QNAP Turbo NAS TS-269L review: Twin-bay drive enclosure at the heart of your media centre

The QNAP Turbo NAS TS-269L is a twin bay networked drive enclosure with impressive specifications and solid build. Many consumer NAS drives now boast capabilities that, not that long ago, would have classified them as enterprise level. The TS-269L is one such device.

Reading through the specs and capabilities of the drive, it quickly becomes apparent that what you get for your money is essentially a PC. It’s powered by a 1.86 GHz Intel Atom Processor, the kind you’ll find in some tablet computers, netbook computers and mini PCs. This is backed up with 1GB of upgradable RAM and 512 KB of flash memory.

The TS-269L’s clean, industrial styling is reminiscent of a small tower PC too. A black plastic faceplate at the front gives you access to the twin drive trays. The main body of the unit is simple brushed aluminium. It’s a utilitarian, frill-free look that could easily fit into most offices.

Some NAS enclosures hide the drive trays behind a door or plate. Not so here. The two bays are a design feature, enabling you to hot swap either 3.5 or 2.5 inch SATA drives with little fuss. The trays are stable aluminium - a clear improvement over the standard plastic you so often find. The unit’s maximum capacity at present is 8TB, 4TB in each bay. These can be used in either RAID 0 for access to the full storage capacity or RAID 1 for redundancy - storage on one drive, mirroring of data on the other. 

 

The TS-269L is an impressive twin bay storage enclosure with 8TB capacity and Time Machine support.

One area that catapults QNAP way ahead of the competition is connectivity. The TS-269L 4 USB 2.0 ports, 3 USB 3.0 ports, an eSATA slot, two gigabit Ethernet ports and an HDMI output. We’ve tested laptops with fewer slots. 

Setting up the QNAP NAS is relatively easy thanks to its built in operating system. In fact, it’s at that point you realise (gasp) you might not need your Mac at all. The 269L can be configured as a standalone media centre, with XBMC built in. You just use the HDMI slot to connect up your telly. The device can also be configured as a standalone web server or FTP server too.

OUR VERDICT

We’ve tested several NAS drives lately and the QNAP TurboNAS TS-269L competes well in terms of build, features and specs. It’s not a budget choice though, retailing at an enclosure-only price that some rivals beat with fully populated models. If you’re a small business or serious home media enthusiast, it’s worth the extra.

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