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Thecus N2800 Interface and Features

Thecus N2800 Interface and Features

Setting the N2800 is extremely easy with the usual software provided giving you a wizard to locate the NAS on your network and login to the UI. Once there, another wizard takes you through basic steps such as setting a new password and creating volumes - the usual scenario which should make the N2800 easy to work with even if you're a networking/NAS noob.

Thecus N2800 Review Thecus N2800 Interface and Features Thecus N2800 Review Thecus N2800 Interface and Features
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A quick look around the monitoring section saw fairly high memory usage - in the region of 40-60% just while we were browsing the UI. Despite this, we didn't notice any major slowdown when dishing out data and carrying out several other tasks at the same time. However, the CPU temperature was a fairly warm 63°C at idle, despite a considerable din coming from the cooling fan. In fact this fan failed to get any quieter and proved to be very intrusive.

Thecus N2800 Review Thecus N2800 Interface and Features Thecus N2800 Review Thecus N2800 Interface and Features
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Thecus has taken the step many other NAS manufacturers have taken and shipped the N2800 with the bare bones in terms of software. Bit-torrent and backup clients for example all have to be downloaded and installed separately - thankfully a hassle-free process. The official bit-torrent app, Transmission, left a lot to be desired though. The advanced settings open in a different window with this and the general feel being very clunky compared to the competition.

The UI itself is based on the Linux OS, but Thecus has stuck to the tabs and windows style rather than opting for an OS-like feel. It does the job but while it's simple generally idiot-proof, it does feel dated. That said, a vast majority of what you need is already set-up, for example, shared folders for the likes of external storage devices. Everything else is much the same as the N2200 XXX in terms of features such as iTunes, print and FTP servers - all are either pre-installed, as in the case of iTunes, or can be downloaded.

There's a growing community of third-party modules that promise much in the way of additional features. We didn't have time to delve into these for the review but Thecus sent us the first version of its local display module - an all-in-one driver and media server package that adds support for the N2800's video outputs - redundant till early August when the module was released.
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Separate keyboards and mice are supported but we hadn't seen anyone try a combined wireless keyboard and touchpad. Thankfully this also worked, and having installed and activated the 500MB local display module, we hooked the N2800 to an HDMI port on our HD TV. We were greeted by the popular XMBC interface, which worked instantly with our wireless keyboard.

Sadly, it didn't seem quite as polished as the latest 11.0 Eden version available from the XMBC website, with add-on programs being listed but failing to install, with several other widgets not loading properly too. However, video playback worked with the full range of video files although for some reason 1080p content suffered from graphical glitches occasionally. This will hopefully be fixed when add-ons for popular media players such as VLC are released. However, viewing videos and images and playing music proved to be fairly hassle-free, although despite there being the option to browse for videos in shared folders under the Videos section, we had to manually add folders under the System menu for them to be seen and have the option of playing them.

Thecus N2800 Review Thecus N2800 Interface and Features Thecus N2800 Review Thecus N2800 Interface and Features
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It's a shame about the niggling issues - we're obviously reviewing the product as it works at the moment, but if Thecus can iron out these problems and provide a more up-to-date version XMBC (maybe with the ability to load XMBC scripts for viewing Netflix and BBC iPlayer too), the N2800 has the potential to become a fully-fledged media streamer too.

Thecus N2800 Review Thecus N2800 Interface and Features Thecus N2800 Review Thecus N2800 Interface and Features
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Finally, cloud and IOS/Android support is here in abundance. A Dropbox module allows you to locate your Sync folder on the N2800, while also being accessible on local PCs without taking up space, while third party modules offer similar functionality using the N2800 as your online storage location. Free apps are available for both IOS and Android devices, which allow you to both monitor your NAS as well as upload/stream from the N2800 too.