While it is our firm opinion, that a families first Network Attached Storage device should be a four bay, the fact of the matter is most novice NAS buyers typically opt for a dual bay or even a single bay model. They do so because the price of them is a lot more palatable and a lot easier to justify. That is why this corner of the market is huge; yet, over the years more and more 2 bay NAS appliance designers have forgotten this ‘secret’. Thankfully, not every manufacture has forgotten it and companies like TerraMaster are still offering numerous value orientated NAS appliances that do not cost an arm and a leg. Today we will be focusing in on one such example, the TerraMaster F2-210 which retails for about $160 USD.
While it is indeed true that the F2-210 has been… superseded by newer, and more expensive, F2-22x models the F2-210 on paper appears to be tailor made for first time buyers. For basically the same cost of the next model up without hard drives F2-210 buyers still get a NAS that has a metal enclosure, a quad-core processor, a modern GUI that can run numerous applications, a two and half year warranty (extra 6 months upon registration)… and have enough left over in their budget to purchase two 2TB drives for said NAS. That is a lot of bang for very little bucks.
With all that said first impressions can be a bit misleading. The processor maybe quad core but is ARM not x86 based; it only comes with 1GB of non-upgradeable RAM; and generally speaking, it should perform similar to a circa 2018 ‘mid-grade’ 2-bay NAS. This to us begs the question on exactly when does ‘inexpensive’ become cheap? More importantly, does the F2-210 fall into the former or later category? After all, it still is $160 so would the first-time buyer be better served by stepping up a price notch to ~220 USD and getting a noticeably beefier NAS for their first purchase? Let’s dig in and help answer those questions.