Plextor PX-EH25L review
Best known at PC Pro for its CD and DVD writers, Plextor is now turning its hand to network storage. And the PX-EH25L isn’t a bad start. It’s svelte, almost inaudible and provides a wealth of functions along with 250GB of storage.
The quick-setup guide isn’t hard to follow, but there’s no handy utility for automatic detection and configuration. It means that if your network doesn’t have a DHCP server, you’ll have to directly connect the appliance to a PC and change its IP address before you can access the web management interface.
And when you do finally see it, you’ll wish it was easier to navigate and faster to respond. The ‘basic’ section has too few options and the ‘expert’ section far too many. Plus, the English descriptions are occasionally hard to understand due to poor grammar, and there’s no Help section as with the Iomega.
The good news is that you not only get a file server, but a print server, FTP server and media server too. At the rear are two USB ports, and you can connect any combination of printers, hard disks, USB flash drives or digital cameras. It’s also possible to choose to back up the internal disk’s contents onto an external one, as well as configure when the unit wakes up and shuts down. Plus, you can tell the disk to spin down after a set period of inactivity.
As you’d expect, user and group accounts can be set up to allow access to certain shares, and you’re able to choose whether users have read or write access too. The only tickbox left unchecked is the ability to give users fixed quotas. And apart from the external PSU, which is a mild irritation, the only other gripe we have is the rear-mounted power switch – awkward to get at.
We can’t complain too much about performance, as the PX-EH25L wrote at 6.3MB/sec and read at 6.7MB/sec. You’ll only notice the difference between this and the Freecom or Linksys if you’re transferring hundreds of megabytes, but this will be a background process in most cases anyhow.
Many will appreciate the Plextor’s two-year collect-and-return warranty; other manufacturers charge you for sending back the product. Plus, while other NAS appliances can be noisy, the PX-EH25L isn’t audible above the background noise when idle – we measured it at 26.2dBA, the quietest on test.
Overall, although it just misses out on an award, the warranty, quietness and features make it a decent alternative to the winners, especially if you’re knowledgeable enough to put up with the mediocre management interface.