QNAP doesn't lead the NAS category in market share, but if shoppers were educated, the company would be on top. QNAP offers a wide range of products that scale from two drive bays to 24 drive bays, and it doesn't miss any marks in between. The QTS software offers the most options for configuration and features, and while it's not the easiest to use, it's still easy enough to navigate for first-time NAS buyers. Moving beyond the basic configuration, QNAP has the most applications, some developed in house and others from third-party developers. Even though the NAS market-share leader now sells applications though an online portal in the OS, QNAP still offers them for free.
Of course, having the widest product range and the best software doesn't make QNAP the best at this time. The hardware plays a significant role here as well. QNAP isn't afraid to mix things up. The TS-453mini we tested today must have taken the product manager out of his or her comfort zone. The fresh design moves away from the traditional front-drive-bay, metal look found in most of QNAP's products. This isn't the first time QNAP has sidestepped tradition in search of something different. What really stands out on the hardware front are the new options for the hardware, with two choices of RAM levels. Other products in the company's lineup go much further. Some of the newer models ship with the same design, but users can choose the processor — Core i3, i5 or i7 — along with the amount of system memory. Users no longer have to push a square peg into a round hole, simply accepting the base products as is.
Still, with all of the options, the innovative designs and accessories included, it still comes down to software. The QTS operating system is the same for the most part across the product range. Some features are hardware-specific, like the transcoding function on the TS-453mini, but for the most part the software and the applications are the same. This is the base for all QNAP NAS products, and when compared to everything else on the market, QNAP stands at the top with a very wide gap to second place.
Looking specifically at the TS-453mini now, this model is like a designated hitter: You can put it anywhere in the lineup. QNAP placed this model in the SMB class, but it's just as comfortable in a small office as it is under your television. You are not going to run serious databases off of it, but it's powerful enough to run several applications when outfitted with 8 GB of DRAM.