As one of the biggest and most popular brands in the NAS market, it’s not a surprise that QNAP has big plans for the upcoming year. A few months back, we all learned about the freshest NAS servers for Q3 and the rest of them; yet one seemed to have piqued the interest of a lot of home users, and this was the QNAP TS-251B. And with all the similar devices that seemed to have popped out so suddenly, the TS-251B NAS seemed to be the most relatable product to business and home users.

This time, we’re going to check out the QNAP TS-251B which is one of the affordable NAS devices from the QNAP. We’re going to check if its performance, features, and everything else about the device is appealing to your needs.

QNAP TS-251B Review – What’s in the Box?

When it comes to the packaging of devices, we always assume that QNAP provides perfect balance between an aesthetically pleasing design together with information. Given that a lot of NAS enthusiasts will order the QNAP TS-251B  via online retailer, it would be a snap to think that the retail packaging would be overlooked. However, compared to what we’ve assumed, the box of this TS-251B greatly pleased us since it displayed a lot of useful information and external appeal.

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Upon opening the package, the first thing you will see is the QNAP TS-251B itself. And along with the device, you will find other items present which includes the mains power lead, extra SSD screws for setup, one external power supply, an instructional manual, first-time setup directions, as well as warranty information.

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The Product

QNAP TS-251B Review

The design and style of this new TS-251B from QNAP may appear very familiar if you’ve been using similar products from the brand. This is because it has the same exterior, materials, and shape as the TS-253Be. But what makes this stick out from the rest is its silver and white textured design. Honestly, we love its look and we think that it’s way more attractive than the other similar devices around.

The front portion of this NAS device lacks an LCD panel which is present on the TS-253Be; however, it does maintain the LED lights that tells you about the system access, network activity, drive health, and the system status. Further down the device, you will find the USB 3.0 and USB one touch copy button. We’ve always loved QNAP and their inclusion of this one touch USB backup feature which is found on most of their NAS devices. We’re actually pleased that they were able to maintain this little feature on this very affordable TS-251B.

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Now if you remove the sliding front panel, you’ll see the SSD and the hard drive Media bays specifically for the RAID storage in this device.

The QNAP TS-251B can function with one or both media bays that support and populate its own RAID setup. This is without the need for a host PC or Mac to maintain this. You can also operate via JBOD, RAID 1, or RAID 0 environment on this NAS device, as well as link a USB expansion device to expand your repetitious configuration to the RAID 5, 6, and 10 as needed. Each of the trays present features a screwless design which means that you won’t need to have extra tools to set up the hard drives. However, if you want to install your own SSD, then you will definitely need to utilize the screws that are included in the package. The design of the chassis is extremely compact and measures a good 16.7 x 10.5 x 22.5 centimeters.

If you’re looking at the sides of this device, you will see extra ventilation spots to maintain the airflow within the device, keeping it constant. Right at the base of this TS-251B, you will find more ventilation which is specifically for the SSD media and hard drive.

In the TS-251B, you will see the memory upgrade slots when you remove the hard drive media. These slots let you expand the RAM on this device to 8GB or 16GB. It is definitely a spot that you’d want to check out if you plan to utilize this QNAP TS-251B as a virtual device or for  surveillance use in the Surveillance Station or QVR Pro above 15 or so cameras.

With factors such as the SSD cache upgrades, as well as the 10GbE becoming affordable, it is very attractive to have this PCIe slot that will upgrade your NAS either now or on a later time. It’s also really great to know that by installing the QNAP QM2 card series, you’ll get to install the QXG-10-G1T 10Gbe card in this device, a second card in your editing PC, so you’ll have a 10GBe editing TS-251B device for video and photo professionals which is a really good thing.

The TS-251B also features an HDMI 1.4b port so it can open up a vast number of applications that can be run through HDMI, as well as support IR remote controls, keyboard & mice, and mobile remotes such as the QRemote. Just recently, the brand released some NAS devices without any HDMIs and has favored to inviting users to install their own GPU cards. It’s safe to say that you’re definitely getting a well-rounded device for media use that supports both Emby and Plex Media server, plus supporting numerous first party multimedia applications coming from QNAP.

The TS-251B from QNAP mixes multimedia entertainment and secure data storage in just a single device. It comes with a PCIe slot and this TS-251B from QNAP is the brand’s very first home / SOHO NAS device that lets you freely extend its functionality, use, and potential applications. You will be able to install a QNAP QM2 card to have M.W SSD caching / 10GbE connectivity, together with utilizing Qtier auto-tiering storage to boost the entire system’s performance. You’ll also get to install a wireless network card to be able to turn this NAS device into a wireless access point. Or, it can also wirelessly stream all your multimedia in your home.

The TS-251B also supports the dual channel H.264 hardware transcoding and decoding which lets you fully enjoy viewing NAS media files seamlessly across different types of devices.

This NAS device is powered by the 14nm Intel Celeron J-3355 dual core 2.0GHz processor, 2GB / 4GB DDR-3L RAM, one Gigabit LAN port, plus a supporting SATA 6Gb/s drive. With that, this TS-251B from QNAP gives you dependable and efficient read / write speed, while also providing Intel AES-NI hardware accelerated encryption to guarantee the security and protection of sensitive information that is on the NAS device. Moreover, the TS-251B also supports snapshots to let you and other users recover data when sudden accidents like deletion, modification, or attacks from ransomware occurs.

Product Features

PCIe slot to Enhance the Functionality of your NAS

The TS-251B has a PCIe expansion slot to extend the current functionality and possible applications of your NAS. When you install a QNAP QM2 card, this will give your M.2 SSD caching / 10GbE connectivity and utilize with Qtier tiered storage to enhance the device’s performance.

A Custom Private Wireless Network to Meet your Requisites

Install the Wireless AP Station application and the QWA-AC2600 so that the TS-251B will turn into a high performing wireless access point which you can connect to multiple devices. The QWA-AC2600 can also be utilized to extend the coverage of your wireless network. It comes with useful features such as the NAT and DHCp which are both provided by the Network and Virtual Switch app.

This is why you can use the NAS for various applications to deliver fast connectivity that is also secure and has low-latency to your home or workplace. You will need to install the Container Station for the Wireless AP Station to be able to work on your NAS device.

Multi-point File Backup, Synchronization, and Access

The TS-251B keeps your files and data specifically in one place while supporting SMB / CIFS, AFP and NFS protocols. This is for you to easily share files across Mac, Linux / UNIX, and Windows devices. Combined with Qsync, files that are uploaded to the TS-251B will be available to each of the connected devices including laptops, computers, and mobile phones. Hybrid Backup Sync allows you to easily backup and sync data on the NAS.

10GbE Switch to Upgrade your Network

QNAP’s 10GbE / NBASE-T switches let you quickly boost your network at a very affordable price. When you use the 10GbE network, you can enjoy extremely fast transfer speed rates; you can also control bandwidth demanding tasks such as virtualization. Aside from those, you will also be given access to the NAS files via multiple workstations which is ideal for multimedia and video editing. QNAP also provides 10GbE expansion card for the TS-251B, as well as Windows and Linux computers so you can enjoy high-speed LAN environments.

4K Transcoding in Real Time

The TS-251B features advanced Intel HD Graphics. It supports real time video transcoding and dual channel 4K H.264 hardware decoding. It allows you to convert videos to universal file formats so these can be played using different devices. You can also watch high definition 4K at 30FPS media files via HDTV by using the HDMI output. Another option is to stream media files with Plex Media Server to your mobile phones and other streaming devices such as Apple TV, Roku, DLNA, and more. You can configure the QNAP RM-IR004 remote control to set various actions of each buttons and make your NAS experience more convenient. The remote control is a NAS accessory that is sold separately.

Keep Essential Data Protected with Snapshots

Snapshots keep your data protected by fully recording your NAS’ metadata and system state. In case your files are modified or deleted by accident, or if ransomware infiltrates your system, snapshots are present to immediately restore files to its original state. QNAP snapshots only record the data with changes since these are block-based. Aside from saving storage space, it saves time when backing up and restoring data. The TS-251B can support up to 1024 snapshots per NAS and 256 snapshots per LUN or volume.

Specifications

CPU

Intel® Celeron® J3355 dual-core 2.0 GHz processor (burst up to 2.5 GHz)Architecture: 64-bit x86

Graphics

  • Intel® HD Graphics 500

Encryption Acceleration

  • AES-NI

System Memory

  • 2 GB DDR3L

Maximum Memory

  • 8 GB (2 x 4 GB)

Memory Slot

  • 2 x SODIMM DDR3L up to 1866, with dual-channel support

Flash Memory

  • 4GB eMMC

Drive Bay

  • 2 x 3.5″ SATA 6 Gbps HDD

Drive Compatibility

  • 3.5″ SATA 6Gb/s HDD
  • 2.5″ SATA 6Gb/s HDD
  • 2.5″ SATA 6Gb/s SSD

SSD Cache Acceleration Support

  • 3.5″ drive bay:1 to 2

Gigabit Ethernet Port

  • 1 x RJ45

USB Port

  • 2 x USB 3.0, 3 x USB 2.0

USB One Touch Copy

  • Front:USB 3.0 Type-A

PCIe Slot

  • 1 PCIe 2.0 x2 slot

HDMI Output

  • 1 x HDMI v1.4b (up to 3840 x 2160 resolution at 30 Hz)

IR sensor

  • Supporting QNAP RM-IR004 remote control (optional purchase)

Audio

  • 1 x speaker, 2 x MIC Input
  • 1 x 3.5 mm line-out jack
  • Alarm buzzer

LED Indicators

  • Status/power、LAN、USB、HDD 1 – 2

Buttons

  • Power, Reset, USB One-touch-copy

System Warning

  • Alarm buzzer and voice prompts

Form Factor

  • Tower

Dimensions (H x W x D)

  • 168 x 105 x 226 mm ( 6.61 x 4.13 x 8.90 inch)

Net Weight

  • 1.53 kg (3.37 lbs)

Using the Product

The QNAP TS-251B can do two to three things simultaneously and effectively, and its 10GbE upgrade alternative is also a great plus. Since the combination of the Intel CPU and the PCIe upgrade, this NAS device gives you high results for right out of the box use; its chassis is made with better air pass through and lower noise levels in mind. When we tested this, its noise levels were rated at just 19dBA while its temperature was nice and low. This was despite high and heavy usage. The transfer speeds where very good when transferring both to and from the NAS and we had no problems copying across multiple large media files at once.

Plex performed surprisingly well with us experiencing zero issues with buffering or playback speed. Browsing the Plex library on our Roku media player was snappy and responsive and there was no slow down when navigation between screens. The NAS handled everything that we ran through Plex and it didn’t skip a beat.

This device will be highly attractive to every video and photo editors, as well as various types of content creators today. When it comes to backups and multimedia, this device features outstanding hardware for numerous and simultaneous transcoding and backup of media files right at 4K and 1,080p.

Since this QNAP TS-251B NAS device doesn’t feature any metallic chassis, and is crafted to have this compact style, its noise levels have become impressively low which is really surprising but very much appreciated.

The TS-251B is extremely beneficial to anyone who is searching to use the TS-251B in 10Gbe editing situations for photography and even for video editing thanks to the ability to add 10Gbe expansion cards to the NAS.

Software

The QNAP TS-251B is more than just a typical hardware and sports the QTS 4.3.4 NAS software. This is included in the TS-251B’s price tag and is claimed to be one of the best and most efficient user interface and operating system that is available for both business and home users.

It’s also important to know that when purchasing this device, it comes with the QTS software platform that has regular updates and tons of applications that are beneficial for use. All of these are maintained and tested QNAP applications, and are further enhanced via desktop client programs for Mac / PC, and mobile applications specially for Android and iOS. All of these are included and can be downloaded any time.

The QNAP software gives you numerous mechanisms to guarantee that all of the data saved on your NAS device is highly protected. This includes the new Notification Center that combines notifications and system logs into one application, and the Security Counselor that looks out for weaknesses and provides helpful recommendations for security. This app-driven software gives you all the solutions that you’d need to make file backup, search, management, and other tasks easy. With the File Station, you’ll be able to manage and review all files on the NAS, as well as from multiple storage devices. The ORC Converter then lets you extract texts from various images, Qsirch aids in quickly finding files, while Qfiling helps you automate file organization.

The App Center for the TS-251B gives you a wide range of productive tools, some which we’ve already mentioned earlier: Qsirch, Qfiling, the IFTTT Agent which automates the user’s workflow for better productivity and efficiency, plus the Hybrid Backup Sync and Qsync to make file sharing and syncing across other devices easier. There are also various streaming applications available and these include OVHelper, Cinema-28, Video-HD, and Qmedia. All of these lets you enjoy a seamless multimedia experience through varying streaming protocols. You can also utilize QNAP’s remote control with the QButton application. This is to customize the button’s functions or easier and better navigation. Just remember that the remote control is sold separately.

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Conclusion

We were completely amazed with how the TS-251B performed. And the fact that it offers a lot through its hardware and software makes it even a better device. Generally, this was also one of the cheapest NAS devices around and we think that’s also really a great thing. Other NAS devices cost twice the price of the TS-251B but giving just half of its performance.

The TS-251B keeps your files secure which is great especially for home use or if you own a small business. It delivered excellent performance and when it comes to our network, it greatly improved when we tried using the 10GbE switch. In fact, the TS-251B NAS had more than what we expected for this low-cost NAS.

We really appreciate the TS-251B since it’s a great solution for your security, media, and network needs. It provides a good deal of everything which is really great since you get all of this for a low price range. Another plus is its two-year warranty. All in all, we think that the TS-251B from QNAP will easily be one of the popular NAS devices since it meets a lot of people’s needs with its low price. If you’re looking for an affordable NAS device that performs excellently, we highly recommend the TS-251B from QNAP.

Where to Buy

You can get yourself a QNAP TS-251B for around $529AUD from your local computer store. For more information jump on over to the QNAP product page.

QNAP TS-251B Review
Design
Features
Performance
Usability
Value
4.7Overall Score

About The Author

The Streaming Blog brings you the latest in consumer tech news and reviews. From streaming services and media players to gaming and computer hardware, we give you product reviews on the latest tech available.

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