Manufacturer: Acer Model: Aspire easyStore Home Server H340
Price: $399 (US) £368 (UK est) Web: http://www.acer.com

 

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It’s taken a while, but Windows Home Server has its first truly global player. The clumsily named Acer Aspire EasyStore Home Server is shortly due to arrive in North America, Europe and Asia (in slightly different configurations) bringing the World’s number three manufacturer into the ring to kick off a scrap with the World’s number one, HP (Dell are distracted somewhere else launching ridiculously priced laptops). Given Acer’s reputation for low-price, well-featured hardware it’s no surprise to see their debut home server will launch at just $399 (with an estimated UK street price of £368), which brings keen pricing and strong competition into the category for the first time.

With HP’s decision to restrict the latest MediaSmart Server to North America, many prospective buyers will be keen to take a look at what the easyStore gets you for your money – in many countries, it is likely to be the first OEM-built home server to hit the market, so it’s an important release not just for Acer, but also for Microsoft and the home server category as a whole. Our review hardware, the European model, arrived last week, so let’s take a look to see how it measures up.

 

The Beauty Parade

Before we kick off the review, enjoy the following press shots of Acer’s debut home server. The model hasn’t changed in the time we saw it debut at this year’s CES in January.

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What’s in the Box?

The easyStore is presented in a colourful (the black design with the rainbow device reminds me of the old (and retro-cool) ZX Spectrum branding) square box with a top handle to help you transport it out of the store to home. The rear of the box has a cartoon to help bring the capabilities of the home server to life, and you’ll find easily understandable networking information on either side. So far, so friendly.

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In the package, you’ll discover the following:

  • Acer Aspire easyStore Home Server H340
  • Ethernet Cable
  • Power Connector
  • Installation CD, Home Computer Restore CD and Home Server Recovery DVD
  • Quick Start Guide (English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese & Chinese
  • Warranty Information

Acer do pack a full user guide with the easyStore, but it’s a digital file held on the installation CD.