In addition to the hardware specifications of a NAS device, you have to take into account its software functionality. In recent years, Thecus has evolved well on both fronts. The N4200 comes with a modern, Web-based administration interface that lets you choose from RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, and 10 modes. RAID volumes can be optionally encrypted using AES-256, as well. Additionally, users have the choice of ext3, XFS, and ZFS file systems.
The N4200 can communicate via iSCSI and, if used under Windows, MacOS, or Linux, it can be an iSCSI target. When used with similar (and various other) NAS devices from Thecus, such as the N5200 Pro, N5500, or units from the N7700/N8800 series, the N4200 can even be used as an iSCSI initiator. The device supports SMB/CIFS, FTP, NFSv3, AFP, HTTP, or HTTPS protocols for exchanging data.
For multimedia storage, the Thecus N4200 comes with iTunes, UPnP AV, and photo Web servers installed. It also comes with a print server, as well as support for various UPSes. The server functionality can be expanded. For example, you can add a Web or MySQL server by downloading and installing a module from the Thecus site.
A Web Interface With Delays
Thecus' UI is functional and for the most part logical, although the menu structure could be made somewhat less nested and more accessible. What really struck us when using firmware version 3.00.12 was the sluggishness of the browser-based interface. When clicking on something or performing an action, it took about three seconds before anything happened or you gave visual feedback. During testing, we also noted that the N4200 had to be restarted after the creation of a new folder. The device stopped responding to SMB/CIFS requests, so access through Windows Explorer was no longer possible. A firmware update from Thecus should remedy problems of this kind.
Thecus offers a live demonstration of its GUI. Just follow this link to try it out: Thecus live demo.
Update: Thecus recently released version 3.02.00.2 of the firmware. Using this, we noticed none of the problems mentioned above, so be sure to update your firmware if you run into any issues with the N4200.