Summary and Conclusion
Clearly, QNAP has tucked all of its SMB / SOHO features into a NAS device that's perfectly suitable for at-home users. It's a unique take on a popular product, and frankly, we think it works -- if you're in the target market, that is. All things considered, the TS-119 Turbo Pro is still more of a small business-type device than something a Joe Six-Pack would pick up to store excess photos of his kids, but for prosumers and at-home professionals that can't afford to lose precious multimedia files, it's a real winner.
Unlike most consumer-level NAS devices, this one is built for heavy usage. It's evident from the very moment you dive into the CoverFlow-esque Web interface, and it's glaringly apparent by the time you forget that you're using a networked device and not a drive that's directly connected. It handles all of the basic NAS tasks with poise -- backups, speedy file transfers, group / user account management, etc. -- but also throws in more professional services such as iSCSI and a rugged, thick aluminum enclosure. Heck, QNAP even lets you choose the hard drive that will reside within.
We found the choice to leave fans out of the equation to be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, the drive itself was stupendously quiet. We could hear the HDD loud and clear over the NAS itself, so make sure you select a quiet hard drive if that ticking sound grates your nerves. The price for that silence, however, is heat. After around 4GB of transfers and about 45 total minutes of heavy usage, the drive was so hot that we couldn't touch the black casing for more than a few seconds before it just became too uncomfortable. It never got "bottom-of-a-hot-laptop" hot, but it was steaming nonetheless. We doubt it would ever get toasty enough to mar any devices you may stack it on top of, but we would have definitely approved of it more had it remained cool enough to rest our palms on for more than a brief moment.
We would've also enjoyed a few more backup options. In particular, we wish you could map the "One-Touch Backup" button to any backup command, giving users the ability to just mash the button as they check out for the evening and allow it to begin a backup. Also, we experienced a few "vanishing files" using the web interface (and only the web interface, just to clarify) that we never could figure out. We could always re-send the file and cross our fingers, but considering that QNAP is aiming for the "time is money" crowd, we expected more here. In the business world, there's no time for uploading a file to a NAS only to hope it arrives. It better arrive, every time, and quickly.
Overall, the TS-119 Turbo Pro is a very good NAS device with one of the snappiest Web interfaces we've ever seen, not to mention transfer rates that are near the head of the class. It also exhibited top-notch cross platform compatibility, which would prove exceptionally useful in mixed system scenarios with Linux, Mac and PC machines accessing it. We do wish the $300 MSRP was a touch lower, as you'll likely end up spending $400 or more by the time you purchase a decent hard drive with 1TB+ of space. Furthermore, $400 (for the NAS + HDD) looks even steeper when you realize that there is no option for RAID since there's just one bay. Yeah, you can connect an external HDD to add space, but it's just not the same. If cost is no concern and you genuinely have no need for more than one bay in your NAS drive, we can't help but recommend this unit. But, if you're watching your pennies and would appreciate a bit more legroom in the expandability department, we can't say the TS-119 Turbo NAS is the device for you. No doubt, the line between black and white here is pretty clear to us, and you'll likely know right away if the offering that QNAP has assembled is fitting for you.