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NAS boxes double as media players, run Linux plus Android

Nov 13, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 2,059 views

Qnap’s TAS-168 and dual-bay TAS-268 NAS devices run both Linux and Android on a dual-core ARM SoC, and offers private cloud and media player capabilities.

Qnap is positioning the single HDD-bay TAS-168 and dual-bay TAS-268 at the bottom of its Home NAS line below the faster, dual-bay TS-231 and the higher-end, dual-bay TS-251 launched in 2014. Like these systems, the new TAS devices are mini-towers and run Qnap’s Linux-based NAS OS. In addition, Qnap claims the devices are the first home network-attached storage devices that also run Android.

TAS-168 (left) and TAS-268
(click images to enlarge)

The TAS-168 and TAS-268 are pre-loaded with Android as well as NAS OS, both of which offer Qnap’s comprehensive and QTS 4.1 firmware. Android kicks in automatically when you connect your HDMI port to a TV or monitor. This enables QTS functions including Qfile, Qmanager, Qphoto, Qvideo, Qmusic, MyNAS, and the Kodi media player, without requiring a separate networked-attached PC. You can also download apps from Qnap’s Qmarket online store, as well as Android apps from Google Play, although not all Android apps are supported, says the company.

TAS-168/268 Android interface
(click images to enlarge)

Like the TS-251, the TAS-168 and TAS-268 support a variety of NAS and media player features, including the ability to stream content from Chromecast, Apple TV, and other DLNA certified devices. They also similarly offer the capability to set up a private cloud service.

Major features, many of which are controllable via mobile apps, are said to include:

  • Organize and manage files and backup tasks in one centralized location
  • Synchronize files between computers, laptops, and mobile devices
  • Remotely access files securely from your personal cloud
  • Stream multimedia library via DLNA to other devices and TV
  • Enjoy direct media playback via HDMI with HD videos and photos

The Qnap TAS-168 and TAS-268 each runs Linux and Android on an unnamed 1.1GHz dual-core ARMv7 SoC with 2GB of DDR3 RAM. Storage includes 4GB flash, an SD slot, and one or two SATA bays, depending on the model, with up to 6TB per bay. The dual-bay TS-238 adds some basic RAID features.

TAS-168 detail views (ports and placements are identical on TAS-268)
(click image to enlarge)

The TAS-168 and TAS-268 are further equipped with a Gigabit Ethernet port, a USB 3.0 port, four USB 2.0 ports, and the aforementioned HDMI port. Other features include a “quiet” exhaust dissipation fan.

Qnap touts the devices for being easy to install. You connect the NAS to the home wired or wireless router with the network cable, then enter the Cloud Key ID printed on the unit for automatic initialization and configuration, says the company. You can also swap out hard drives without using a tool.

Specifications listed for the TAS-168 and TAS-268 include:

  • Processor — dual-core ARMv7 SoC @ 1.1GHz
  • RAM — 2GB DDR3
  • Storage:
    • 4GB flash
    • SD slot
    • 1x (TAS-168) or 2x (TAS-268) 3.5-in. SATA 3Gbps bays for up to 6TB or 12TB, respectively
    • RAID — Single-disk (TAS-168) or RAID 0, 1, JBOD, single-disk (TAS-268)
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 port (front-facing)
    • 4x USB 2.0 ports
    • HDMI port
  • Other hardware features — quiet exhaust dissipation fan; power, USB one-touch backup, and reset (password & network settings) buttons; system warning alarm buzzer; optional mini-keyboard with touchpad
  • Power — external adapter; 36W (TAS-168) or 60W (TAS-268); 100-240V
  • Power consumption — 1.4W TAS-168) or 5.82W (TAS-268)
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 40°C
  • Dimensions:
    • TAS-168 — 188 x 125 x 60mm
    • TAS-268 — 188 x 125 x 90mm
  • Operating system — NAS OS (Linux) and Android; Windows, Mac, and Linux client PC software

Further information

The TAS-168 and TAS-268 are available from resellers, e-tailers, and distributors in the U.S. and Canada, says Qnap, For example, on Amazon, the TAS-168 can be had for $199 without storage, while the TAS-268 goes for $249. More information on the products may be found at Qnap’s TAS-168 product page and TAS-268 product page.

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