Achieving the perfect storage solution is no mean feat, especially with the huge array of internet-connected devices on offer today. To help you make the choice, we've spent hours finding the best NAS drives for everyone, opening up the world of network-connected storage.
For those who aren't familiar yet, Network Attached Storage (NAS) works as the name describes: your storage is connected to a network, separate from a computer, and can be accessed from pretty much any device. It's the perfect way to store media, host apps, back up PCs, and so on.
We're big fans of NAS drives, especially if you're into making your home (or office) setup your own from scratch. It's a lot more fiddly than setting up a smart TV, but the payoff is worth it in terms of control, flexibility, and storage space.
Today, we're comparing the WD's My Cloud Expert EX2 Ultra and the QNAP TS-332X to find the best NAS drive.
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QNAP TS-332X vs. My Cloud Expert EX2 Ultra: Features
Choosing the right NAS drive comes down to what you want to use it for. The number of bays, for example, might seem like something you'd want the most of, but if you plan only to store a few movies and TV shows reading for streaming, then having two bays wouldn't be such a bad thing.
Of the two, QNAP's is the most well-featured: three bays with up to 6GB/s connections, 4GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1.7GHz quad-core processor, while WD's has two bays, 1GB of RAM, and a dual-core 1.3GHz processor.
If you're looking for the ultimate workhorse, then QNAP's makes the most sense but if you only need something that can chug along in the background without ever slowing down, WD's is absolutely worth a closer look.
Hardware specs only tell part of the story, of course. When it comes to user interface, WD's is an absolute dream: My Cloud OS 5 is really easy to setup and use, making managing your storage a breeze from mobile apps or web. QNAP's isn't awful, but definitely caters more towards the business users who want the power and flexibility to host apps and so on.
Overall, the choice comes down to what exactly you want to do. For most, WD's EX2 Ultra is ideal, offering a simple and easy-to-use NAS drive, while QNAP's TS-332X is ideal for those who want to make their storage work for them and aren't afraid to jump into complicated settings menus to do so.
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QNAP TS-332X vs. My Cloud Expert EX2 Ultra: Design and storage
Whether you care about the design of your NAS drives depends very much on where you put it. If, like the above picture, you plan to place your NAS drive on a desk, then its design matters and WD's is the more attractive of the two by some distance.
With a sleek, curved design and attractive matte black colours, WD's EX2 Ultra will fit in well with most desk setups and might even add something. While QNAP's white, blocky design isn't bad, WD's is easily the more elegant.
But what if you just want to hide the NAS drive under a desk or in a cupboard? In that case, the QNAP becomes a much stronger contender thanks to its more well-equipped toolkit.
As we mentioned, QNAP's NAS drive comes with three bays for a maximum of 12TB of hard drives while WD's Ultra two bays can support up to 28TB, although this option does become extremely pricey.
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QNAP TS-332X vs. My Cloud Expert EX2 Ultra: Which is the best?
Neither of these NAS drives is bad: both will work well in almost all setups, providing huge amounts of networked storage separate from your PC. For our money, WD's My Cloud Expert EX2 Ultra is the more rounded of the two, providing a really nice user experience, loads of storage, and a pretty powerful unit.
But if you want to take things to the next level, QNAP's TS-332X is the best NAS drive for most people and especially those who want to get the perfect boutique setup in their office or home, thanks to the versatility of its Linux-based OS.