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Features - more

The QNAP QRemote app had some nice touches, which I tried out on my iPad. The QRemote employs a mouse screen (shown below) much like a touchpad on a laptop. Mouse selections could be made with the L button or by tapping like on a touchpad.

QNAP QRemote mouse screen

QNAP QRemote mouse screen

Text entry was accomplished by clicking on the keyboard icon you see in the picture above. I did find this a little arduous. Going from a user field to a password field for instance, required hitting the mouse then keyboard then mouse then keyboard. Both worked well, but it didn't seem very intuitive.

The XBMC remote screen of the QRemote was very barebones yet very polished, as shown below.

QNAP QRemote XBMC screen

QNAP QRemote XBMC screen

For the majority of my testing, I preferred the IR remote QNAP sent along with the NAS. It was easy to use and was laid out very similarly to our TV's remote. It also had high WAF, although the NAS did not support HDMI-CEC which we saw in Raspbmc. HDMI-CEC allowed Raspbmc to be controlled with the TV remote. That would have been icing on the cake from the perspective of family acceptance for the QNAP, but it isn't available.

I had trouble figuring out the purpose of quite a few of the buttons on the QNAP remote. You can see on the picture below that only a few are labeled. I tried many of the buttons I was confused about and nothing visually happened. For example, the Guide and Pop-Up buttons didn't do anything, nor did Angle. I don't know if the rest have been reserved for future functions or if I just wasn't in the right screen.

QNAP IR Remote

QNAP IR Remote

But nothing happened when I tried a lot of the buttons that aren't called out in the diagram. And there isn't a manual or even a FAQ to turn to for answers, although QNAP said it will be adding remote documentation to the NAS user manual.

While the QNAP remote was great for most tasks and mostly intuitive, it was frustrating for text entry. If you had an old TiVo back in the day, you remember using the arrows on the remote to navigate an on-screen keyboard to spell out words, this works the same way. If the remote is your only choice for controlling XBMC, you may drive yourself crazy entering text.

Text selection screen

Text selection screen

Before we go into the different apps, I want to state a disclaimer about my testing. On first round of tests, I experienced dismal performance from both Chrome and the YouTube app. I was watching the NAS' Resource Monitor and saw no negligable CPU usage to indicate a background process. I emailed QNAP about this and was told it wasn't expected behavior.

Upon seeing QNAP's response, I rebooted the NAS and retested with much better results. I then had one more instance in testing where Chrome seemed to hang and subsequent logins to the admin UI seemed to be delayed until Chrome became available again. I again rebooted and again, the issue seemed to go away. I don't know what caused the problems since I didn't debug beyond watching CPU usage. But I feel it's important to note, in case others run into similiar issues.

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