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Qnap HS-251 Review
Qnap HS-251 is a two-bay NAS that features a HDMI port, 2 SATA HDD Bays of 3.5 inches, 2 Gigabit Ethernet cables, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports and utilizes fan-less operation. It features a brushed, matt black top along with front cover and glossy magnetic sides. This makes it appealing and well-comparable with other AV kits, having rigid construction and heavy build. The device weighs 2.8kg when the drives are added. The HS-251 has a generic looks and lacks an LED display or activity lights for signaling the user on its operation.
The HS-251 from QNAP features Intel Celeron CPU of 2.41GHz along with DDR3 RAM of 1GB. It is able to perform media transcoding in similar manner as Atom-based DS415play. This is backed up with numerous physical ports, which include 2x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0 and HDMI.
HS-251 packs only two 3.5-inch drive bays, which may prove slightly disappointing to some users, since its footprint of 302 x 220mm is larger than four drives of 3.5 inches. The NAS however compensates for this by exhibiting numerous functions. It not only features transcoding in real time, but also carries XBMC-based multimedia player. This functionality comes with wide codec support all across images, audio and video and well-stocked tertiary app store. Android and iOS mobile apps are available as well. QNAP offers the user a ‘personal cloud’ which has shared folders that you can access remotely via ‘myQNAPcloud’.
Qnap HS-251 nonetheless has limited RAID options and only carries single disk, RAID 0 & 1 and JBOD. This device is not dynamically expandable, which is different from Synology Hybrid RAID, Drobo BeyondRAID and Netgear X-RAID. These allow for addition of different drive-sizes with ability to dynamically expand the volume.
HS-251 by contrast requires the addition of identical-sized drives prior to expansion, meaning you end up wasting space available on larger drives. The setup procedure of this gadget features drivers which are easy to screw in. These only require typing in ‘start.qnap.com’ into browser once connected to power and switched on to start the setup wizard.
The wizard comprises of a web page having links that explain the required setup steps. It guides you through the specific ones which your NAS needs. This is different from how Synology functions, as it immediately begins detection, although QNAP does still provide a great experience.
Qnap HS-251 requires that QNAP Qfinder get downloaded in order to start detection, but pings the user back into browser to set username, password as well as RAID type. In addition, you get to set up remote access to NAS for access to your files. This entire process takes approximately 15 minutes.
QNAP nonetheless lacks a dynamic search box for accepting plain language queries, but remains remarkably intuitive, apart from exhibiting appealing great looks. Though it might not be the most outstanding UI available yet on the market, it still functions fairly well.