Thecus has a history of evolving their products over time through software and firmware updates, but never before have I seen a NAS start out as refined as the new N5200XXX. Granted, most of the components of the N5200XXX come from other products under the Thecus umbrella. The casing was used in 2009 for the N5500 and the processor, RAM and motherboard are shared between numerous Thecus NAS products, but the combination of these hardware components and the new Version 5 software rounds out the deal.
Even better is the price. At less than 600 USD the Thecus N5200XXX costs less than the INEO I-NA559N Pro we compared it to today. Given that the Thecus has more refined software, more hardware features and more module add-ons right out of the box, I'd say the Thecus is a much better buy.
When it came to file transfer performance, the Thecus N5200XXX was a winner as well. In many tests the N5200XXX simply outperformed the competition and in some cases was able to do so with almost twice the transfer speed. Given that both systems use components that are similar, this really goes to enforce the advanced state the N5200XXX is in even though the model was just released a few months ago.
Of course, the real standout feature is the software and that's something I can't simply rate with a benchmark. At this time there are two companies that have excellent software packages, QNAP and Thecus and these two are fierce competitors in this market. With QNAP, if you want to install module features you need to download the module, unpack it, make sure you have the other modules for what you want to install on there and then make sure you have everything setup correctly. Some of the more advanced modules require two or more.
With the new Thecus Version 5 you just go into the NAS through your browser, select what you want installed on the NAS and hit GO. At that point the NAS does all the work including downloading the latest module revision, installing the module and doing all of the grunt work. After a few short minutes the entire package is ready for you to use.
The Thecus N5200XXX also supports iTunes and DLNA devices. I can't even count the number of DLNA devices that now reside in my home, but they can all connect to the N5200XXX and play back movies, music and photos quickly. Just a few nights ago I setup four systems and had each playing back a different video stream to see if I could make the N5200XXX faultier, but it kept right on playing. I guess next time I'll have to try a little harder.
There is one thing that I really don't like, though. That would be the front plastic door. It takes away from the overall look of the NAS and you can't lock it. You can lock each drive into the enclosure, but that wouldn't stop someone from shutting your NAS off by the power button. Then again, if someone wanted it turned off, they could just unplug the unit in the back.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Specifications, Availability and Pricing]
- Page 3 [Software Features]
- Page 4 [The Packaging]
- Page 5 [The Thecus N5200XXX]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - HD Playback]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - HD Record]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks - Content]
- Page 10 [Benchmarks - Copy]
- Page 11 [Final Thoughts]
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