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QNAP TS-453 Mini review

Tom Morgan
11 Jul 2015
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
470
inc VAT

Incredibly flexible and very fast, but the TS-453mini is expensive for a barebones NAS

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Specifications

Capacity: N/A, 3.5" hard disk bays (free): 4 (4), Networking: 2x 10/100/1000 Ethernet, DLNA media server: Yes, Print server: Yes, Dimensions (WXHXD): 210x150x200mm, Weight: 2kg

We often associate NAS devices with home offices and small businesses, but QNAP's TS-453mini is as much designed for the living room as the study. With a sleek, glossy black finish, compact dimensions and near-silent operation, it's a NAS you wouldn't mind leaving on display next to your TV.

The TS-453mini is ideally suited to the living room, too, with an HDMI video output on the back and a remote control included in the box, with all the playback controls you would need for watching video straight from the NAS.

You don't even need a PC to set it up; after attaching a mouse and keyboard directly to the NAS you can format disks, install QNAP's comprehensive operating system and share it to your network using your TV as a display. A QR code on the side of the unit points you to a website that downloads the latest version of the operating system automatically.

It's easy to fit hard disks to the NAS. The four hot-swappable 3.5in drive bay caddies underneath the magnetic lid are oriented vertically to save space, and simply lift out on a quick-release hinge. You'll need screws to fit 2.5in disks or SSDs, but 3.5in disks are held in place with tool-free fixtures. The NAS has no shortage of connections; as well as two Gigabit Ethernet ports, there are two USB ports on the rear for a mouse and keyboard, two USB3 ports for webcams, printers or TV tuners, and another USB3 port on the front for quickly connecting flash drives or USB hard disks.

Once the NAS is set up on your local network, you can access the QTS desktop through a PC web browser or through your TV. The TS-453mini has its own simplified custom UI for the big screen, complete with familiar programs such as Google Chrome, Spotify, YouTube and even cult strategy game Wesnoth, although you'll need a mouse and keyboard to use most apps effectively. The exception is Kodi, the media player that grew out of the XBMC project - it's ideal for picking films from your collection and playing instantly, without having to stream them to a second device. Full HD videos played flawlessly, with no stutter or buffering.

Once you start digging into the QTS web interface you realise just how comprehensive it is. We had no trouble setting up file shares with access rights for individual users, with CIFS/SAMBA file services for Windows, AFP for Mac OS X, NFS for Linux and FTP for web browsers, so ensuring all devices can properly access your files.

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