TCL T1 (SL-WR5028J) is a $46 Wi-Fi Router with a 2.5″ SATA Bay

Many routers now come with one or more USB ports to let you connect 3G dongles or/and storage device(s) to share the data on your local network. If you want to go with a fully integrated solution, and obvious solution is to go with a NAS, but these usually cost a bit more, so instead TCL SL-WR5028J (aka TCl T1) router could make a low cost (and low performance) NAS alternative thanks to its internal 2.5″ SATA bay, and it can be had for just $45.99 on DealExtreme. [Update: GearBest sells it for $35.98 with coupon TCLT1]

TCL T1 specifications:

  • SoC – Mediatek MT7260 MIPS WiSoC @ 580MHz
  • System Memory – 64MB DDR2
  • Storage – 8MB Flash for firmware + SATA bay for 2.5″ HDD (5, 7.5 or 9mm thick hard drives are supported). Max capacity: unlimited… 🙂
  • Connectivity
    • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi up to 300 Mbps with two external antennas
    • WAN – 10/100M Ethernet port
    • LAN – 2x 10/100M Ethernet port
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
  • Power – 9V/1A
  • Dimensions – 240 x 159 x 45 mm
  • Weight – N/A

The router comes with a power adapter, and a user’s manual in English. The user interface is said to be in English too.

In order to insert the hard drive you just need to lift the top cover, and slide it in there.

Mediatek MT7620 is probably part of the reason for the low cost, but unfortunately it’s also why there’s no Gigabit Ethernet, and for a NAS it can be a serious limitation depending on how many people access the data at the same time, and the type of data. The SoC also supports OpenWRT, so it might be possible to hack the router too, and SATA should not be a problem, since it can only be achieved via a USB to SATA bridge [Update: It’s not clear whether MT7620N or MT7620A is used here, and the latter has a PCIe port too]. Strangely, I can’t find any information about TCL T1 anywhere else on the web.

Thank you onebir! (Which reminds it’s beer time too…).

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13 Replies to “TCL T1 (SL-WR5028J) is a $46 Wi-Fi Router with a 2.5″ SATA Bay”

  1. I do wish they’d included some kind of UPS setup before encouraging people to put all their data on an HDD in one of these things though…

    (Une biere pour moi aussi? 😉

  2. @onebir
    OK. Chang beer!

    @John
    @Ray Knight
    Sorry, DX only mentions MT7620, so it could be either the N or A version. I made a mistake in my post by adding a N to the part number. So the connection could be USB or PCIe depending on the exact part. Anyway this probably won’t matter to much as the network should be the bottleneck here.

  3. @onebir
    The difficult part with drivers is the hardware interface. So with USB it’s already done, and thanks to the mass storage class (part of USB specs) you normally never have a problem when you connect mass storage via USB.

    With other interfaces like SATA or PCIe, it may be come a little more complicated. Sometimes, I’ve just as easy a enabling the driver in the kernel, other times you may have to build the driver for your platform, and if it relies on binary drivers it can be a problem. Whereas with USB there’s normally nothing to do, it’s just plug and play as long as the right option are enabled in the kernel (which should be the case 99% of the case).

  4. What an awful device! I bought one for my parents, thought it would make a quick and dirty NAS for them. Unfortunately, what they call “NAS” is incredibly limited. No Samba, no FTP, no NFS, no direct access to the drive at all. They have apps for Android, iOS, “Smart TV” (meaning Android with a different interface) and Windows, and the apps are the only way to communicate with the device. For one, that means Mac and Linux are out of luck. The apps are tremendously limited. Really, the only thing it does well is automatic photo uploads…assuming you are OK with only viewing your photos from their app. If it had some way of accessing the storage using a standard protocol, it might be nice, but as it is, it is useless. Stay away!

  5. oh c’mon, i have this router, stock firmware sucks, but you can always change stock firmware to any firmware you want. no restrictions. one click in web-interface.

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