After thorough inspections of both the QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station and QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station, we ended up rather impressed. The amount of features and functionality squeezed into such small packages is impressive. With UPnP capabilities, advanced file server capabilities, excellent networking options, and robust user management, both units are well equipped for home or small business consumers.
First, let's talk about the QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station. This unit supports a broad range of hard drives and uses an extremely low amount of power. The Gigabit Ethernet with Jumbo Frame support was a nice touch as was support for eSATA for further expanding the storage capacity of the TS-101. The body of the unit itself was designed well, with an intuitive front bezel, and the body was easily opened for hard drive installation. The One Touch Copy is a handy feature, as was the unit's powerful web-based interface. Being able to utilize the system as a print server is an added bonus, although the feature is limited to straight printing and will not support multifunction fax / copy / scanner / printer devices, or more than one printer.
The Quick Setup guide was decent, but the electronic manual on the setup CD was much more thorough. It was disappointing to see such little documentation available for the TwonkyVision software, however, and the manual itself seems geared for users already with some familiarity of its features. The installation software was down right foolproof, walking the user through the entire process with a well laid out script. The NetBak Replicator software was not the greatest solution, especially with its nag screen that appeared with every reboot of the PC.
The QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station is the more affordable one of the two models we looked at, selling for approximately $260 at a popular online reseller. When you consider all of the functionality that comes at that price point, the QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station seems like an attractive option. In the end, this unit delivered on virtually all fronts and it has the room to expand as your NAS needs grow.
Building on the positives of the QNAP 9-in-1 NAS Server TS-101 Turbo Station, the QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station trades eSATA support for a second hard drive bay, while also adding Hot Swapable capabilities to the mix. The design of the TS-201 also accommodates a broad range of hard drive configuration options including RAID 0, RAID 1 and Linear RAID.
The physical design of the QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station was very well thought out except for a sharp edge in the main opening. The tray design for each hard drive was easily accessed and very secure when the drives were in place. When in place, the finished bezel added to the units overall aesthetic, although we did find the mounting thumb screws so low profile that they were hard to tighten without a screw driver.
The documentation of the QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station was adequate, but ideally it should be written as if the target user knows nothing about its features. Adding support for a second hard disk tacks on an additional $100 to the price tag compared to the TS-101. For about $360, the QNAP NAS Server TS-201 Turbo Station adds several RAID options and support for two 750GB hard drives, for a total of up to 1.5TB of storage. Overall, the added cost seems worth it, although it would have been nice to see QNAP keep the eSATA support as well.