08

Facebook Midnight Delivery New Year's app hit by serious privacy flaw

Facebook was forced to temporarily disable its Midnight Message service today, after an IT student uncovered a security flaw.

The Midnight Delivery app, which is part of the Facebook Stories site, allows users to send a message to their pals across the globe and have it appear when the clock strikes 12am on January 1.

However, when testing the messaging app, British IT student Jack Jenkins found that he was able to access messages and photos sent by other users, simply by modifying the URL of his own messages.

The new messages displayed his personal profile picture, but the content of the messages, photos from other users, as well as the names of the recipients.

Personal images

Writing on his personal blog, Jenkins said he was able to view an image of a father and son (people that he did not know) and even delete messages that had been sent.

Jenkins, who studies at Aberystwyth University, posted: "It shouldn't be possible to do this, as these are not generic and are people's personal images.

"A very bad part of it all is I think that you can actually delete other people's messages, which I have tested for myself on a single message as I thought that it would say access denied."

The flaw did not expose regular Facebook Inbox messages, only those which had been sent through the Midnight Delivery app, but this is still a pretty serious lapse.

The social network said it was "working on a fix," but in the meantime disabled the app to ensure more messages could not be exposed.

It was available for use again as of noon in the UK (7am EST) on New Year's Eve.

Samsung to unveil 'unprecedented' TV design at CES 2013
Dec 31st 2012, 17:03

Samsung to unveil 'unprecedented' TV design at CES 2013

Samsung has a televisual surprise in store beyond its always-stellar range of new TVs, when CES rolls around on January 7.

The company took to its Samsung Tomorrow blog to tease that a "true innovation of TV design is coming up with an unprecedented new TV shape and timeless gallery design."

The post is accompanied by an image (see above), showcasing a portrait-style screen, on a beach, with a fully translucent screen.

Beyond that, Samsung is cannily leaving it to everyone to make up their own minds.

Wait and see

It's difficult to speculate too much on what Samsung has in store when the Las Vegas Convention Centre opens its door in little over a week.

A translucent, portrait TV, as alluded to in the image. would surely be a hard sell, so perhaps a more likely shout would be the introduction of a true bezel-less, edge-to-edge display?

Although this option doesn't cover the 'new shape' aspect promised in the teaser, so we'll have to wait and see what Samsung dishes up.

The company has already vowed to showcase its newly-revamped Smart TV platform at CES, while we're likely to see more 4K UHD sets on offer.

Earlier this month, we brought word that Samsung may be plotting a 110-inch Ultra HD television for the annual tech extravaganza.

FCC approves Lenovo ThinkPad Helix with built-in AT&T LTE card
Dec 30th 2012, 15:35

FCC approves Lenovo ThinkPad Helix with built-in AT&T LTE card

On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved Lenovo's plans for the ThinkPad Helix tablet, marked by a native cellular data card.

While the news is no confirmation of the device heading to store shelves stateside, it is a step closer than a few Chinese site listing for the dockable tablet back in October.

The approval on the FCC site also indicates that the wifi-only rumors for the ThinkPad Helix have been upgraded to LTE-enabled rumors.

Specifically, the approval is for an AT&T LTE card in the device that supports both AT&T-only (700MHz) and AT&T-compatible (1700MHz and 2100MHz) bands.

Double Helix

The report by the FCC also includes information about a wifi-only model, but both versions would apparently run on the same Ivy Bridge processor.

The tablet would also feature an 11.6-inch screen displaying Windows 8 at 1080p, and would have the capability to function on or off a keyboard docking station.

The potential introduction of the ThinkPad Helix in the U.S. market would likely be a business play for Lenovo, accompanying the upcoming release of the ThinkPad Tablet 2.

Lenovo continues to push forward in the Windows 8 consumer tablet space as well as it looks forward to the release of the IdeaTab Lynx in the coming year.

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Your 8 hourly digest for Techradar - All the latest technology news

Techradar - All the latest technology news
Get all the latest tech news from
In Depth: 10 biggest gadget let-downs of 2012
Dec 31st 2012, 12:00

In Depth: 10 biggest gadget let-downs of 2012

Being a gadget fan can be saddening sometimes. Gadgets you've waited for for years turn out to be less than you expected, or don't turn up at all.

Much-hyped hardware turns out to be merely okay rather than mind-blowingly brilliant.

Developers decide not to bother with a particular platform. Or firms who know better just release something expensive and weird. We saw all of these things and more in 2012 - so here are our nominations for the ten biggest gadget disappointments of the year.

10. Sony PlayStation Vita - great but poorly supported

Do we still need handheld consoles in an era of smartphone gaming? Sony says yes, and its PS Vita is a great bit of gaming kit. Unfortunately, it's also a bit of gaming kit that's screaming out for decent things to play on it: Sony says that third party support has been "surprising and disappointing", and it's definitely affected sales: in August, the PSP was outselling the Vita two to one.

Gadget letdowns for 2012

9. Microsoft Surface RT - where are the apps?

Good, but not great - that's the consensus on Microsoft's first tablet, Surface, which shipped without many big-name apps, didn't run very smoothly and was described by us as a "solid tablet", a phrase that doesn't exactly make the heart sing. Maybe it just took too long between the announcement and the shipping date, or maybe Microsoft overhyped it a teensy-weensy little bit.


8. Google Nexus 4 - supply delays

We like the Nexus 4 a lot, and so do you - and that's unfortunate, because Google's really been struggling to get them out the door, disappointing scores of Nexus-crazed phone fans. Google has apologised for the delays, but it says that "supplies from the manufacturer are scarce and erratic".

Nexus 4

7. Apple iPad mini - old tech sold as new?

To some, the iPad mini is a triumph, the full iPad experience in a package that's smaller, more elegant and a lot more affordable. To many others it's a massive step backwards, an old, non-Retina iPad crammed into a new box because Apple's ran out of ideas and needed something to battle Amazon and Google (but for more money). For the latter camp, it's the iPad meh-ni.

Ipad mini

6. Apple EarPods - not that good

As we explained back in September, "In its unending search for perfection, Apple has decided to completely redesign its iconic white earbuds." Shame it didn't bother listening to them. The new earbuds are better than the old ones, but that isn't saying much: they're only worth getting "if sound quality is not something you are bothered about."

Apple EarPods

5. Pentax Optio VS20 - hit and miss

Imagine if a camera had not one, but two shutter buttons - and two zoom levers, and two tripod attachment screws. Now imagine that the rest of the camera was hopeless. Congratulations! You've imagined the Optio VS20, which delivers "hit and miss" picture performance, "occasional white balance issues, an inability to determine what it should be focusing on, and familiar compact camera bugbears". Apart from that, it's brilliant.

Optio VS20

4. Nokia Lumia 900 - teething troubles

To gain significant sales in the massive and massively competitive US smartphone market, you need something truly astonishing. For all its joys, the Lumia 900 wasn't it. It's not a bad phone by any means, but we could probably name everyone in America who bought one - and initial teething troubles, traced to "a memory management issue", didn't help. Nokia's big US comeback turned out to be a rather damp squib.

Lumia 900

3. BlackBerry 10 - still waiting

At least you could buy a Lumia, which is more than you could say about BlackBerry's long-awaited BB10, first announced in 2011 for a late-2012 release. In June, BlackBerry admitted that the new OS was taking a bit longer than expected, and that BB10 wouldn't now ship until 2013.

BlackBerry 10

2. Apple iPhone 5 - a bit longer

The original iPhone transformed smartphones. The iPhone 5 was like its predecessor, but slightly longer. You can see why many people were disappointed: for all its clever engineering the iPhone 5 wasn't a great technological leap forward. That and the maps fiasco unseated the iPhone from its position as the world's best smartphone.

iPhone 5

1. Nexus Q - explain please?

We're not entirely convinced that "the world's first social streaming media player" is dead, but the Nexus Q certainly pretended to be for most of 2012. After a glitzy launch it soon dawned on the world that Google expected people to pay huge sums for something that could only stream content from Google Play and YouTube, and which only worked with Jelly Bean devices. The initial reaction - "it's a ball!" - quickly became "it's balls!"

Nexus Q

Buying Guide: Gear of the year: TechRadar's top tech from 2012
Dec 31st 2012, 10:00

Buying Guide: Gear of the year: TechRadar's top tech from 2012

I've been the reviews editor on TechRadar for a few years now but I don't think I can remember a year quite as exciting as 2012. I think it's been one of the greatest years in consumer tech we've ever seen. It may even be the greatest.

That might sound like hyperbole but think about it for a second there, internet, and you'll see that it's true - for the consumer tech enthusiast, 2012 has been a solid stream of uninterrupted success.

The smartphone market is more exciting and innovative today than it has ever been in its history. There are excellent products at all price ranges instead of just right at the very top. We've got Ultra HD, Smart and 3D TVs breaking through televisual barriers we didn't even know existed a few years ago.

Ultrabooks and Macbooks are pushing mobile computing into a new age of super-slim and super-awesome.

We've finally got access to decent Android tablets for well under £200/$200. Cameras are now internet connected and run Android apps for quick-sharing of your snaps. Windows 8 is ushering in a new age of touchscreen computers of all shapes and sizes.

And while many of the biggest tech companies on the planet are struggling financially, as far as the products go we're in the richest age of technological life-enhancement since 1950s America.

So to celebrate that, here's a list of all the best gear we've tested this year. All best in class products in all our major channels - ladies and gents, we give you: the class of 2012.

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

Samsung Galaxy S3

best in class

Best in class: Smartphone
Released: July 2012

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is the best smartphone on the planet. There are those that will take issue with that statement and point feverishly at an iPhone 5 or hoist an HTC One X up the flagpole of futility, but the S3 has topped our list of best phones for a while now and it's going to take something very special to topple it. It's got every kind of feature we could ask for and more, and raises the bar in terms of what consumers should be expecting from battery life, processor speed and media management. It's simply the best.

Read: Samsung Galaxy S3 review

orange san diego

Orange San Diego

best in class

Best in class: Budget phone
Released: June 2012

The Orange San Diego has got Intel inside. Dong! Dong ding dong ding! It's not the biggest, fastest or cheapest phone out there, but it is a well-featured performer at an excellent price point. Intel is a name you're going to see more and more in the world of mobile, with 2013 and 2014 very important years on its roadmap. But despite this being the first Intel phone to go on sale in Europe, it's still excellent. So if you're looking at the more pricey Nokia Lumia 800, Sony Xperia P or even HTC One S then it is worth checking out the San Diego and possibly sparing yourself some cash.

Read: Orange San Diego review

ipad mini

Apple iPad mini

best in class

Best in class: Tablet
Released: November 2012

You didn't see this one coming, did you? OK, if you've read Gareth's iPad mini review you probably did see it coming. And if you're half asleep and not with us: we've named an iPad as the best tablet, but it's not the iPad 4, it's the smaller, less powerful, non-Retina iPad mini. Yeah. Wahh? Well it's because we reckon the iPad mini really does add an extra dimension to the iOS world and the slim size and lightness are much bigger benefits than many would give them credit for. It offers better value for money, sits more pleasantly in the hand and can handle all the tasks you want many times better than you'd expect. It's a more versatile product and offers a better compromise between performance, price and portability than any iPad to date.

Read: iPad mini review

nexus 7

Google Nexus 7

best in class

Best in class: Budget tablet
Released: September 2012

The affordable seven-incher really came of age in 2012, and alongside the iPad mini above, Google's Nexus 7 leads the line. It's major competitors are Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Nook HD as similarly priced budget Android options. But the Nexus 7 rules the roost. It offers lovely stock Android Jelly Bean, a decent display and responsive control. And what's more, you're not trapped inside a shop window like you are with the Amazon/B&N options. If you're after a 7-inch Android tablet, there really is only one option and it's the Google Nexus 7.

Read: Google Nexus 7 review

dell xps 12

Dell XPS 13

best in class

Best in class: Ultrabook
Released: March 2012

We fancy the Dell XPS 13. It's very good looking indeed and there is no better Ultrabook out there right now, and it's not cheap. But if you're looking for a bitch-ass Windows 8 laptop to kick lumps out of a MacBook Pro, this badboy's your huckleberry. It packs Core i5/i7 CPU, 4GB memory, 256GB SSD. And despite the 13-inch display, the footprint of this thing is actually similar to an 11-inch laptop so we reckon you'll be surprised at how compact the chassis actually is. Of course, it's not touchscreen, which might be cause for concern. 2013 is going to be a year absolutely jam packed full of touchscreen Windows 8 devices, so there's some food for thought if you're wondering whether now is the time to upgrade.

Read: Dell XPS 13 review

hp g6

HP Pavilion G6

best in class

Best in class: Mainstream laptop
Released: July 2012

As budget laptops go, there are plenty of products we could pick as a favourite. But we've gone for the HP G6 for its all-round performance and generous price. You get a decent CPU and dedicated AMD graphics power which means it'll see you through most computing tasks with competence. Unlike Intel based laptops, the on-board graphics combine with the dedicated card to create a dual graphics setup, and this really helps in Windows, when photo editing, and on the web. The only drawback here is in build quality. It may be a meaty machine on the inside, but on the outside it's a bit of an ugly duckling.

Read: HP Pavilion G6 review

fuji x10

Fuji FinePix X10

best in class

Best in class: Compact camera
Released: October 2012

The Fuji X10 is our favourite compact camera of the year and absolutely deserves the honour of being named Best in Class. Just as it did with the FinePix X100, Fuji managed to make a camera in the X10 that not only looks the part, but delivers on image quality and handling too. The well-constructed metal body is robust, easy to use and looks very smart. Image quality is as good as any high-end compact camera can deliver at the moment, especially if the EXR modes are used to their strengths, though the zoom is limited and battery life is a little short if we're being picky. It's a little pricey, but it's worth every penny.

Read: Fuji X10 review

nikon d800

Nikon D800

best in class

Best in class: DSLR
Released: March 2012

For those interested in stepping up to a full-frame camera, the D800 represents a cracking investment. You get pretty much all of the best features of the Nikon D4 in a more compact and lighter body, with a much higher pixel count for just shy of half of the price. You'll find that the D800 isn't just a triumph of numbers and that the 35.3MP sensor actually delivers on its promise – capturing bags of detail. The surprise bonus is that noise is very well controlled and the dynamic range is very impressive indeed.

Read: Nikon D800 review

panasonic g5

Panasonic Lumix G5

best in class

Best in class: Compact System Camera
Released: July 2012

We had to include a CSC in our list, and featuring a newly designed 16 million pixel digital sensor and the latest Venus Engine VII processor, Panasonic's G5 delivers images which are cleaner and freer of noise than we've seen before on a G series camera. Purchasing the camera as a twin lens kit, with the new ultra-portable 45-150mm lens would arguably make this the ultimate holiday combination.

Read: Panasonic G5 review

sony hx8 tv

Sony Bravia HX853

best in class

Best in class: 3D TV
Released: May 2012

There really isn't any overstating the potential importance of the KDL-46HX853 to Sony right now. For in one single leap its stunning picture performance takes the struggling Japanese giant from near-zero to all-conquering hero - an achievement made all the more remarkable when you consider that this outstanding TV is being delivered at a more aggressive price than the usually ultra-competitive Korean brands are offering on their range equivalents. To sum all this up, with the KDL-46HX853 Sony isn't just back, it's back with a vengeance. It's the best TV of the year.

Read: Sony KDL-46HX853 review

ipod touch 5th generation

iPod touch 5th Generation

best in class

Best in class: Portable media player
Released: November 2012

It's been a couple of years since we saw a new iPod touch and it was worth the wait. The new iPod touch 5th Generation has the same 4-inch 16:9 Retina Display as the iPhone 5 so as you'd imagine it's stunning and delicious. With its bigger display and new iSight camera it's certainly the best iPod touch ever. There's simply nothing else out there that comes close to the iPod touch. Nothing.

Read: iPod touch 5th Generation review

tomtom start 60

TomTom Start 60

best in class

Best in class: Sat nav
Released: June 2012

The TomTom Start 60 Europe is easily one of the best sat navs we've reviewed. The large screen, clear navigation and accuracy of the maps makes it a joy to use. The voice navigation, complete with spoken street names, is calm and clear, and it's easy to switch to a different voice if you're not happy. It's also available for a decent price. You just need to work out if you need any LIVE features like traffic and speed cameras - those things aren't available here.

Read: TomTom Start 60 review

amd radeon 7870

AMD Radeon HD 7870

best in class

Best in class: Graphics card
Released: March 2012

It's not the most powerful graphics card out there by any means. But what the HD 7870 does do is offer the perfect balance of power between sheer grunt and price. When we first reviewed it, we gave it 4/5 because it was a little expensive. Six months later though, the price has come down £100 and at around £150 it offers dazzling value for money. It'll play any top PC game on high settings at any resolution, and costs a fraction of the amount you'd pay for some of the other cards out there. For gamers on a midrange budget, this is the card to pick up this Christmas.

Read: AMD Radeon HD 7870 review


Panasonic DMP-BDT320

best in class

Best in class: Blu-ray player
Released: March 2012

Stuffed with techy toys integrated into the Wi-Fi-powered Viera Connect service, the Panasonic DMP-BDT320 handles a plethora of digital files and indulges - albeit in a somewhat muddy manner - in DLNA home networking. A super-slim Blu-ray player that needs only Wi-Fi to perform a host of tricks, the Panasonic DMP-BDT320 boasts excellent 2D and 3D Blu-ray coupled with reference-level DVD upscaling. This makes for a deck that has few flaws. Whether or not the inclusion of a trackpad-style remote control makes this slightly slimmer deck a worthy upgrade from its little brother, the DMP-BDT220, is doubtful. But as a standalone Blu-ray proposition, the Panasonic DMP-BDT320 is a top-notch all-rounder that oozes class.

Read: Panasonic DMP-BDT320 review

Top 10 business NAS drives
Dec 31st 2012, 08:00

Top 10 business NAS drives

Sharing is good. Networks were created so people could share and communicate with each other, and network attached storage (NAS) provides an extra option that can often increase the benefits.

NAS refers to any device dedicated to storing files that can be accessed over a network by a group of users, usually through a number of standard network protocols.

It may sound simple, but it amounts to a full computer system capable of handling multiple high speed file requests, managing a file system with all of its oddities, and dealing with transmission control protocols (TCPs) and services you need to throw at it. All that demands a basic computer with a processor, memory, ports and OS connected to a bank of hard drives and networked via a LAN controller and sometimes wireless.

This means that a NAS has a specification beyond its storage capacity. The processor, for example, will dictate the maximum speed and number of requests that the device can handle. NAS devices can be based on everything from low power ARM or Intel Atoms processors to those for a full desktop, depending on the class of the device.

NAS models come in basic sizes based on the number of drives that can be installed. Home and small business models will only use a single internal drive, which limits capacity and does not provide the security that can be obtained with multiple drives when some are redundant.

The next step up is to dual-drive models. These can work as storage and, more importantly, as two mirrored drives storing identical data, so if one drive fails no data is lost.

Small and midsized businesses are more likely to need a redundant array of independent drives (RAID), using four or more to increase their storage capacity and provide data integrity through a number of error checking schemes. If one or more drives fail the RAID can continue to function without interruption to services, while the failed drives are replaced. The number of drives required increases as the specification increases.

At this level you can expect to see multiple gigabit LAN ports, which can be used for load balancing, redundancy if a port falls over or split network domains. It is also possible, if the business has the right infrastructure in place, to provide options for a 10GbE Ethernet through add-in cards or by default.

Moving beyond these standalone NAS boxes, larger businesses will be looking at rack based systems and enterprise level scale-out NAS solutions. These effectively virtualise the NAS storage as a pool, so it is easier to maintain and update multiple racks without worrying about the stored data.

Back-up power supplies and batteries, alongside multiple gigabit and 10GbE port adaptors can all be offered at this level. Storage on racks can reach the 1,000Tb levels if required.

A NAS will provide a wide number of services, ranging from standard network connectivity with support for standard file sharing protocols to internet services like FTP and HTTP. Back-up services are another core feature, and more advanced systems support iSCSI protocols that extend file transfer commands over an IP network for a SAN, and certification for virtual environments such as Microsoft Hyper-V help expand a growing SMB.

1. QNAP TS-879 Pro

QNAP TS-879 Pro pic

Designed for the larger end of the SMB market, the QNAP TS-879 Pro is an accomplished eight bay NAS.

It has eight hotswap bays for flexibility and an Intel Core i3 processor, supports the latest 6Gbps SATA III interface, offers a pair of USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, two eSATA ports and a PCIe slot. This last item supports a dual-port 10GbE add-in card or additional dual-port gigabit adaptor, running alongside the existing dual-port gigabit LAN port.

The front mounted hot swappable drive bays are securely locked and the front USB 3.0 port provides a 'Copy to' button. The dual-port gigabit ports can be configured in a number of ways including fallback, load balancing and split network modes with full dual IPv4 and IPv6 support.

Beside the usual user management for security there is AES 256-bit volume-based encryption, HTTPS support and SSL/TLS FTP transfers.

Fired up with 10GbE connections, the QNAP TS-879 Pro can touch 600Mbps for file transfer, although with GbE it's a solid 110Mbps all the way.

If you've invested in a 10GbE infrastructure then the QNAP TS-879 will deliver. Also, a rackmount model is available with the QNAP TS-879U-RP.

2. Synology DiskStation DS1812+

Synology DiskStation DS1812+

Designed for any business wanting copious amounts of storage, the Synology DiskStation DS1812+ is an eight bay NAS capable of being expanded up to 18 via two additional DX510 units. With SATA II 4Tb drive support, this offers a maximum base capacity of 32Tb and a maximum expanded capacity of 72Tb with a file system limit of 108Tb.

Alongside this it offers two USB 3.0, four USB 2.0 and two eSATA ports. It's running a 2.13GHz dual core processor and is kitted out with 1Gb of memory.

For networking it offers dual port gigabit LAN connections. These can be run in either a redundancy or load balancing mode with a suitable switch.

In redundancy mode this will limit transfer speeds to just over the 100Mbps mark, but with load balancing it will go up to 195Mbps average read and writes.

The Synology DiskStation Manager software offers RAID 0, 1, 10, 5 and 6, beside an utterly comprehensive list of services, management and virtulisation support for VMware, Citrix and Hyper-V. It only sits below the QNAP TS-879 Pro model due to its lack of 10GbE support.

3. D-Link DSN-6120

D-Link DSN-6120 pic

For larger SMB and enterprise network storage the D-Link DSN-6120 offers a suitable 2U rackmount solution. Its 12-bay design can provide 48TB of SATA II storage and the system scales to 60 drives using four DSN-6020 JBOD expansions for a total 240TB of capacity.

Designed with data centres in mind, the D-Link DSN-6120 comes with speed and redundancy at hits heart. It has twin 500W PSUs, no less than eight gigabit LAN ports on two controller cards and 4GB cache cards per controller.

The PSUs, LAN controllers and cache can be all hot swapped if one should fail. Dual port 10GbE support is offered via replacement controllers, but at extra expense.

The D-Link provides all the core storage and network services you would demand: all the RAID modes through to 6 with global hot spare from a dual RAID controller, iSCSI SAN and visualisation support for VMWare, Citrix and Hyper-V. It also provides snapshot, cloning, rollback and remote duplication.

Thanks to its quad port controllers, even with a gigabit LAN connection, cumulative read speeds can touch 450Mbps and writes as high as 305Mbps, providing the throughput without the need for 10GbE infrastructure. It is well worth the investment when high redundancy, high throughput is required.

4. Iomega StorCenter PX6-300d

Iomega StorCenter PX6-300d pic

The six bay Iomega StorCenter px6-300d is an SMB level NAS suitable for distributed enterprise level businesses.

It's built around a compact, quiet chassis running a dual-core Intel Atom 1.8GHz processor with 2Gb of memory. Unusually for this level, it utilises an external power supply, which some users will not be keen on.

The hotswap drives cannot be locked but are covered by a basic front cover. Connection wise there's a single USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports.

For network action are dual-port gigabit LAN connections that can be used in a redundant or load balancing mode with a suitable switch. The NAS uses SATA II and is limited to 3Tb drives for a maximum capacity of 18Tb.

With support for usual virtualisation standards VMware, Citrix and Hyper-V, iSCSI support for SAN use and straightforward encrypted volumes, on top of the basic back-up and network services, this is a well priced, well performing NAS for SMBs.

5. Thecus N4800

Thecus N4800 pic

Despite the low price, the Thecus N4800 is a highly competitive and capable NAS drive, as long as the volume of storage is not an issue. Despite that its four hot-swap bays can still cater for a total of 16Tb.

Inside it's running a capable dual core 2.13GHz Intel Atom with 2Gb of memory. It has a built-in OLED status display, HDMI output and even comes with a mini UPS for safe shutdown without power.

Even at this price it offers dual port gigabit LAN connection with load balanced and redundancy modes. Dual stack IPv4 and IPv6 is in there. Connection wise you'll find one eSATA, two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports. There's even a single lane PCIe slot.

The management software supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and 10 with full volume AES 256-bit encryption. Virtualisation support for VMware and Citrix is in there, along with support for iSCSI for SAN use. Cloud support is the usual Amazon S3, Dropbox and ElephantDrive.

6. QNAP TS-469 Pro

QNAP TS-469 Pro pic

A four bay NAS that can support higher end needs, such as virtualisation standards and iSCSI for SAN.

Based around the dual core Intel Atom 2.13GHz processor with 1Gb of memory, it still retains the performance to keep up with demanding business needs.

The four loackable hot swappable drive bays support the latest SATA III 6Gbps 4Tb drives for a maximum 16Tb of storage. External connections are two eSATA, two USB 3.0 and 5 USB 2.0 ports.

A dual port gigabit LAN connection caters for the networking and can be run in the usual redundant or load balancing modes with a suitable switch. This means speeds can reach 220Mbps with load balancing and 107Mps with standard gigabit LAN port.

Given that it offers the same comprehensive cloud, back-up, encryption and other network services as the more expensive QNAP TS-879 Pro, this four-bay model seems excellent value.

7. Synology DiskStation DS712+

Synology DiskStation DS712+ pic

For the smaller end of the SMB segment or demanding home office user, the Synology DiskStation DS712+ provides a high end NAS in a tiny dual drive chassis. While there is no doubting the capability of this NAS, there is an issue around why you would opt for this dual drive model over a slightly more expensive quad model?

With the same styling as the far larger Synology DiskStation DS1812+, the pedigree of the DiskStation DS712+ shines through. Based around an 1.8GHz Intel Atom with 1Gb of memory, the NAS can support a maximum internal capacity of 8Tb, but can be expanded via the DX510 to seven drives and 28Tb.

Despite its diminutive size it has dual port gigabit LAN connection that in load balancing mode can top 180MB/s read and 105MB/s write, which is not too shabby. It does lack USB 3.0 but has three USB 2.0 and a single sATA port. Most importantly it supports all the network protocols and services of its big brother, including iSCSI and visualisation with VMWare, Citrix and Hyper-V.

If you can live with RAID 0 or 1 support for the base NAS, then there's little else here to criticise.

8. Imation DataGuard T5R

Imation DataGuard T5R pic

This Imation DataGuard T5R is an interesting NAS, as alongside its five locked SATA II drive bays is a SATA RDX cartridge drive. RDX is Imation's solution to the death of tape back-up, a hard drive in a removable, rugged cartridge.

The main bays are SATA II 3Gbps with support for 4Tb drives, providing a maximum of 20Tb. The RDX catridges sit alongside an eSATA, two USB 3.0 and three USB 2.0 ports. The DataGuard system supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and 10 with iSCSI for SAN deployment.

Inside the NAS is powered by a dual core 2.13GHz Intel Atom with 2Gb of memory. A dual port gigabit LAN connection can happily hit 100Mbps.

Good cloud support helps makes the Imation DataGuard T5R a good all round back-up solution with Dropbox, Amazon S3 and OpenStack support. The inclusion of RDX could make this attractive to some businesses and it performs well, but otherwise it lacks services provided by many other NAS models and it is costly.

9. Netgear Ready NAS NV+ v2 RND4000

Netgear Ready NAS NV+ v2 RND400 pic

The Netgear Ready NAS NV+ v2 is classed as a "prosumer" device by Netgear, but remains suitable for home offices and the smaller end of the SMB segment when low demand expanded shared network storage is required. With four removable SATAII drive bays the Netgear RND4000, to use its Netgear codename, supports 3Tb drives for a maximum capacity of 12Tb. Currently 4Tb are not on the comparability list.

Based on the slower 1.6GHz Marvel ARM processor with 256MB of memory, it's not going to provide the raw power to handle demanding environments. It does support RAID 0, 1 and 5 plus the Netgear X-RAID2, which makes on-the-fly upgrades very easy. Impressively there are three USB 3.0 ports and a single USB 2.0 port installed.

A basic software back-up solution is provided. CIFS, NFS, FTP and HTTP network protocols are supported with DLNA for media streaming, which are the basics you'd expect.

In use sequential reads hit 80Mbps but writes suffered at under 40Mbps, showing the slower processor struggles with anything but basic access. The saving grace is that the build quality is solid, and at this price with its four bays it's ideal if you just want basic NAS storage.

10. Buffalo TeraStation Pro Rackmount

Buffalo TeraStation Pro Rackmount pic

Built around a slimline 1U rackmount, the Buffalo TeraStation Pro Rackmount model comes in 8Tb or 4Tb models with its four hot-swap drive bays preinstalled. This might not be to everyone's liking, and only Buffalo's drive kits can be used as replacements.

This new range is built around a 1.66GHz dual-core Intel Atom and 2Gb of memory, so it's suitable for the SMB that's after increased storage capacity.

Dual port gigabit LAN connection caters for the networking connections and supports load balancing. While there are two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports beside this, iSCSI is not supported, which limits its usefulness in larger IP SAN environments.

In-use RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and 10 are supported, along with automatic replication to a second TeraStation and Amazon S3 cloud storage. Performance manages to hit around 100Mbps read but writes seem to struggle. For back-up a ten user NovaBACKUP licence is thrown in.

The system supports the less useful 128-bit AES per volume. Buffalo seems to have taken a potentially useful product and hobbled it with its insistence on proprietary media, the lack of iSCSI functionality and mediocre performance.

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