Overall, the Thecus N3200XXX was a pleasant surprise. The device offered comparable performance to our Core 2 Duo test system while consistently beating the NAS enclosures offered by Synology, LG and QNAP. Along with scoring high in our benchmarks, the device is well stocked with software features. Its Web Administration Interface is thoughtfully designed, making setup a breeze -- even for novice users, if we had to guess.
Although the hot-swappable bays weren't designed as well as they could've been, it was fairly easy to install storage drives. In fact, it's fair to say that we appreciated most of the N3200XXX's internal design -- it was the external design that disappointed. To put it bluntly, the N3200XXX looks like a very cheap product, and its flimsy front door doesn't help. This is a shame because at $430 (without hard drives) it's not exactly inexpensive.
We believe the N3200XXX is designed to be a premium product and its aesthetics simply don't reflect its price. This is unfortunate considering how frequently people purchase things based on their appearance and it's not like the N3200XXX is without competition. At $360, the Synology DS411J looks considerably more impressive and is backed by the powerful Disk Station Manager 3.1 software -- though it's not quite as fast as the N3200XXX.
The same holds true for the rest of the N3200XXX's direct competition. It'll be difficult to find a NAS device for the same price that delivers the same level of performance while supporting more than two hard drives. If the aesthetics are a deal breaker for you, it's probably worth considering the smaller N2200XXX. The device costs a tad more but it boasts a more powerful Intel Atom D525 processor and more professional looking design.
We've noticed something unusual about Thecus' products over the years: there doesn't appear to any kind of unified blueprint. Almost every product the company creates features a completely fresh design -- some better than others. In our opinion, it would be much easier for consumers to recognize their brand with a signature design.
To wrap this up, we think the Thecus N3200XXX provides an excellent level of performance for its price. The device is easy to configure and it's quite powerful when you consider the number of optional modules at your disposal. Despite those facts, we also believe its cheesy-looking exterior will discourage some shoppers from taking the plunge.