Synology DS218+ NAS Review: Best In The Market?

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Over the last couple of years, we’ve reviewed a number of network-attached storage (NAS) devices from Synology. We first got our practical the entry-level DS215j, among the predecessors of the modern-day DS218j, and we tested the enterprise-focused DS716+II, which includes since been succeeded by the DS718+. Synology is probably the leading manufacturers of NAS devices, providing versatile boxes which will find favour with enthusiasts together with small- to medium-sized businesses.

We’ve used among our previous reviews to spell it out at length just what a NAS is and who may need one, if you aren’t sure whether you will need one, we advise you read up before proceeding further. The model that people will be reviewing today may be the Synology DiskStation DS218+, which sits among both models that we’ve reviewed earlier.

The DS218+ is a two-bay NAS that’s powered by an Intel Celeron J3355 dual-core processor with the capacity of boosts to 2.5 GHz. It has 2GB of DDR3L RAM that, Synology says, could be expanded by 4GB by using the second available memory slot. Like other Synology units, you can put 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch SATA drives (hard disk drive or SSD) into each bay. The DS218+ supports drives as high as 14TB each, providing you a maximum internal raw capacity of 28TB.

You get three USB 3.0 ports, 1 Gigabit Ethernet port, 1 eSATA port, and a copy button that works extremely well to quickly copy data from an external drive, as we’ve described earlier.

The Synology DS218+ appears like the DS716+II/ DS718+ instantly, but this one includes a front cover which has a tendency to come loose rather easily.t least this isn’t something you’d be mucking about with every day. Like its siblings, the DS218+ is pretty unobtrusive, measuring 165mm x 108mm x 232.2 mm and weighing 1.3kg without drives.

The fan does a decent job of keeping the enclosure cool without getting loud, though with an operating temperature selection of 5°C to 40°C you should make make use of it in relatively cool environments, by Indian standards. Synology says the machine is with the capacity of reaching speeds as high as 113Mbps for encrypted reads and 112MBps while performing encrypted writes, but that is determined by a range of factors like the drives you use.

The DS218+ includes a few enterprise-grade features such as for example AES-NI hardware encryption, a virtual machine manager, and a MailPlus Server license letting you run a hosted email solution. It supports more concurrent users in Synology’s Office, Drive, and Chat collaboration programs in comparison with other consumer NAS units in the company’s lineup, though something similar to the DS718+ is actually still a step-up. Synology includes a strong portfolio of software – called packages – that you could install via the Package Centre, sort of App Store for your Synology NAS.

Searching for packages, flick through the store to see what catches your eye, and update them, like the Mac App Store or the iphone app stores on your own mobile device. During filing this review, around 60 packages were can be found from Synology itself and roughly another 70 from third parties. You can even sideload packages from third-party sources. Inside our previous reviews, we’ve covered a number of the consumer- and enterprise-focused Synology packages along with applications for cellular devices.

As we’ve noted earlier, we are big fans of Download Station and Video Station – and their corresponding mobile programs DS Get and DS Video – used to download and manage videos from the web, if you are somebody who still likes maintaining an area library and haven’t switched fully to streaming services. Similar to the Synology DiskStation DS716+II that people reviewed a year or two back, the DS218+ supports 4K 30fps hardware transcoding, therefore you can stream those H.265 files within their full glory regardless if your client doesn’t support the format. Do remember that the specific resolutions you can stream at may also rely upon the functions of your client. Synology includes a helpful table on its website if you wish to find yourself in the finer information on the formats/ resolutions and you will also read more about transcoding inside our Synology DS 716+II review.

Moments is a comparatively new image management app, which Synology believes will see favour with the common user, instead of the Photo Station app, which includes features that are geared more towards the professional. We found this differentiation just a little strange, especially because the two programs maintain their own databases and there’s no chance to share photographs between them. So, for instance, when you have been using the Photo Station software for some time, and today want to utilize a number of the new features that Moments offers – such as for example face recognition – you can’t do this without importing your images from scratch.

Getting images in to the Moments application isn’t accurately seamless either. Strangely, there’s no chance to point the Moments iphone app to a location on your own Synology device that already has some photographs and allow it import them in the backdrop. You should employ the net uploader from the browser on your own desktop, or drag the photographs in to the browser window. Alternatively, you should use the Moments iphone app for Android or iOS to send photographs from your own smartphone in to the Moments database, which is pretty similar to uploading your pictures to a cloud service like Google Photos. Photos are uploaded completely resolution, and all EXIF data is preserved.

After you have your photographs imported, , things work better. Moments groups your photographs by Faces, Subjects, and Places, and we found the facial skin recognition to be up there with the very best software that we’ve used. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be to be a method of retraining the application in the event of the (rare) false positive. The Places feature also works as advertised, supplying a view of your photographs grouped by location.

Photos (left), Subjects (middle), and Places in Synology’s Moments iphone app for Android

However, the Subjects feature is somewhat underwhelming, as Moments appears to have only a tiny preset set of ‘subjects’ including Cat, Dog, and Ocean, and there’s no chance to find objects beyond that. That is similar to how Apple has implemented object recognition on Photos for iOS and macOS, instead of Google’s more flexible approach that enables you to seek out even arbitrary things such as for example ‘yellow mug’. In addition, it doesn’t deal well with a number of the localised stuff. For instance, we imported a couple of wedding photographs into Moments, but only 1 of these was found beneath the subject ‘Wedding’. Moments, of course, enables you to search by location and the persons it identifies, and you could share the photographs with anyone on the web with several clicks.

The essential idea behind Synology’s Moments software is to own basic functionality of Google Photos on an exclusive cloud where you host and control your own data, however the application is plainly a work happening and lacks the polish of a number of the older Synology offerings, such as for example DS Video.

The features we described above can be found via Moments’ Web-based interface on your own desktop, as well as the Moments iphone app for iOS and Android. Do remember that your experience using the mobile iphone app depends largely on the web speed of the home/ office where in fact the Synology NAS is plugged in, because the application must constantly speak to your NAS unit.

Synology’s EZ-Internet package helps it be simple to make the contents of your Synology unit to be accessible via the web – which it’ll obviously be necessary must be for features like remote upload to work – by opening the mandatory ports on your own router. We tried the iphone app with four different routers through the duration of our review period, testing and EZ-Internet worked flawlessly with most of them.

Various controls made available from Synology’s Moments software for Android

Another iphone app that aims to reproduce a Google offering is Synology’s Drive, which is functionally equal to cloud storage solutions like Dropbox and Google’s software by the same name. As the application doesn’t offer any extra functionality that would cause you to want to put it to use over the competent public options, if you work within an organisation where it is vital for data to be under your control end to get rid of, or if you are a individual user who values the privacy that is included with hosting your own data, Drive will probably be worth considering. Of course, you are then in charge of your entire own backups and the physical security of your NAS, in the event of natural disasters, theft, power surges, and disk failure, though Synology includes a package that makes burning the contents of your NAS to a cloud pretty seamless.

Our experience using Drive was pretty smooth, both when using computers on a single home network as the Synology, and from remote locations, with the syncing working as we expected. Synology has released native programs for macOS, Windows, and Linux in addition to mobile programs for Android and iOS. While Drive does an excellent job of maintaining version histories of most documents you focus on in virtually any shared folder, the default conflict resolution settings didn’t are we expected them to.

By default Drive is configured to “Keep carefully the latest modified version” and rename discarded versions so that you can preserve them, but we pointed out that it just did the former (i.e. preserve the changes created by whoever saved the document last) but there is no indication that there have been a conflict. We’re able to still get back to the version history of the document – accessible via the net and even via Finder/ Explorer on a computer – but without the indication that there have been a conflict, we were unlikely to go digging and so risked losing someone’s changes. Changing the conflict resolution setting to “Keep carefully the version on the server” via the settings of the Drive software on each client made the feature are expected, and we saw another copy of the same document pop-up in the folder, similar to how Dropbox and other storage providers handle such scenarios.

Document history as maintained by Synology’s Drive (observed in Finder on macOS)

Additionally you get features like selective sync i.e. you can pick specifically which files and folders you intend to sync on each machine, one-click sharing of files/ folders with others via the net, and even integration with Synology’s Office, a Web-based collaboration suite that enables you to create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and slides. It’s available via the Web-based Drive client and is excellent if you collaborate only inside your organisation and also have everyone using Drive and Office as their primary platform. However, if you are using Microsoft’s Office apps, you need to constantly convert your files to/ from the formats that Drive uses. Throw in the actual fact that Drive’s mobile software don’t support editing documents – and there are no Synology Office mobile software – it could possibly be a little immature for some organisations at this time.

Verdict


The Synology DS218+ is priced in India at Rs. 32,799, though it appears to be retailing via the company’s authorised online partner Amazon India at hook premium right now. That is a decent NAS option for medium-sized businesses that want to get enterprise-grade features and don’t want to invest on something similar to the DS718+ (Rs. 42,399). As the 4K transcoding feature of the DS218+ will appeal to consumers, the others of its features could be an overkill for some, and they should consider one of the most affordable options including the DS218 Play (Rs. 23,699), though its transcoding capacities are limited in comparison with the DS718+. Of course, as we’ve explained before, almost every Synology NAS enables you to stream videos to clients that don’t require any transcoding.

The ecosystem of Synology’s packages is open to most of its offerings, and that’s where in fact the company’s biggest strength lies. While Moments and Drive may lack the maturity of a few of Synology’s other applications, the business has a great

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