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QNAP TS-451 Review – The NAS
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Most users will want to head to the App Centre though and that is where we can begin to tailor the device to our needs.
Looking around the base options we find everything we need for media playback (including the ability to transcode file formats), download manager (inc Bittorrent) and cloud access. Anti-virus protection is built in and our control panel allows easy administration of the device including user accounts, storage, shared folders, ftp and power. There is also a handy resource manager on the right of the screen which pops out to reveal information on key aspects of our NAS.
Also worthy of note is a wide range of extra software which QNAP offer to enhance the user experience. These apps, some for smartphones/tablets and some for Windows/MAC allow us to perform useful tasks such as quick/easy syncing of data from multiple systems and perform full system backups.
QNAP TS-451 Review – Conclusion
Starting with the build quality and design of the QNAP TS-451 we have a unit which is fairly compact for a 4-bay model. It looks good with the white finish and we are pleased to see that QNAP have gone for a matt coating, rather than glossy which would just attract fingerprints/dust. The LEDS are nicely located and easy to read from a distance and that front mounted USB 3.0 port ensures we have quick access to the fastest transfer rates. The port layout on the back is decent and we appreciate the dual GB LAN ports.
Looking at the specifications, this is a well kitted out NAS. 4Gb of DDR3L should ensure compatibility with future OS updates, as well as maximising performance. A dual core 2.4GHz Celeron CPU is very competitive in this marketplace and the ability to accept 32TB as standard with further storage through expansion devices is easily enough for most home/small office needs.
As far as features go, the TS-451 is right up there with the best… all the basics such as print server, ftp, download manager, shared folders and media sharing (iTunes/DNLA) are all present. Then we get a great bunch of high end features such as VPN server, cloud backup support (inc Amazon/Microsoft), HDMI out (7.1 audio too), Virtualisation/VM machine, transcoding and surveillance (2 camera ip’s included). The virtualisation in particular is very useful, allowing us to run (as an example) a Windows based environment within the NAS. Ideal for getting access to enhanced apps, running a Windows Server or playing with Windows 10 betas… as just a few examples. It is also worth saying that the HDMI out (and ability to use a remote) is a real bonus for anyone who struggles with low Wi-Fi signal, or maybe has a TV with low speed network connection. Mix that with HDStation which offers a massive suite of media apps (inc Spotify, YouTube, XBMC, etc) and we have more than just a NAS, its a stand alone media hub. Did we mention it even has a browser (Firefox/Chrome)… who needs a PC???
Moving around the OS is an intuitive experience, anyone who has used a decent modern NAS should be fairly at home here and first time users will easily navigate the basic desktop/menu/icon interface. We noted no lag in our time using the OS and HD video files played without issue, transcoding on the fly to ensure our devices played them, regardless of the format… it really is as simple as opening the file and the TS-451 does the rest! The NAS automatically configured its basic sharing folders ensuring they immediately showed up on systems connected to the same network and power use was also impressive. In sleep mode, we noted negligible power draw with power settling around 12-14w when idle and 30w under heavy load with multiple drives installed (well within the PSUs rated spec). Write performance hit approximately 100MB/s in our transfer tests with read speed topping out at 127mb/s.
Summary: Solid build quality, nice design, feature packed and good potential for expanding. This future proof NAS with intuitive OS wins our gold award.