Thecus is not a brand I often hear about here in New Zealand so it is an interesting change to have one at home, more specifically the entry-level Thecus N2310 dual bay NAS appliance.
Out of the box first impression is of a well designed and manufactured product. The box contains the N2310 itself, a power adapter, power cord, ethernet cable, accessory bag with screws of different sizes and a DVD (which I didn' use seeing we have no optical drives around here anymore).
To test this NAS I used a couple of 3TB WD Red 3.5" drives. Physical installation is in itself very simple with easy access to each drive bay. We use screws to attach the drivers to adapters and most importantly it supports 2.5" drives as well, ideal for those reusing laptop drives or using SSDs for storage.
The software install required me to run their own application, which had a bit of hard time finding the NAS in the network - I did try assigning a static IP but at the end just let if get the IP from DHCP and after a couple of attempts the software told me it was ready to install the operating system.
From that point on the installation went flawlessly and after a few minutes (more than the initial five minutes estimate but not too long) the NAS was ready to be used.
Like other similar devices your primary interface is the web browser. The user interface design is not flash and bang like other devices but it does the job just fine. Most importantly it is easy to use when you need it to be, although I'd say the specifications could be a bit "heavier".
The Thecus N2310 is based on the AMCC APM 86491 800Mhz chipset, which is now around three years old. With 512MB RAM the unit can sometimes be slow, specially when a lot of I/O is going on, such as copying a terabyte of files during tests while the unit is still working on the new files. This slowness tends to disappear during normal operation after the unit is loaded with data.
With a gigabit ethernet the unit provided pretty good transfer speeds, comparable to my experience with other NAS brands. Two USB ports (one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0) provide for local one-button backup and UPS support.
The install automatically detected my two HDD and offered to create a RAID 1 configuration. The software supports RAID 0, 1 and JBOD). Initialisation was easy and the shutdown and boot routines seem to be fast - although I tend to leave my servers/NAS appliances powered up for days.
The operating system is easy to use and supports downloadable applications. There's no "store" on the device itself, so you have to visit the Thecus website to use the NAS App Center and find the apps you want. You can filter by product model and category, but not as easy as having a local store with all this filtered for you.
You will find all sorts of applications - web server, database, backup/sync, file management, mail server, media/DLNA, photo server, security tools and more. You will also find mobile apps for remote access to files and dashboard.
Overall the Thecus N2310 is a capable entry-level NAS appliance. It can easily fit into a home network as well as within a small business network.