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The LG 1TB 1-Bay N1T1 is the first of its kind we've seen. The device is a NAS server, an external hard drive, and an external DVD burner all in one, with each of these roles able to hold their own.
On the down side, however, the LG is lacking in terms of capacity. It has only one built-in hard drive and no other way to add more storage and you can't replace the hard drive yourself. In our testing, the speed of the device when used as an external hard drive could also use some improvement.
Priced at around $200 with 1TB of storage included, the LG N1T1 is an ideal backup device for those who don't need lots of storage. If you don't care for flexibility and want the ability to add more storage, however, we'd recommend the HP MediaSmart EX195.
Design and setup
Considering the three aforementioned roles, the LG N1T1 is a lot more compact than one would expect, thanks to its slot-load design for the built-in DVD burner. The device's internal storage includes a 1TB SATA hard drive. LG says it will also sell a 2TB version in the near future. We certainly hope so, as the device is not built to allow users to service the internal hard drive on their own.
The device is designed to work in the vertical position and comes with a detachable base that helps to keep it from toppling. On the back is the Gigabit Ethernet port (for the NAS function) and an USB A female port.
Unlike other USB A female ports, such as those found on the back of a computer, this port can be used both in the A female and B female roles.
When using the LG as a NAS server, you can connect a printer to this USB port, when using it as an external hard drive/DVD burner, you can use the USB port to connect the device to a computer using the included "A male to A male" USB cable. This is rather unusual; most regular USB devices include a B female port to be used with regular A male to B male USB cable. That said, make sure you keep this included USB cable around as it might be hard to find a replacement.
Unfortunately, the LG's USB port can't be used to host an external storage device, meaning there's no way to add more storage to the device.
Also on the back, there's the power button and a switch that quickly changes the role of the LG N1T1 among a NAS server, an external hard drive, or an external DVD burner. You can do this even when the device is powered on but of course you should only perform this switch when the device is idle.
The slot-load DVD drive of the LG is on the front, next to the Eject and Backup buttons. The Backup button allows for quickly backing up the data on the device's built-in storage, onto a DVD disc.
It's easy to set up the LG N1T1. When the device is used as an external hard drive or DVD burner, just connect it to a computer via the USB connection and turn it on. The computer then recognizes the external hard drive or the external DVD drive automatically and you can use the newly added drive the same as the internal drives included in your computer.
When used as a NAS server, the LG N1T1 comes with a software utility that helps detect the device from the network and launch its Web interface, which is similar to most other NAS servers. The LG's Web interface is well-organized, self-explanatory, and responsive, allowing you to further customize the functionality of the device as a NAS server.
The LG N1T1 is a single-volume device. This means you should use it to host noncritical data or as the backup destination of important data with the original stored on another computer.
The device's internal hard drive is formatted into two separate partitions; the first in Linux, the other in the NTFS (Windows) file system. The former is to be used only with the device's NAS functionality and only the latter is accessible when the device works as an external hard drive.
You can change the size these two partitions, but the NTFS one can't be larger than 40 percent of the internal hard drive's total amount of storage. Data stored on the Linux partition is not available when the device is used as an external hard drive. However, data stored on the NTFS partition is available even when the device is used as a NAS drive. When used as an external DVD burner, the device's internal storage is not accessible at all.
With this design, the LG N1T1 is best used as a NAS server when all of its internal storage is available to the users. The DVD burner is best used to back up the NAS's internal data.
The LG NAS server supports both Windows and Mac platforms. You can browse its share folders using a network browser, such as Windows Explorer. On a Mac, the NAS server will automatically appear in Finder. As a NAS server, the LG supports Time Machine and you can turn on this support using the storage space on either of the partitions. Once turned on, a Mac running OS 10.4 or later can immediately use storage space on the NAS server as a destination for its Time Machine backup feature.
The LG N1T1 NAS server supports multiple user accounts with the admin user able to assign access privileges of each user to any particular share folders. The server also has a file browser that allows for accessing its share folders via a Web browser; thus making it simple to accessing its data over the Internet.
The NAS server's special features include support for DLNA media streaming protocol and iTunes. It also supports BitTorrent downloads.
The LG N1T1 performed well in our test as a NAS server. The device registered 243.8Mbps and 387.5Mbps in the write and read tests, respectively, meaning that among single-volume NAS servers, it was about average on the write test and the fastest on the read test. For comparison, the HP MediaSmart LX195, which earned our Editors' Choice award thanks to its great performance, scored 279.6Mbps and 380.4Mbps for the write and read tests, respectively.
The LG didn't do as well when working as an external hard drive. At 17.6MBps and 24.8MBps for the write and read test, respectively, it was the slowest among recently reviewed external drives. To make up for this, the LG N1T1 worked very quietly during our testing and remained cool, even during heavy loads.
Service and support
The LG 1TB 1-Bay N1T1 Network Storage with DVD ReWriter ships with a short one-year warranty. You probably won't need much support for it, but the company's toll-free technical support is available 24-7. At the company's Web site, you can also e-mail or chat online with a support representative and browse a knowledge base.