User Experience / Conclusion and Rating
Starting with the build quality of the N5550 we have a NAS which has a nice sturdy metal chassis with well applied black paint. The internal sections, like the main external parts, are all metal and this makes the unit feel well built. In fact it feels like a bit of a tank… this is one heavy NAS even before we install our drives. That is no bad thing though as it won’t be easy to knock over. If we were being really picky we could say the front door should be metal too… and maybe magnetic closing rather than push to click but other than some minor wobble on the internal structure after we take the cover off (something few will need to do) there N5550 is one of the best built NAS devices we have tested.
Design wise we get a unit which sits discretely in any environment. Drive installation is easy due to the quick release trays and being able to lock them in place is ideal. We would have placed the USB 3.0 port on the back of the chassis rather than behind the door… or at lease made it accessible without opening the front but otherwise there can be no complaints.
For performance we had no issues with the N5550. The OS responded instantly to every reaction and the device streamed content across our network without issue, including 1080p video. Drive performance will of course be limited by the drives installed and the RAID mode used by each consumer but for a rough idea in single drive configuration we saw 4Gb transfer across in around 50 seconds with power use during load at 30w. Noise levels were particularly impressive, this is a whisper quiet NAS and provided we install low noise drives it will remain pretty indistinguishable in all but the quietest of rooms.
For the OS functionality Thecus have covered all of the basics well… even if they don’t install a media server as standard (it is bundled). The ability to add third party modules is appreciated and other than a few minor OS tweaks which would benefit the OS there was little to fault. We would for example have a large "home" button bottom left beside the other shortcuts and a few translations leave a little to be desired. A couple of the Wizards could also be clearer about what we need to do next… for example when installing a module it instructs "don’t restart" and there is an OK buton. But we are not to click OK, we should wait at this point. Speaking of modules we also found the device to be a little picky in terms of browser support. Chrome worked great, IE 10 on Windows 8 worked fine for most operations but installs failed.
So that brings us to value where the N5550 is relatively expensive for most people at £400 however for that price we do get a 5-bay NAS at similar price to competing 4-bay models. Consider that it has great functionality, excellent build quality and good performance and we have a decent value proposition here… a well-rounded product overall.
|Thecus N5550 NAS|
|Where to buy…|
|Ebuyer.com – £416.00|