Final Score: 75 out 100
With its combination of extremely easy to use setup with ‘good enough’ performance and ‘good enough’ options the TerraMaster F2-210 is a solid choice for first time NAS appliance buyers looking for a barebones NAS appliance. One that offers a level of data security that similarly priced single bay models cannot match, while at the same time costly noticeably less than typical dual bay NAS options. That is decent definition of what we look for when recommending a first time anything to buyers. As such we do think it should be on first time buyers short list for further consideration. The overall value of the F2-210 is just too good to do otherwise.
With all that said it is not a perfect example of what first time buyers should be looking for. Yes, many a first-time buyer are still rocking out on a similar performing Synology DS218Play (or lower performing QNAP TS-228) but those are 2018 models. Is that level of performance still good enough by late 2021 standards for first time buyers? Of course it is! As a bare bones ‘file server’ or ‘Z Drive’ that level of performance offers an good taste of what modern 1GbE NAS appliances can do.
The operative word however is ‘taste’. It basically is a ‘what you see is what you get’ NAS appliance with no upgradeability in RAM or even connectivity. 1GbE is not overly concerning beyond the lack of a second port, but the same is not true of the RAM. With only 1GB of onboard, soldered, DDR4-2400 owners of the TerraMaster F2-210 are going to be handicapped in what modern applications can be optimally used… as running more than one application at a time is probably going to result in a performance robbing memory bottleneck. This is an issue they can do nothing about and may frustrate some users.
The same is true of the System On a Chip it relies upon. Yes, it is a decent example of what 2018 quad core ARM SoC’s can do in a NAS appliance… but at the end of the day it still an older ARM SoC. So much so that even an Intel 8th generation Celeron N or J processor will noticeably outperform it. That is why more expensive entry level NAS appliances have moved on beyond ARM. Thankfully, as it is only a dual bay, the SoC does not have to run parity calculations (the true bane of ARM based NAS appliances)… but advanced video streaming applications are going to be extremely handicapped by its lack of horsepower. Basically, ‘good enough’ for single 1080P streaming of 1080P video but once you get into up/down-conversion duties (even one stream) or just one 720P stream plus one active file server connection the demands are going to exceed the F2-210’s capabilities. That too will frustrate some new owners.
Thankfully, these are not deal breakers for most first-time buyers. Even Synology agrees with our point of view on that topic. For example, their dual bay DS220j released last year is powered by the same SoC but only comes with 512MB of RAM onboard (and costs well over 2bills US). This is because an introductory NAS appliance is just that – a good introduction into the wonderful world of Network Attached Storage… and is not meant to be end of the journey. Just the start. That is what the TerraMaster F2-210 offers and does so without costing nearly as much as other companies’ offerings.
Just understand that as an introductory model, many will eventually outgrow its abilities. Some will outgrow it quickly. Some will find it ‘good enough’ as a basic file server until the day it dies. Only you can make the final call on price vs. performance as only you know what you want to accomplish by owning a NAS. As such are recommendation is simple. Think about your wants, your needs, and desires… and how much you are willing to spend to attain them. Do that and you will know if the TerraMaster F2-210 is right for you… or not. If not, just be warned that you will (probably) have to step up to models costing twice as much (or more) than the F2-210 in order to satisfy your needs.
So, in the end the TerraMaster F2-210 is not perfect. It is not even a perfect entry level NAS appliance. But, while there a better options out there right now… there are worse. Nearly all of which are more costly. As long as you understand the limitations of the F2-210, and do not need to exceed them, the TerraMaster F2-210 is a good first step on your path to Network Storage enlightenment.
With its combination of extremely easy to use setup with ‘good enough’ performance and ‘good enough’ options the TerraMaster F2-210 is a solid choice for first time NAS appliance buyers looking for a barebones NAS appliance.