The device is designed using a winning combination of black and silver. The plastic exterior panels of the case are fastened to a metallic frame. The whole thing is both robust and pretty. The design is overall reminiscent of the earlier NS4300N and NS2300N. Fortunately, the device is free from easily soiled glossy surfaces except for the indicators block.
The NAS has a standard external power adapter (12V/8.33A) like those that go with notebooks but it is located inside the NAS, in a compartment at the bottom of the case. This makes it unnecessary to install an additional fan for cooling the power supply and increases the ease of use (there is no “brick” lying on your desk or floor). The PSU was rather hot during our tests but without any unwanted consequences.
Most of the front panel is a door for accessing the HDDs. As opposed to the NS4300N, it is reinforced with a metallic plate from the inside. It also has meshed vent holes. This mesh is rather too small and may quickly get covered with dust, which would worsen the NAS’s cooling and exterior. The door has a latch. It is an ergonomic rather than security element, though.
Indicators and controls are located on the right rib of the front panel: two LED indicators (status and activity) for each HDD, a LAN indicator, and a Backup button with inbuilt indicator. This button may be taken for a power switch, and it is only when this switch proves to be unable to turn the NAS on that the user will look for something else or will finally read the manual.
There is nothing unusual at the back: a vent grid, a power adapter input, a Power button, two USB ports, one eSATA port, a LAN port with indicators, and a Reset button. It is easy to replace or clean the fan: you can unfasten four screws and take off a part of the plastic panel. The fan is slim and measures 80x15 millimeters. Its fastening and connector are not standard, so you may have problems finding a replacement. Fortunately, the default fan (NMB-MAT 3106KL-04W-B39) is very quiet, its speed being adjusted automatically depending on the temperature (often the fan even halts altogether).
The whole arrangement will stand firmly on any desk thanks to tall plastic feet with rubber pads. Counting these feet in, the NAS’s case measures 22.8 x 18.9 x 15.3 centimeters.
Overall, the NAS is designed properly and ergonomically. The lack of a USB port on the front panel is perhaps the only inconvenience.