D-Link Xtreme N DIR-685
Another stab at router convergence
Review Ah, convergence, that buzzword of the 1990s – so often promising a lot, but delivering little. Evidently, D-Link is toying with the convergence concept with the neatly packaged Xtreme N DIR-685. This four-port Gigabit router features 802.11n Wi-Fi, a 3.2in LCD panel – billed as a digital photo frame – and Nas functionality too. It certainly looks the part, but does it deliver on its promise?
D-Link's Xtreme N DIR-685
There have been fully featured routers before – the Zyxel P660HWP with its Wi-Fi, four Ethernet ports, ADSL modem and Homeplug all-in-one springs to mind – but few undertake as much as the DIR-685.
Indeed, D-Link has got it spot on with the DIR-685’s design. Rigid black plastic, varying between textured and polished on the front face, with no ungainly antennae pointing out. Heck, if it wasn’t for the ports around the back and the slightly-too-small LCD panel, onlookers would think it was nothing but a digital photo frame.
At 3.2in it’s a bit too small to be a decent photo frame, especially as most routers end up sitting on the floor a long way away from your eyesight. Yet it can sift through photos loaded onto its hard drive to get slideshows going or the FrameChannel Internet service can be selected, which shows news feeds, weather updates and photos stored online. The LCD panel can also display throughput speeds, router status, time and date and hard drive status.
To get the Nas functionality going, you’ll have to add your own 2.5in Sata hard drive. The hard drive slides in easily from the side and can be quickly removed by pressing the un-mount button and a spring eject panel. Higher capacity 3.5in desktop drives would be quicker and cheaper, but 2.5in drives make for a more compact package. They are also quieter, require less power and should reduce the amount of overall cooling required for the unit and, hopefully, fan noise, too.
Accepts a 2.5in Sata drive – not supplied
The DIR-685’s power consumption was consistently low. It never topped 9.1W throughout our tests and regularly sat at below 6W. What is most surprising about these low power consumption figures is the amount of noise it creates.
Always the case
Nobody *ever* gets these devices right and I can't for the life of me understand why it has to be so damned hard.
A few years back Asus developed a promising unit, but burdened it with 100Mbit ethernet. This one can't handle more than 1 user and doesn't support Linux, even though I'm quite sure it actually has Linux under the hood (didn't bother with the entire article.
I guess we will have to wait for apple to build one only to charge us twice as much.
NAS - NOT!
It doesn't really have NAS. To call it NAS it would need to support NFS or CIFS/SMB at a minimum. Anything else (FTP/HTTP/DNLA/UPNP) is NOT NAS!
"buying a Draft-N router, LCD panel and 2.5in Nas separately would cost a lot more"
a quick look on ebuyer finds a draft-N router for £34.99, 3.5" NAS for £34.36 and 7" digital photo frame for £24.99. thats less than a ton for the lot. i wouldn't mind having all these devices in one but i'm not about to pay double the price for the privilege, even if they'd actually done a decent job of it.
"Anyway, weren't Cisco trying to shut the d-link arm down or something?"
Some of their products are just as bad as D-Link's, but it' still a totally different company.
Fail - 'cos that's what this device does.
Where's the heat dissipator?
that's got all the makings of a red hot mofo
hotter and hotter till it unsolders all the ic's from the pcb
Have owned D-Link before, never again
Anyway, weren't Cisco trying to shut the d-link arm down or something?