QNAP TAS-268 QTS and Android Combo NAS Review

by - 4 years ago

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Introduction


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In today’s review, I am taking a look at a NAS that comes with a twist that we previously haven’t seen out-of-the-box. I’m talking about QNAP’s TAS-268 NAS which is a 2-bay hybrid NAS that runs both QNAP’s QTS and Android at the same time. The TAS-268 doesn’t just have a twist in the operating system, the physical form also takes a different approach than most NAS on the market.

At the core, the QNAP TAS-268 is a normal NAS with the function that you would expect from such a unit. It doesn’t come with the most power processor, but in return, it also comes with a low price tag despite all the functionality. It is built around an ARM 1.1 GHz dual-core processor and comes with 2GB DDR3 memory. It also features an onboard 4GB flash memory to be used by the Android system. While this doesn’t sound like much, it should be plenty for this device’s functions.

Besides this 2-bay unit, QNAP also released a 1-bay unit with the only difference being the number of drives you can install. But it is the 2-bay unit that we’re looking at today and it supports RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, and single disk setup with two 3.5-inch hard disk drives. There are plenty of external connection options on the TAS-268 with one Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port, four USB 2.0 ports on the rear and one USB 3.0 port on the front.

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The front also features an SD card slot for easy and portable storage connection just as you’re used to from your Android phone or tablet – just much easier. You don’t need to remove any covers and battery as it is the case with many phones, instead, you have the SD slot right at the front of the device where you need it.

To complete the convenience experience, QNAP also added the one-touch copy button which allows just what the name promised, copy the content from the front USB port with a single press of the button. How the button shall react can be changed in the QTS system and it is capable of copy operations in both directions, both to and from the USB drives.

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With a NAS like this that supports Android, we also need an HDMI port in order to connect it to our monitor or TV and the TAS-2688 also features this on the rear. It is accompanied by four USB 2.0 ports that come in handy for keyboard, mouse, and game controller connection in order to take even better advantage of the Android platform and all the available apps. You can also control the system through the use of the included IR remote control. The TS-268 supports HD and 4K H.265 / H.264 file formats, 4K H.264 with up to 15 frames per second and 4K H.265 with up to 30 frames per second.

Shouldn’t you want to connect the device via HDMI or maybe you just want to get your stored and linked media files onto more devices then you can take advantage of the common DLNA streaming that QNAP also supports. Consoles, Smart TVs, Mini-PCs and much more support this and it is probably the easiest method of streaming content.

Google Play also provides various media apps including YouTube, TED, Twitch and other video apps to be used directly on the NAS. You can install and stream movies, cartoons, TV series, news, and sports at any time in order to enrich your entertainment level.

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QNAP introduced their myQNAPcloud system quite a while ago by now and naturally the TAS-268 also supports this. It isn’t just a simple and effective way to set up your new NAS, it also allows you to connect to the finished setup much quicker and easier. By acting as a simplified and locked-in dynamic DNS system it will allow you to easily connect to your NAS, securely, from anywhere in the world and any device as long as you and the NAS both have internet connectivity.

With that in mind, it is incredibly easy to create you own personal cloud system where you don’t have to rely on commercial or free options that thousands of other people use. Keep your files at home where you know who has access and who doesn’t. It is a breeze to sync files to the NAS via QNAP’s own Qsync as well as the Cloud Drive Sync app from the QTS app center that can sync files with Google Drive and Dropbox.

Both real-time and scheduled backups on Windows systems as well as with Time Machine on Mac OS systems is easily taken care of with QNAP’s NetBak replicator and it also features disaster recovery solutions including RTRR, rsync, and cloud storage backup (Dropbox and Google Drive) are also included. So all the bases are covered.

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As previously mentioned, you naturally also get the ordinary NAS cross-platform file sharing capabilities from a centralized data storage. Whether you use Linux, Unix, Windows, or Mac OS, your connection is covered. And with the use of apps you get the same connectivity on your Windows Mobile, Android, or iOS system.

So far I have mostly been talking about the software functionality, but that’s just one of the great aspects on this NAS. The design is quite a bit different than we are used with a vertical unit rather than a horizontal oriented. This saves space on the desk with a smaller footprint which can be a vital factor near your entertainment system and similar likely placement scenarios.

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The TAS-28 is also a very light unit due to a simple and clever design. Even better, the entire NAS can be set up completely tool-less for your convenience. There is a single thumbscrew at the bottom with which you can open up the chassis and the drive are mounted tool-less too with the included adapters.

Despite having a unique outer design, a lot of the internal design is something that reminds us of previous 2-bay NAS units – just improved with the tool-less drive mounting options and vertical instead of horizontal.

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With all this talk about Android, we shouldn’t forget about the base QTS operating system. It provides a web-based user interface to help you easily manage files on the TAS-268. You can install various apps based on your needs to fulfill tasks like storage, backup, management and multimedia applications. File Station allows you to upload, download and manage files anywhere with a web browser. All of your photos, music and videos can be indexed by the built-in Media Library, and easily managed and shared with the Photo Station, Music Station and Video Station. The energy-saving Download Station is your 24/7 download center, allowing you to quickly download files to enrich your collection.

Feature Highlights

  • Dual-core CPU
  • Android and QTS operating system
  • Organize & manage files and backup tasks in one centralized location
  • Synchronize files between computers, laptops, and mobile devices
  • Remotely access your files securely from your personal cloud
  • Stream your multimedia library via DLNA to other devices and your TV
  • Enjoy direct media playback via HDMI with HD videos and photos
  • Compact and streamlined chassis ideal for a desktop or living room environment

Packaging and Accessories

The TAS-268 comes in a simple white box with a representation of the NAS unit as well as the feature highlights.

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The rear of the box contains some more information as to what’s so special about this NAS, but it’s kept short.

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Opening up the box and we find a brand new NAS that is well protected with self-adhesive plastic film – you know the kind we all love to peel off once we get a new gadget.

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Besides the NAS itself, there is a quick installation guide to help you get started quickly, a power supply brick and power cord fitting the region you bought it in as well as an RJ45 LAN cable.

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There’s also a small remote control included that is about 3 inches long. Shown below are also the four HDD mounting brackets that simply snap into the drive and hold it in place.

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A closer look


Opening the TAS-268 NAS for drive installation is as easy as turning your hand, because that is all that is needed. There is a single screw at the bottom of the NAS and once that has been removed, you can simply slide the chassis apart.

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Simply slide the two hard drives into place onto the SATA connectors and press the mounting brackets into the drive. Close it up again and you’re ready to use your brand new NAS.

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However, for me it is time to take the NAS further apart and have a closer look how it’s built, what is built with, and how it is put together. At least that’s what I’d normally do. This NAS has been so well assembled that I failed the task to remove enough of the screws in order to take it further apart. This sucks for me, but it speaks for the built quality of the NAS.

We can still get a glimpse of the blower-styled cooler that generates the right kind of airflow in the chassis to keep everything running cool and smooth.

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So time to install my hard disk drives and get started with the actual testing.

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System Specifications, Features & Power Consumption


Hardware Specifications

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Software Specifications

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Features

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Login

The login page is a beautiful one with a fresh design. You can also customize its appearance in the settings once logged in.

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Dashboard

QNAP’s dashboard has everything you’ll want. A taskbar at the top with notifications and quick access to vital information, widgets, and customizable icons. Create the setup that fits your needs with ease.

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There are more features hidden in the start menu like pane that opens up on the left side of the screen.

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Power Consumption

The chart contains the actual power consumption measured at the PSU connection and while loaded with a maximum amount of drives. Peak, or maximum, power draw will occur during boot times.

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Setup – Initialization and Storage Options


Initialization

There are multiple ways to initialize your QNAP NAS, but my preferred method is to use the Qfinder application. It is not just an easy way to do it, it also offers a lot more functionality and easy access to configurations.

The application will automatically scan your network for QNAP NAS’ and show them in a convenient list. Double click your newly setup TAS-268 and it will launch the setup in your default browser.

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The Smart Installation Guide doesn’t require much input from your side, but we do have to provide a few information in order to get everything up and running.

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The first two things we need to tell the new NAS is what name it shall have and what our administrator password should be. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t use your admin user for everyday usages and as such should pick a password that you can remember even though you don’t use it so often.

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Next we can set the time, date, and timezone. We can either let the NAS get the time from our current system, input it manually, or synchronize it with an internet time server. The last one is the preferred method and what I’m going to use.

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The method of network connection should also be set and what you pick here comes down to your network setup. You can either let the NAS get it’s IP automatically via DHCP or you can set it manually as static information.

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File services and Station apps are also things that we’ll want to setup right away, it saves us from doing it later. For me the most important file services are for Windows and FTP, so those are the ones for me.

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The final step is to decide on our drive setup. We have two drives at our disposal which leave us with RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, or single drive setups available. What you pick here comes down to your needs, each of them has their own advantages.

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Finally, the setup guide will let you take a final look at your setting and also go back and edit single parts should you have made an error. All that’s left now is to hit the Apply button.

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The NAS will now apply all the settings we have made and initialize the unit.

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Once it’s done it will reboot one more time before the NAS is ready for our full usage and entertainment.

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Once the NAS has rebooted, we get into the QTS system where we’re greeted with a little extra information on the new Android combo NAS units.

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If the NAS has an internet connection, it will also check if there should be a newer firmware available. QNAP is quick to release fixes and often adds new features and functionality to their devices, so there is a good chance that you’ll be prompted with such a notification. It is always the best to keep your NAS updated to latest firmware, both for security reasons but also to make sure you get the most out of your awesome NAS.

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The firmware update will take a little time, but you should rather do it right away than push it until later. You won’t get around it as it’s something you’ll want to do.

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Storage Options

Should you have changed your mind on your storage setup, then now would be the best time to change it – before we make a lot of changes and copy all our files onto the drives just to destroy them again.

The storage manager isn’t just there to create and delete volumes, it also gives access to drive information and tests.

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Clicking a drive will open up the drive details. There’s both a sumary page that instantly will tell you a drive’s condition, but there’s also the more advanced disk information available as well as SMART data. This is also the place where you can run SMART tests on your drives.

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There are a few settings hidden here too that enable you to set a temperature alarm for each drive as well as schedule SMART tests on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

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The Disks view gives a convininent look on the NAS where it also highlights where the selected drive is physically located within the unit. This helps a lot when you troubleshoot, add, remove, or replace drives. You also got quick access to disk information, health, and actions right here.

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The final page in the Storage Manager for the TAS-268 provides more detailed information on our current drive and volume setup. This is also the place we want to go right now to destroy our current drive array and create a new.

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From within the manage function, we can destroy the array, but we also get a lot of useful information here such as what volumes are on it, what shared folders that are located within the volume, and what apps are installed on it. Everything is well organized, easy to find, and quick to see. QNAP have really done a great job with their newest QTS version.

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I wanted to delete the volume, and I’ve done that which leaves me with an empty volume list. It is time to create a new one and that doesn’t require much effort.

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First we select which drives we would like to use for our new drive volume and what RAID mode we would like. The available RAID types depend on how many drives we select.

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I selected JBOD in this instance which gives me a 10.9TB volume capacity with my WD RED 6TB hard disk drives. You got a few file system options that you can change if you wish to do so and you can also create a new shared folder right away.

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And that’s all. Confirm your settings and hit the Finish button to apply your new settings and create a new volume. Next up – user, shares, services, and app configuration.

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Setup – Users, Groups, Shares, and Services


Up until now we only made our drive setup and got our administrator user, and that is something we need to change. The logical next step would be to create users, but we’ll skip that once and instead create user groups first. All the settings for this can be found under the Privilege Settings in the Control Panel.

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User Groups

There are a few default user groups and we can basically create as many more as we would like. User groups is an easy way to set permission to apps and folders for a lot of people at once.

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Creating a new user group doesn’t require more information than a name, but you can also change shared folder permissions and assign users directly from this page for what’s already created in those categories.

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From the user group list, you can view the group details, and change which users are assigned to them and what they have access to individually.

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Users

With the user groups created, it’s time to create all the users we need. With the ability to create as many users as you want, there is no need for account sharing or similar things and everyone can also have their own folders.

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Creating a new user requires two pieces of information, username, and password. Besides that, you can pretty much configure the entire user here at the creation dialog. You can add a profile picture, comment, phone number, and email address. You can also assign the new user to a group and set the folder and app permission here. But all that is optional.

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There can be many reasons to create a lot of users at once with similar names, but the most likely will be a company or schooling scenario.

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You can create a lot of users at once with very little effort thanks to this function that composes the usernames out of a prefix and numerical value. You decide how many users you want to create this way, but they’ll all be created with the same password.

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You can also create a private network share for each of these users.

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Depending on how many users you chose to create, the process can take a little time. We got to remember that we only have a dual-core CPU with 1.1GHz under the hood and this is an intensive task.

There is one function that I miss here and that is the ability to add all these batch-created users to a group right away

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We now have a bunch of users to play with and can move on.

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Well, almost. There is one more method for user creation and that is the import function. This method allows for more customization of each user and still keep it all simple. You can also export your current user list from here.

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Shared Folders

Shared folders are the backbone of your NAS and they are what will appear in your network environment for you to access. There are a bunch of pre-made folders depending on what apps you have installed and you can create a lot more that are named to your liking.

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Creating a new shared folder is easy, but also provides a lot of options besides the folder name. You can select which volume it should be created on, if you have multiple volumes, and also set user rights for this folder right away.

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Advanced settings include guest access rights and usage function. When marked as a Media folder the apps can index and use the content a lot easier, if that is what you’re going to place in the folder. Whether you want the network recycle bin turned on or off is your own choice, but I highly recommend to turn it on. Nothing worse than deleting a file by accident without the chance to recover it.

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You can also create shared folders directly from an ISO file. They will then appear as a shared folder that gives you easy and direct access to the ISO files content.

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Within the Shared Folders panel we also find the Advanced Permissions – whether you want to enable or disable this is again a personal choice.

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The final folder setting is for folder aggregation, but that’s only a feature when you only use Microsoft or Samba network connections.

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Quota

User quotas can come in very handy when you got users who like to abuse storage abilities and it can prevent you from running out of space. Limit your users and keep enough spare for your own needs.

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Network Services

A network attached storage device is no good if we can’t connect to it, but luckily that isn’t a problem as QNAP has all the bases covered here.

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Starting out with the basic Microsoft networking which is the most commonly used method for sharing files across the network in home environments.

We have basic settings for name and workgroup, but we also got more advanced settings such as WINS and NTLMv2 as well as the option to select which Samba version should be used.

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Apple users can also use Samba to connect, but the QNAP NAS’ also support AFP for users that prefer this method.

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And Linux/Unix users are naturally covered with the NFS service.

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FTP is one of my preferred methods of transferring files between systems because it’s so simple yet allows so much. We got a fairly good FTP service built directly into QTS with plenty of options to satisfy most users needs.

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Telnet and SSH are used more by advanced users who are familiar with the Linux prompt – as that’s what you’ll connect to.

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SNMP is also supported and this again is most likely a feature for the more advanced users.

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UPnP discovery service save can save you a lot of work manually configuring your network. With this enabled, you have one thing less to worry about.

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Bonjour discovery service is also supported and it’s great to see that we have the option of what we want to broadcast and what not.

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The final service is the Network Recycle Bin that is a very useful feature. Nothing worse than accidentally deleting a file only to discover that you can’t restore it.

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Setup – There is more, Hardware, Power, and Add-Ons


Hardware and Power

There are quite a few settings for your hardware such as when the drives should enter standby mode and you can set various alarms to notify you.

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The alarm buzzer can be quite loud depending on the position, so it’s nice that there is a function to turn it off for startup and shutdown events besides system events. No need to wake a loved one because you shut the server down.

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The smart fan feature will automatically adjust the built-in fan’s speed depending on the units needs. No high-spinning and loud fans that will ruin the experience here.

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You can define the behavior on power loss

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And you can schedule when the system should turn itself off, restart, and even when it should power on by itself. Save more on that electric bill by not having unnecessary units running when they aren’t accessed anyway.

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Network

On the TAS-268, we only have one LAN port which limits the settings a bit. We still have all the basics, can set DHCP or manual information, define proxy connections, and set up DDNS services for easy remote connections.

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The most common DDNS services are supported, but if this is a feature that you need, you should take a look at the myQNAPcloud instead. It is far more advanced and allows for a lot more than just remote connections from anywhere.

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System Information

Keep an eye on your system through the System Station. Firmware version, serial numbers, and so forth, all can be found here in a convenient way.

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You have a quick view on the network too where you also can check on lost packets besides the settings.

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The system service tab is a quick way to see what services are running on your server. This is a lot faster to check than navigate from point to point through all the functions that QTS offers.

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Keep an eye on your hardware and temperature.

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And a live resource monitor is also included.

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Personal Cloud and Synchronization

The Qsync central station has gotten quite far and it’s an amazing piece of software that makes file synchronization across devices as simple as everything else.

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If you aren’t familiar with this app yet, there is a built-in guide that will explain how to set it up and get going.

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There are quite a few settings that either can be user specific or you can set global rules for everyone.

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You can quickly get a view of both active users as well as all the ones created in your domain or on the device itself.

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Have a look at devices that are connected with the NAS such as your smartphone and tablets.

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There’s naturally also an event log where you can check up on what has been going on, catch possible errors, and take the appropriate actions by notifying the users about it.

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Team folders make cooperation between projects a lot easier and it’s a great tool to have for SMBs, but it’s also one that can come in handy for larger families or to group your own devices.

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You can quickly view your shared folders too and enable them for syncing.

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Keeping an eye on shared file links is another important aspect and that’s as easy as the rest with Qsync Central Station 2.0

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Version control is an important feature when working with synchronization, especially when multiple users work with the same sets of files.

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You can also define how many versions you want to keep in the history and check how much space has been used for it here.

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QNAP’s myQNAPcloud system is so much more than a simple dynamic DNS service as you’ll see below. You need to register an account at QNAP in order to get going with this feature, but that’s both free and quickly done. Once created you’re ready to use all the advanced features and enjoy an easy connection from pretty much any device to your NAS.

 

And much more

There are a lot more functions in the TAS-268 such as Antivirus.

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You also get a web server with virtual host support.

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An SQL server powered by MariaDB.

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And the iTunes server for the apple users.

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The Media Streaming add-on makes, yes you guessed it, media streaming as easy as it could be.

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There is something for everything and everyone.

App Center

Shouldn’t all that be enough yet, then you’ll find plenty more apps and functions within the App Center.

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Media, File, Download, and Backup Stations


The Station apps add a lot of functionality to your NAS that helps you organize and enjoy all the content you are storing on the device.

Video Station

The video station is as the name suggest an application to sort all your videos into easy to recognize groups and collections. When you launch the app the first time, you’ll be welcomed with a small introduction how it all works. You can either click your way through it or close the popup box to get started right away.

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Within the settings, you can add folders and define what type of content that have in order to get it listed properly. In this case, I have copied some of my TV show collection onto the NAS in order to showcase this feature.

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Besides content filter and social network binding, the app also supports openSubtitle settings for your videos.

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Once you have defined your folders and refresh the view, you’re presented with a list of all your content, easy to find and shown with thumbnails who’s size can be adjusted smaller and larger.

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The list view will give you more details than the thumbnail view and also tell you the resolution, codec, and container format besides the title and length.

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Photo Station

The photo station will most likely be the most used Station app and just as with the Video Station, you’re greeted with a welcome guide the first time you open up the app.

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While it is called a Photo Station, it can also handle videos as seen below. Importing new photos into your collections is as easy as hitting a button and selecting the files. The app will do the rest.

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There’s a similar settings system again with content filter, social network binding, and backup.

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There are two main views in the Photo Station where one lets you manage your content with ease and the other one lets you watch it in various ways, including full-screen slideshow modes.

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File Station

The File Station helps with the local file system and also comes with the ability to connect to networked resources. This was a very easy way for me to connect directly to my own NAS and copy over the files I wanted on this one – all without the use of my PCs resources. There isn’t much to say to this as is – it’s a file manager, but running on your NAS and with background operations.

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Download Station

While the photo and video station are amazing apps, the download station might be one of the most used features ever. Your NAS is running all the time anyway, so why not let it take care of all your downloads for you. Most of the time you’ll end up copying the downloaded files onto the NAS anyway, so you might as well download there directly.

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You can schedule download times so it doesn’t hog your bandwidth while you use it for something else, which is a very useful feature.

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You can download from HTTP, FTP, and BitTorrent locations, have it search RSS feeds, and install additional add-ons too.

QNAP-TAS268-SS-download station 3

QNAP-TAS268-SS-download station 4

Backup Station

The backup station is the centralized place to set up your backup jobs – no matter what they might, what direction they should go. It’s everything collected in one place for your convenience.

QNAP-TAS268-SS-backup station 1

QNAP-TAS268-SS-backup station 2

QNAP-TAS268-SS-backup station 3

QNAP-TAS268-SS-backup station 4

QNAP-TAS268-SS-backup station 5

QNAP-TAS268-SS-backup station 6

QNAP-TAS268-SS-backup station 7

QNAP-TAS268-SS-backup station 8

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Direct Usage with Android


The real twist of QNAP’s TAS-268 NAS is the direct and out-of-the-box Android system to be hooked up directly to your TV. This brings all the advantages and millions of apps and games that Google’s operating system has to offer directly into your living room.

The first thing to show here is how it looks when Android has been disabled. You don’t need any other system in order to connect to the QTS system and enable it, instead, you simply press and hold the one-touch copy button on the front for 6 seconds and the Android system will be started. This is however only needed if you disabled it.

QNAP_TAS268-Photo-Android IMG_2178

The boot sequence is much like the one that you’re used to from your smartphones and tablets, first you get the Android logo and then you’ll need to log in.

QNAP_TAS268-Photo-Android IMG_2180

The system doesn’t require a pin number or something like that as your phone does, instead you log in with your normal QTS users.

QNAP_TAS268-Photo-Android IMG_2191

Should there be any updates available for your NAS, then you get instant notifications here so you’ll never miss a new feature or function. A simple click to confirm that you want to upgrade and the process is running – from Android on your TV.

QNAP_TAS268-Photo-Android IMG_2185

For me, there were multiple updates available at the time of my tests and Android itself also had an update. Nothing to worry about here, the system handles it all itself. You only need to confirm that you want to update, or decline if you don’t want to.

QNAP_TAS268-Photo-Android IMG_2186

A first time setup requires a few basic information, just as any other system.

QNAP_TAS268-Photo-Android IMG_2187

You can connect and login with your normal google account which also will give you access to all your previous purchased items from Google Play. Email, calendars and what else google has to offer will also be available this way.

QNAP_TAS268-Photo-Android IMG_2188

There are a few privilege settings to define, and then we’re done and can get started.

QNAP_TAS268-Photo-Android IMG_2190

The Android dashboard is beautifully designed and works the same way as you’re used to. Notifications are at the top, menu and navigation points at the bottom, and everything else in the middle. Swipe to the sides to switch screen, launch apps, browse the web, or enjoy a show. The choice is yours.

QNAP_TAS268-Photo-Android IMG_2192

Once we have updated all the apps and installed what we want, there isn’t much left to do then enjoy your beautiful new NAS.

QNAP_TAS268-Photo-Android IMG_2193

Photos, Music, and Video are some of the main functions of a NAS and they’re already there. Just click the appropriate icon and get going.

QNAP_TAS268-Photo-Android IMG_2194

Should you want even more functionality, then it’s time to visit Google Play. Download your favourite games, apps, tools, and gimmicks to entertain you in the living room.

QNAP_TAS268-Photo-Android IMG_2195

You can also get new wallpapers and other customizations.

QNAP_TAS268-Photo-Android IMG_2196

The settings page also comes in a familiar layout, but the available settings are a little different than you’re used to from your mobile devices – this is simply due to the available hardware and features.

QNAP_TAS268-Photo-Android IMG_2197

Now it’s time for me to relax a little bit, so I’m opening up my Media Browser in order to watch a show or two.

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A couple episodes of Alpha is never a wrong idea, and I think it’s a well-deserved break.

QNAP_TAS268-Photo-Android IMG_2201

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Testing Method


Most of the hardware for NAS testing isn’t an important factor when it comes to benchmarks, most of it comes down to the network infrastructure. I will be teaming the two Intel Gigabit Ethernet ports on my test bench and connect them to my managed switch. The same will be done with the available LAN ports on the NAS, which should give a great testing environment.

As part of the testing, the NAS is connected through a D-Link DXS-1210-12TC managed 10GBase switch and then to our test bench to give the best real world setup test that we can and the NAS itself will be packed with Western Digital’s latest RED NAS drives. Intel’s NASPT software does require us to drop the memory down to 2GB, as using any more would lead to data caching and skew the results.

I will be testing the NAS box performance under each of the RAID options that it has available as well just a single drive. Full volume encryption and shared folder encryption will also be tested where available, to check what impact it has on the performance. The USB 3.0 speeds will be measured with our trusted Angelbird SSD2go Pocket drive.

SuperMicro_X11SAE-Photo-storage and network test setup

Test system:

Disks in Product:

QNAP_TAS268-Photo-ready to rock

Network Setup:

SuperMicro_X11SAE-Photo-network

We would like to thank our sponsors for supplying us with the components needed for the test system as well as drives.

Software used:

With a device of this sort having so many different applications, Intel’s NASPT software covers all the bases and also gives us a set of results that we will be able to utilize and give a benchmark against other similar systems in the future.

Intel NASPT (Network Attached Storage Performance Toolkit) performs its test by transferring varying sizes and quantities of data to and from the device based on twelve different scenarios.

Intel_NASPT

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HD Video Playback


HD Video playback is a read test, where a single 2 Gb file is read in 256 kB blocks sequentially from the drive. This simulates where a 720p HD video is being watched across the network to a media player on the other end.

QNAP_TAS268-Chart-01_video

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2x HD Video Playback


2x HD Video Playback works with exactly the same data set as the first HD Video test, however, this time the same content is streamed twice from the NAS box simulating two simultaneous streams being made to external media players.

QNAP_TAS268-Chart-02_video 2x

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4x HD Video Playback


In the same way that the 2x Video Playback streams to the equivalent of 2 external media players at the same time, the test here doubles that again up to a simulated 4 media players.

QNAP_TAS268-Chart-03_video 4x

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HD Video Record


The HD Video Record test is, as the name suggests, a write test to the NAS box. A single 2 GB file is written to the device in 256 kB blocks sequentially to the disk.

QNAP_TAS268-Chart-04_video rec

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HD Playback & Record


The HD playback and record test now put the drive under the same single record and playback tests as before, but now at the same time. This will factor for the quick changes needed to switch between reading and writing two large blocks of data across the network to the device.

QNAP_TAS268-Chart-05_video and rec

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Content Creation


For content creation, Intel have simulated access to via video creation applications. This is made up of 98 files with 12 MB reads and 14 MB writes in varying sizes of blocks. The activity is predominantly non-sequential with the majority of access time made up of writing to the drives. There are quiet periods of read/write activity interrupted with busy periods to present a difficult workload on the drives.

QNAP_TAS268-Chart-06_content

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Office Productivity


The office productivity simulation is very similar to the content creation, with a total of 607 files written to and read from the drive. A total of 1.4 GB of data is written to and read from the drive with a close balance between each made – the majority of write access is made up of 1 kB writes.

QNAP_TAS268-Chart-07-office

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File Copy To NAS


This test quite simply put copies a single large file from the test system to the NAS box to show how well the system can sustain a single write speed. The 1.4 GB file is copied to the drive and written in 64 kB blocks.

QNAP_TAS268-Chart-08-file to nas

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File Copy From NAS


File copy from the NAS works in exactly the same way as the copy test, but it works in the opposite direction. The single 1.4 GB file is read off the NAS in 64 kB blocks.

QNAP_TAS268-Chart-09-file from nas

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Directory Copy To NAS


In the directory copy to NAS test, a directory tree representing that of a typical commercially available office suite is copied to the NAS to trace the bulk copy of a complex directory. A total of 2833 files making up 247 MB are moved, but the file sizes vary considerably with an average size of 41.4 kB. Due to the varying sizes of the files, only around 50% of the writes are sequential.

QNAP_TAS268-Chart-10-dir to nas

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Directory Copy From NAS


In the same way that the file copy from NAS traces the same file back across to the test system, the directory copy from NAS does exactly the same but to the entire directory that it copied across previously.

QNAP_TAS268-Chart-11-dir from nas

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Photo Album


Last of all is a test based on a photo album. When a photo album is viewed on-screen, only the images that you see are loaded from the drive and so when you scroll through the album, the new images have to be fetched and read. The album here contains 169 photos with varying file sizes based on the size, quality, and detail in the image. Reading the files in a photo album puts an unusual read load upon the drive as the metadata is read, a thumbnail constructed and finally the image viewed.

QNAP_TAS268-Chart-12-photo

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Average Throughput


This page shows the average throughput from each of the previous 12 tests in one and it can serve as an easy comparison between products.

QNAP_TAS268-Chart-20_average

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Final Thoughts


Pricing

At the time of writing, the QNAP TAS-268 can be yours for just $204.99 at NewEgg, £222.94 at Overclockers UK, or €199.34 through Geizhals.

Overview

We’ve seen more than one NAS with unique features and shapes from QNAP and the TAS-268 continues down that road and provides us with something that hasn’t been seen like this before. The dual system with QTS and Android hits a sweet spot in the market and automatically appeals to a broad audience. At the core, we have the renowned and feature filled QTS NAS operating system with everything that this entitles which then is coupled with an Android system to be run directly on your TV or monitor via HDMI.

The addition of Android opens up a whole new world for your living room and multimedia needs with access to Google Play and the millions of apps and games you can find there. There aren’t many things that you can’t do this way anymore and at the same time, you save yourself the costs of an Android set-top box for the living room. Play games, stream media, surf the web, connect to your IoT devices – there really isn’t much of a limitation.

The hardware isn’t the strongest, but the dual-core ARM CPU performed nicely in our benchmarks. It wasn’t a slow experience working with Android either, but it should be something to keep in mind for those who wish to use it for gaming. But board games, candy crush, farming games, and the all-time favourite card games will run sweet on this system.

I really liked this dual system from the moment QNAP first told me about it, but at the same time, I was a little sceptical about how far it actually would be useful on a day to day basis. But after having had the TAS-268 running for quite some time, I can say that I love it. It gives an added functionality to my living room that otherwise would require me to keep a tablet with me at all times, which I always forget somewhere, or far more complex setups. QNAP solves it all in one and it just works. Whether you want to use the included IR remote or attach a keyboard and mouse, or even a game controller, it’ll work like a charm.

The addition of the SD card reader to the front is another thing that I really love. It adds one on top of the USB 3.0 port and allows for easy storage that can be replaced at any time.

Pros:

  • Dual OS all the advantages of Android on top of QTS
  • Dual-Core CPU w. 2GB RAM
  • Easy setup and configuration
  • Millions of apps and games available through QNAP and Google
  • HDMI, USB 3.0, and SD Card slot
  • Compact and tool-less
  • Included IR remote control

Cons:

  • CPU might be on the low end for demanding Android apps such as AAA games.

“QNAP’s TAS-268 fills a void with it’s unique combination of a NAS and an Android set top box in one device. That amount of functionality out of the box isn’t something that we have seen before.”

innovation-award2

QNAP TAS-268 QTS and Android Combo NAS Review

Thank You QNAP for providing us with this review sample.

Article Index

  1. Introduction
  2. A closer look
  3. System Specifications, Features & Power Consumption
  4. Setup - Initialization and Storage Options
  5. Setup - Users, Groups, Shares, and File Services
  6. Setup - There is more, Add-Ons & External Devices
  7. Media, File, Download, and Backup Stations
  8. Direct Usage with Android
  9. Testing Method
  10. HD Video Playback
  11. 2x HD Video Playback
  12. 4x HD Video Playback
  13. HD Video Record
  14. HD Playback & Record
  15. Content Creation
  16. Office Productivity
  17. File Copy to NAS
  18. File Copy from NAS
  19. Directory Copy to NAS
  20. Directory Copy from NAS
  21. Photo Album
  22. Average Throughput
  23. Final Thoughts
  24. View All

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