QNAP TS-421 4-bay Home & SOHO NAS Review

Storage/NAS by stefan @ 2013-06-20

QNAP has introduced a new NAS series with the latest QTS 4.0 Operating System. The unit comes with a single-core Marvell CPU at 2.0GHz, 1GB of RAM and features a lot of connectivity options. On the front it looks pretty much the same as the TS-469L, but now we also have an active LCD screen with two buttons for navigation, but the IR sensor is missing since the unit does not come with a HDMI output.

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Product Features

Featuring with new QTS 4.0 Operating System


The TS-421 is a powerful yet easy to use network storage center for data storage, backup, synchronization, remote access, and home entertainment. As your personal cloud, you will always be connected to your files and your files are always under your control.


See how TS-421 featuring the QTS 4.0 can make your digital life easier, simpler and more convenient.


Organize your data/content and backups in one centralized location.

Synchronize files across computers, tablets, and mobile devices, and share files across different groups and communities.

Collect, enjoy, and share your large photo, music, and video collection.

Enjoy HD movies or family videos on TV when streamed through various network players.

Access, manage and enjoy all your files with your tablets and smartphones.

Extend your diverse applications on the TS-421 by installing more than 80 apps on demand in the App Center.


Using the TS-421 is as easy as just clicking the icons!


Easier Operations on QTS 4.0 Desktop


The QTS 4.0 Desktop including quick Main menu, graphic dashboard, drag-and-drop icons, multiple desktops, personalized wallpapers, and the smart toolbar making system operations much easier. In addition, multi-tasking is supported which allows multiple windows to be open to access multiple applications concurrently.


Centralize and Protect your Data


The TS-421 is a high-performance cross-platform storage with many friendly storage and backup options that centralizes and protects all your important files on one single device.


Apple Time Machine Backup

Time Machine is fully supported to help Mac OS X users create a more efficient and convenient backup solution. The TS-421 works with Time Machine wirelessly over the same network so you no longer need an external drive.


More Backup Options

Netbak Replicator is the license-free backup software which allows you to back up your files in multiple Window client PCs in schedule or real time. You can also gain a disaster recovery solution with our RTRR (Real Time Remote Replication) feature by replicating data in multiple shared folders from one NAS to another NAS over the network to ensure the safety of your important data. Besides, the data can also be backed up to another FTP server, external disk, or to online cloud storage services.


Data Security


User Access Controls

All your digital files stored can be managed to share with your family and friends. User accounts, user groups, shared folder access right, and user quota can be flexibly and easily set up by yourself.


Unauthorized IP-based Blocking

A comprehensive list granting proper access from different users based on IP address can be established to authorize or deny access to the TS-421.



The TS-421 has a built in anti-virus feature to detect and protect against viruses, malware, worms, and Trojan horses.


Encrypted Login, Access and Network Transfer

SSH remote login, SSL security (HTTPS), Secure FTP, and encrypted remote replication are supported.


Detailed Logs

Detail logs of file-level access to the TS-421 via different file transfer protocols, and services accessed by online users can all be recorded.


Freely Access your Cloud Anywhere


All of your content is available on the go! Through any Web browser or the free app for tablets and smartphones theTS-421 becomes your personal cloud so you are always connected to your data. Take advantage of the myQNAPcloud service, which allows you to remotely access yourTS-421 wherever you are. Instantly stream or share your multimedia contents and share them with your friends.


Synchronize and Share


Access from anywhere

Qsync is a new feature that allows you to sync all your devices on the go! It can be synced literally anywhere- on the web, at your home, in the office and on the go.


Community Share

Qsync makes your TS-421 a team sharing device- allowing you to share and edit files among your teammates with automatic updates on the files your team is working on. Qsync provides the function of file synchronization like Dropbox service, and brings forth a cost-effective way to share files across groups and communities.


Photo Albums on the Cloud


The TS-421 acts as your photo vault for you to back up your favorite photos. The Photo Station makes photo sharing simple, and you can designate your own access right controls. Simply upload your photos to the TS-421 to create and organize your photo albums through a web browser to share with your family and friends. Your mobile devices are useful too, with the Qfile mobile app in your iOS® or Android™ devices you can instantly upload photos to the TS-421.


View photo slideshow with background music

Display photo details from EXIF: Date, exposure time, aperture, etc.

Publish photos in a few clicks to social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, MySpace, and more.

Share photos with your friends and family via email

Browse photos via the Qfile app on iPhones, iPads, and Android devices


Build your Home Music Library and Enjoy Music Anywhere


The Music Station helps categorize your music collection, and displays album covers to easily organize your personal playlists. Through the music station web player, you can enjoy your music anywhere, anytime with a few clicks. Thousands of local and global online Internet radio programs are built-into Music Station for you to enjoy.


You can listen to your favorite MP3 songs streamed from iTunes Server, or play music by web browsers on your PC.

With SBS (Squeezebox Server) app plugin, you can efficiently manage and play them with Logitech music players without even turning on the PC.

Stream music to your UPnP Hi-Fi system and indulge in high-quality sound experience.

Listen to your music on mobile devices through Qmusic app*1


Interact Through your Favorite Social Media Sites


Many applications on the TS-421 are designed with friendly options allowing you to share and connect with your social media communities. When you use Photo Station, or Video Station, you can pick and share photos and video links directly to your Facebook. DJ Station allows you to stream and share your music playlist with your friends and family on your social media platforms.


Enjoy your Videos via AirPlay


The TS-421 supports Apple® AirPlay. You can enjoy video and multimedia contents on AirPlay supported devices with the QAirplay application or the Qfile mobile app.


Available in the App Center, QAirplay allows you to steam your media content directly on TV via AirPlay-enabled devices such as Apple TV. The media contents are streaming on Apple TV, bypassing your mobile device, thus saves the energy of your mobile device.


Alternatively, the Qfile mobile app allows you to browse videos and photos stored on the TS-421 and play on the TV via AirPlay-enabled devices such as Apple TV. It is just that convenient to enjoy multimedia entertainment through the wireless experience.


A Sharing Center for your Home Theater


The TS-421 is an ideal video storage center for you to store your movie and home video collection. It features high-speed data transfer, fast enough to support multiple 1080p HD streams. The quiet operation design brings you the best cinema-grade home theater experience right to your living room.


QNAP DLNA Media Server supports wireless streaming of all the videos, photos and music stored in the Media Library to any DLNA certified devices, such as PS3, Xbox360, and so on. It supports thumbnails shown on the DLNA devices for identifying the content quickly.

TwonkyMedia DLNA Server is also supported to share and stream media contents in the multimedia folder of the TS-421.

Use the TS-421 as a PLEX media server and enjoy your content through any Plex client or Smart TV.

The TS-421 can work with different media players through SMB/CIFS or other standard protocols.




Ever wanted to archive your favorite online videos? HappyGet is a handy third-party tool that allows you to download HD videos to the TS-421. By installing the HappyGet plug-in on the Chrome Web Store, you can select your preferred playlist and download an array of videos all at once with the embedded HappyGet button.


24/7 Download Center


The TS-421 is a perfect download center for high speed BT, Magnet, PT (Private Trackers), eMule, FTP, and HTTP download. After the download tasks are set ready, you can turn off the computer, and the TS-421 will download as many HD videos as you want. With the QGet utility you can manage your download tasks on multiple NAS devices remotely on the local network or the Internet. The TS-421 also supports continuous NZB download, and eMule download by installed App Center apps without turning on a PC. Now, it also supports RSS download (broad catching) for automatic BT download.


App Center with rich apps to install on demand


The App Center centralizes various apps developed by QNAP and third-party developers. Popular apps such as Google Drive, Plex media server, NZBGet, Python, and more are available in the App center for you to enhance your TS-421 experience. Installation is virtually immediate, with just one click the App will start installing onto the NAS.


Surveillance Station Pro - Protect your Home and Valuables


The TS-421 uses renowned QNAP VioStor NVR software. The TS-421 becomes a professional surveillance station to view IP cameras from your web browser and mobile devices. Supporting over 1,000 IP camera advance features are also included with the Surveillance Station Pro software, such as real-time monitoring, recording, and playback. With the user-friendly interface and the expandable IP camera channel licenses, Surveillance Station Pro builds a professional surveillance center for you to monitor your things that you value easier.


Access, Use, Sync and Enjoy with your Tablets and Smartphones


The TS-421 is your private cloud storage that virtually enlarges the capacity of your smart mobile devices. Qfile allows you to access, upload, download, manage, and share stored files easily as if you are carrying tons of files in your pocket. Music, photos and videos can be streamed, enjoyed and shared anytime, anywhere. Qmanager lets you monitor and manage the TS-421 remotely and efficiently without turning on a PC.


Easy System Setup


Installation process is done completely through the cloud. Simply visit the setup portal,start.qnap.com, follow the setup guide to complete the system setup and download the utilities you want.


Besides, the "Auto Setup" option provides an easy way to set up the TS-421 with recommended settings. All settings can be flexibly changed at a later time after the installation.


Expandable Storage


The TS-421 supports large storage capacity, fulfilling the increasing demand for storage. It supports comprehensive RAID management and online RAID capacity expansion appropriately storing important data and reducing risks of data loss.


Superior Performance


Powered by the Marvell ARM 2.0 GHz processor, the TS-421 provides a large storage capacity for archiving files, videos, and music. The TS-421 can handle multiple users accessing the system and multiple applications running at the same time. USB 3.0 ports for high speed file backup to external hard drives are also included for high speed data backup to external drives.


More features for home and SOHO


The TS-421 brings you extra with all-in-one home server features, e.g. iTunes server, UPnP media server, backup server, printer server, FTP server, Web server, database server, and etc.


Eco-friendly Design


The TS-421 is designed to be eco friendly, and to help you save on your electricity bill. The smart fan can automatically adjust its speed based on system pre-defined criteria or a specific temperature. The hard disk standby mode sets the hard disks to enter standby mode if there is no disk access within the specified period, lowering energy consumption and extending the lifespan of the hard disks. The Turbo NAS can also be setup to automatically power on, off, or reset.


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