Test 3 Build quality
Will these drives keep your data safe?
The Netgear and WD units are metal boxes that feel rock solid and should put up with just about anything short of your house collapsing on them. The Synology and QNAP boxes, by contrast, are plastic, and while more attractive to look at are nowhere near as tough. Both the Netgear and WD units had large fans inside the case, which, while loud when they started up, at least ensured the hard disks remained cool.
In each case, opening the drive bays was straightforward and could be done without the need to resort to the manual. The same was true of fitting 3.5in drives in each bay. Screws were supplied with each unit to keep the drives in place.
The flip side of the robust construction of the Netgear and WD My Cloud boxes is that they were significantly heavier and less attractive to look at, especially when compared with the QNAP. This may be a consideration if you plan on having a NAS box sitting on a media unit or shelving.