The ZyXel NAS520 is fast, cleverly designed, and just a generally great media-streaming and backup box. But it’s better for those with above-average computer chops—the interface is just a tad geeky. Still, $190 for a NAS box with a FreeScale FS1024 CPU, 1GB of system memory, and dual ethernet ports is an undeniably good deal.


That clever design we refer to concerns the quick-removal drive trays, which are hidden behind the magnetically-attached front cover. They’re great for 3.5-inch drives, using pressure pieces that obviate the need for screws. You can install or change a drive in this puppy in no time.

The design, however, seems much less clever when you have to spudge out the somewhat delicate plastic pressure pieces to fit 2.5-inch hard drives or SSDs. Zyxel includes two spare pressure pieces in case of overzealous prying or other mishap.

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