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Recently I got the Vantec NexStar USB & WiFI HDD Dock from Prime ABGB store to connect some of my old SATA hard disks with my new laptop – unfortunately one of my desktop computers died recently & after that I was looking for a safe way to get data back from my disks.

Also, I am not hesitating to tell you that, during one of my previous attempts using an local-made IDE to USB external disk case, i did manage to burn my disk completely, & it was only because of the bad design of that product. Thanks to these new hard drive docks – we can now copy data from hard drives more safely or access it more conveniently ever before.

The Vantec NexStar hard drive dock is a decent product that works without a need of messing with the cables. Integration with WiFi & UPnP has made this product even better. We can get access to files by connecting a SATA to USB port or through the WiFi access point on to the mobile devices & UPnP enabled devices, Apple TV, iPhone, iPad including all the Android powered devices running 2.1.x or above.

NexStar D306WS3 offers USB 3.0 for faster data transfers, USB 2.0 or USB 1.0 for better backwards compatibility &, supports 2.5” or 3.5” SATA I/II/III hard disk sizes.

Key Features of NexStar HDD Dock

 

NexStar external HDD dock is packed with various features & that too with its relatively low price tag. Here is a list of features

  • It can be used for attaching SATA I/II/III hard drives of two sizes: 2.5” or 3.5”
  • We can easily use our regular SATA disks as external disks on laptops or can use them as a network drive, even on-the-go.
  • It supports UPnP Media Server
  • USB 3.0 for faster transfer rates of up to 5gbps
  • Read & write to external storage through WiFi (& USB of course)
  • NexStar external storage over WiFi is accessible by multiple devices & multiple users simultaneously.
  • It supports accessing hard disks over WiFi through iOS & Android app (Needs downloaded separately)
  • NexStar’s WiFi connection supports Internet Tethering – which means, if you can still use the Internet through your regular WiFi router / modem, even when connected to NexStar’s Wi-Fi
  • WEP / WPA / WPA2 security

Device Specifications & System Requirements

Vantec-NST-D300WS3-NexStar-WiFi-Hard-Drive-Dock-Top

[table style=”solid”]

Model NST-D306WS3
Hard Drive Sizes 2.5” & 3.5”
Hard Drive Interface SATA I / SATA II / SATA III
Connectivity
USB USB 3.0 (Including USB 2.0 & 1.1)
WiFi Wi-Fi AP Tethering
Wi-Fi Encryption (WEP / WPA / WPA2)
150 Mbit Transfer Rate
Power Supply AC Adapter
Material Build Plastic
Colors White
Size 136 x 83 x 87mm
Operating Systems Windows XP / 7 & 8, Mac OS X 10.6 & higher
Supported Mobiles iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch with iOS 4 or higher
Android Devices with 2.1 & higher
File Formats for mobile Most popular video, Audio, Image & Document formats
Total Storage Capacity 3TB

[/table]

How to set up for Windows Using USB Connection

NexStar SATA to USB & WiFi dock is very easy to set up using packaged contents. It’s a plug & play device without the need of any device drivers.  I created a detailed video too, which you can find below.

  1. Connect NexStar dock using power cable & also connect USB to your PC / laptop
  2. Do not power ON as yet.
  3. Get your SATA disk you want to connect & put it upside down as to align perfectly the power & data slots on hard disk as well as on the dock
  4. Push hard disk softly inside the dock & you will notice the Eject button on top of the dock is raised. However, it’s still not fully connected & you shall notice hard disk is loose inside the dock
  5. Push gently further down until the hard disk is locked in & eject button is fully raised.
  6. Power on the AC adapter as well as using the power button on the dock
  7. You will notice the indicators on the dock are lit up & shows when its reading the hard disk
  8. After this you can see all the partitions from your SATA disks are listed on your Windows PC.

Please note that, when the USB cable is connected to the back of the NexStar dock, the WiFi disables automatically & you cannot see its WiFi connection. However, if the USB cable is unplugged from the dock’s end, NexStar switches it automatically to WiFi mode is ready for discovery.

Using the hard disk over WiFi (Including Apple TV)

  1. As told above, to be able to use this dock over WiFi, you need to disconnect USB cable completely & then wait about 40 seconds for WiFi signals to be ready.
  2. Once done, you will need to disconnect from any other WiFi connection & then connect to the discovered NexStar-WiFi’s SSID.
  3. Once connected, navigate to \\10.10.10.254 using Windows Explorer or on Mac, navigate to smb://10.10.10.254/ & hit ‘Connect’
  4. When prompted use as Registered Users & default login details: Username: admin, Password: admin

Download Links For Mobiles

Verdict

I am impressed by the ease of use, features, overall build quality of the NexStar HDD WiFi dock. It’s probably the easiest way to set up our very own storage server using old hard disks. It can be used for backups, for storing music or movies & still access all these files from any device.

The price in India for NexStar NST-D306WS3 Hard Disk dock is INR 6500/- & can be purchased online for INR 4819/-. You can also choose Vantec NST-D300WS3 NexStar for INR 5269/-.

Video demo

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