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Whereas the DS414slim is extremely tiny and affordable, the TS-453mini is neither of those things, at least compared to the DS414slim. Even QNAP's smallest 4-bay NAS, the TS-451S, is considerably larger than the DS414slim, at 3.3L versus just 1.78L.
The TS-453mini has a 6.3L capacity, some 3.5x larger than the DS414slim. The TS-453mini is still smaller than a standard 4-bay NAS, around 1 liter smaller than the TS-451 for example, and QNAP hasn't just reduced the capacity by a liter and called it a day. The TS-453mini might be much larger than the DS414slim, but it is still very unique in its own right.
QNAP has developed a space-efficient vertical design with the TS-453mini that sees the hot-swap bays accessed from the top rather than the front of the unit. This gives the TS-453mini a much smaller 151 x 200mm footprint versus the 180 x 235mm footprint of the company's other 4-bay 3.5" NAS devices.
In a way, QNAP has managed to reinvent the home NAS by borrowing ideas from desktop chassis design.
At the top we have a glossy black magnetic cover which can be easily removed without the need for any tools. The magnets are so strong that the panel jumps into place once you get it roughly 10mm into place.
Behind the magnetic top cover are four 3.5" drive cages which are tool-less when used with 3.5" devices, though they support 2.5" drives as well using the supplied screws.
From the front we find a sleek looking unit with seven LED indicators at the top, along with a large blue LED light bar that displays when the unit is powered on. The LED indicators show status, network, USB and hard drives 1, 2, 3 and 4.
At the bottom we find a single USB 3.0 port with a "USB Auto Copy" button and the power button.
Both the left and right sides of the unit are featureless with the exception of some interesting lines that blend into the design.
Around the back the TS-453mini features quite a lot of connectivity. There are two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, a HDMI (v1.4a) output, dual Gigabit LAN, factory reset button and the 12v DC-input.
The HDMI is a particularly interesting feature and it is one we suspect home users are really going to enjoy. It allows users to connect the TS-453mini to a HDTV via HDMI for streaming 1080p content using the supplied applications. HD Station integrates the powerful Kodi media player for smooth 1080p playback with 7.1-surround sound.
Complementing this feature is the supplied QNAP RM-IR002 remote control that enables convenient control of the HD Station. Alternatively, mobile devices can also be used as remotes by installing the Qremote app.
Powering the TS-453mini is the Intel Celeron J1900 quad-core processor which operates at 2.0GHz with a burst frequency of 2.41GHz. The TS-453mini comes with either 2GB ($530) or 8GB ($670) of memory, though users are also free to upgrade the memory themselves later using the easy to access panel at the bottom of the NAS.