A few months ago I was given a DS218j from Synology to review and I’ll admit I waited some time before setting it all up, mainly because I was a little intimidated. When I first received the Synology delivery at my home, I did wonder what on earth this two-person household was going to use it for? Since then I’ve wondered – what can’t I use it for?
But let’s start at the beginning, like a good review should.
Synology was started nine years ago in 2000. The company centers around something called Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices…
The two primary product lines at Synology are DiskStation and RackStation. DiskStation is what we’ll be looking at here, as it is intended for the home user and even small offices. RackStation is more for larger commercial environments. (Maybe next time!)
DiskStation models come with a propriety Linux-derived operating system, known as DiskStation Manager, which has a very intuitive web-based interface that really feels like you’re using a desktop computer. It has easy to recognise icons, well arranged menus, and, these things I would NOT know about called help files.
Not only does Synology’s NAS drive handle standard stuff like file management, you’re also given a variety of plug-ins that can take on those mundane tasks like consolidating your photos.
In the end you’re left with a multi-function device that enables you to have your own personal cloud storage at home.
In short, this little box means that you are able to consolidate any shared files and have access to them whenever you need them from any device, anywhere in the world. Yes, I know we already have google drive, icloud, one drive etc but this time the cloud is all yours and you tell it when and where to rain!
About the DS218j
The Synology DS218j is a two-bay, entry-level NAS, run by a dual-core processor, with a throughput at over 113 MB/s reading and 112 MB/s writing under RAID1 configuration in a Windows environment. With the help of the built-in hardware encryption engine, the DS218j delivers encrypted data throughput at over 105 MB/s reading and 58 MB/s writing.
My DS218j comes with front LED indicators which have automatic brightness schedule control. This helps reduce possible visual interference at night. It also only uses 17.48 watts during access and 7.03 watts during HDD hibernation, which is so much more power-efficient than a computer and much more budget friendly. It really is a versatile 24/7 personal cloud solution.
First, make sure you have a hard drive at hand (there are bays for 1 x 2.5” and 1 x 3.5”drives). I thought the NAS drive came with a hard drive but I was mistaken…
The DS218j looks like it’s just one box. There are no doors or openings and you literally have to slide the top away from the bottom. It almost feels like you’re taking the housing apart – don’t stress! You’re doing it right! For peace of mind, check the underside and you’ll see a cheat sheet on how to split the DS218j in two.
In my case the set-up was done on my Android phone using the DS Finder app. It couldn’t have been easier. Download the app, follow the instructions and bam you’re done!
I really can use it anytime and anywhere on any device I have on hand, thanks to the mobile applications. I can access my multi-media library even when I’m out and about.
Available on iOS and Android, DS photo, DS audio, DS video, and DS file enable access to the NAS through Photo Station, Audio Station, Video Station, and File Station. What’s more, I can use DS get to remotely manage and monitor download tasks on Download Station.
QuickConnect allows me to connect via a simple customisable address so I can instantly access media and work files on any Windows/Mac/Linux computer, laptop, or mobile device.
With Cloud Sync I have Dropbox, GoogleTM Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Baidu and Box storage at my finger tips because of my personal DiskStation at home. The Cloud Station Suite allows you to sync files among multiple devices (Windows PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or AndroidTM tablets/phones). Everything is kept up to date and the easy file sharing capability even has enhanced security thanks to the built-in firewall, and multiple IP and account intrusion auto-blocking mechanisms.
My favourite at the moment is Photo Station. With Photo Station I can painlessly categorise photos into my own categories, albums, and even blog posts. I can even link them to my social media.
Audio Station comes with a built-in lyrics plugin, Internet radios, and support for DLNA® and AirPlay® speakers for quality playback. With Video Station, you can watch movies and TV shows online or directly through the DS video app on Apple TV.
So there’s a lot to choose from here and maybe you’re greedy like me and you want a little bit of everything. But how does it all work, you ask? DSM.
Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM) is a web-based operating system tailor-made for every Synology NAS, says Synology. “Featuring an intuitive multitasking user interface, DSM provides a simple desktop-like experience to minimise effort in exploring and managing your Synology NAS.”
With the built-in Package Center, you can download and install a variety of bundles to suit your unique needs – file backup, multimedia sharing, productivity tools, safeguard security and utilities.
With all the built-in and add-on features, DSM provides you with complete and fine-grained control of your DS218j. You can amplify productivity and make the best out of of your digital assets – with only a few clicks.
After weeks with the Synology DS218j, I asked myself, who is this for and who would need NAS?
Who wouldn’t need NAS!?!
DS218j – USD 189.99
*Looking for something else? Try this.