ASUSTOR AS-202TE Review (Page 1 of 8)

By: Jonathan Kwan (Hardware/Software) and Kenneth Kwok (Software)
January 17, 2014

Recently, I was surfing a popular Western Canadian home electronics retailer's website, taking a look at the latest home audio equipment deals. One deal that particularly caught my eye was a complete package that consists of an A/V receiver, two tower speakers, one center speaker, and two bookshelf speakers for a "whopping" deal of $698. Ironically, I added all the components up separately -- from the retailer's own website, no less -- and it came out $62 less for a total of $636. What am I missing? Nothing, apparently; every included item was even linked to in the "Items Included" tab on the package deal page. As you can see, sometimes, packages do not always add up as a sum of its components. Take network attached storage systems, for example. How much does it cost to buy an mITX CPU/motherboard combination, 1GB of RAM, and a bare basic chassis with power supply? A quick electronic trip to the store, and my virtual shopping card came out to only $160. Hmm. So what makes the ASUSTOR AS-202TE worth its price tag of $260 at press time? Unlike the home audio package I have mentioned earlier, this time, there is, indeed, something I am missing from the equation: Software. QNAP and ASUSTOR has been going at it for quite a while now, and both manufacturers are trying to one-up each other in every software release. With their latest focus on media center features, the ASUSTOR AS-202TE not only comes with an HDMI port, but also a remote control. Will this NAS perform as well as a network storage system and feature device as it does as a media center PC? Read on to find out!

Our review unit of the ASUSTOR AS-202TE came in a white corrugated cardboard box from straight from Taiwan to us here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. After a lengthy trip half way around the world using FedEx International Economy, I was pleased to find out everything appeared to have been handled properly along the way. Obviously, it was not as clean as the ASUSTOR AS-602T my colleague Kenneth reviewed last year, but his barely made it half way across the city. With everything in our hands, I whipped out my knife and my camera, and got straight to work.

By using a predominantly black background, the ASUSTOR AS-202TE's retail packaging looks very classy and sophisticated. A wavy grid faded into the background adds a bit of visual flare to the design, without making it busy looking at all. The company's logo is proudly displayed at the bottom left corner, while an array of icons highlighting its compatibility and features sit adjacent to ASUSTOR's website address. At the top, a label shows off the specifications of the AS-202TE. The right side of the box gives the user a simple look into what ASUSTOR Data Manager is about (More on this later), while the opposite side contains key features of this product. Obviously, there is some overlap, but the emphasis is a bit different. A handle at the top lets you carry the network attached storage system out of your favorite brick and mortar store with ease. Overall, I find the packaging well designed; at no point do I feel overwhelmed with technical information.

Before we move on, let's take a look at the hardware specifications of the ASUSTOR AS-202TE, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:

Hardware Specifications
CPU: Intel® ATOM™ 1.2GHz Dual-Core Processor
Memory: 1GB Memory DDR3
HDD: 2.5" / 3.5" SATA II/ III or SSD x 2 Compatibility
Expansion: USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 2
Network: Gigabit Ethernet x 1
Output: HDMI 1.4a x1
System Fan: 70mm x 1
Infrared Receiver
3.5mm Audio Jack
Input Power Voltage: 100V to 240V AC
Certification: FCC, CE, VCCI, BSMI, C-TICK

Power Consumption: 19.7W (Operation); 13W (Disk Hibernation); 0.8W (Sleep Mode)²
Noise Level: 24dB
Operation Temperature: 5°C~35°C (40°F~95°F)
Humidity: 5% to 95% RH

Size and Weight
Size: 163.5(H) x 108(W) x 230(D) mm
Weight: 1.87 kg / 4.12lb

Opening the retail box reveals the ASUSTOR AS-202TE clipped between two large Styrofoam brackets, and wrapped in a large plastic bag to ensure no bumps and scratches occurs during transport. A separate accessory box holds all your accessories in place, making it organized and easy to find. Overall, I found the packaging to be simple and effective, and I have never had any problems finding what I need from the factory.

The following items are included for the end user:

1x Power adapter
1x Remote control
1x Ethernet cable
8x Screws for 2.5" HDDs
8x Screws for 3.5" HDDs
1x Quick installation guide
1x Setup CD-ROM

Page Index
1. Introduction and Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware (External)
3. A Closer Look - Hardware (Internal)
4. Configuration and User Interface, Part I
5. Configuration and User Interface, Part II
6. Configuration and User Interface, Part III
7. Performance and Power Consumption
8. Final Thoughts and Conclusion