Reviewed: Synology DiskStation DS218+

Consumers might not have the same storage needs as enterprise users when it comes to networked storage, but that’s no reason to get less than you need. Network-Attached Storage may be an ideal choice but most of them are expensive, complicated, and aimed for large businesses. Thankfully, the folks from Synology know that even home users can benefit from NAS, and for those customers, they created that DiskStation DS218+.

Design: 4.5/5

While it’s more compact than their enterprise offers, the brand did not break from its familiar rectangular form factor. The DS218+’s body is done in a matte black, polycarbonate material, bearing the Synology logo on the sides. Beveled edges smooth the lines out nicely, and give it a much less corporate appearance.

Unlike its enterprise-grade predecessors, this disk station has a smaller footprint which makes it more suitable for home use. Its bays and connections are smartly placed and easy to access. On its front lies the removable panel that protects the drive slots, as well as the clearly marked LED status lights. Beside the panel, you can find the USB 3.0 port together with the USB copy and power buttons. Its back houses additional ports for USB 3.0, LAN, eSATA, Kensington lock, and DC-input. There’s also a built-in large fan inside that ensures adequate cooling.

Hardware: 4/5

Putting fast processors, support for large storage, and seamless connectivity in a single package, Synology continues to offer only the best to its consumers through the newest addition to DiskStation series.

When it comes to specifications, the DS218+ runs on a 64-bit Intel Celeron J3355 dual-core processor with AES-NI hardware encryption engine, clocking in at 2.0 GHz and with burst speeds up to 2.5 GHz. Steering away from the larger 4 GB RAM necessary for enterprise units, this sports 2 GB DDR3L RAM, which is only expandable up to 6 GB. To keep the size manageable, this NAS system has two drive bays instead of the brand’s usual four, each capable of supporting 14 TB drives.

Versatile and efficient, the budget-level NAS supports practically any modern drive type including 2.5-inch SSDs. It even has support for some Bluetooth and Wi-Fi adapters, so users can connect their PCs, laptops, and mobile devices wirelessly through its dedicated app. Should you seek a wired connection, there’s the usual LAN cable that you can use for initial setup.

User Experience: 4.5/5

We’ve tested a number of NAS solutions from Synology, but this portable 2-Bay storage is one of a kind. Despite its diminutive size, the device managed to keep up with our expectations.

Accessing the Synology NAS from your laptop or PC would require you to use its browser-based UI. The DiskStation Manager software is loaded with useful apps and tools kept in various categories. One of Synology’s apps, Audio Station, scans for music files and gives users quick access. The Video Station fetches relevant information for movies and TV shows stored on the drive, and keeps tabs on videos that you haven’t watched. We also noticed faster transfer speeds over wired and wireless connections, allowing seamless 4K media streaming.

Its user-friendly UI gives system administrators plenty of control, down to the power to monitor and customize the settings of the NAS. A resource monitor shows the transfer speeds of your drives, while the System Health dialog box indicates basic information of the DiskStation such as model number, processor, RAM, DSM version, uptime, thermal status, and time along with attached USB devices. Under Connected Users and Recent Logs, the admin could see users who have access to the network drive and the recent activities that have been made.

Under Security menu is the Control Panel, where you can configure the Firewall and activate protection against DoS attacks. To improve functionality, they have also added various components. There’s now an option to schedule tasks, push error and status change notifications via email or SMS, hibernate drives after a particular period of inactivity, and even schedule its startup and shutdown. You can even gain access to files from the NAS through mobile devices, thanks to Cloud DS mobile app, both of which are available to iOS and Android devices, that syncs folders in real time.

The DS218+ also allows network drive mapping to laptops or PCs.

Value: 4.5/5

For those who are looking for a media server and a central data back-up system, the DS218+ is a perfect choice. Shelling out PHP 19,999 won’t be much of an issue with the security, long-term usability, and extended features that you’ll get.

Bottomline:

Speed, reliability, and convenience—that’s what this DiskStation is all about.

Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE October 2018 Issue.

Reviewed by Jewel Sta. Ana

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