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4W Product Review: Synology DS216j NAS (Network Attached Storage)


CPU: Dual-Core 1.0 GHz | RAM: 512 MB DDR3 | Drive Bays: 2 | Compatible Drive Types: 3.5 SATA III/SATA II HDD, 2.5 SATA II HDD/SSD (w/ optional 2.5 disk holder) | Max Capacity: 20 TB (10 TB HDD x 2) (Capacity may vary by RAID types) | USB 3.0 Ports: 2 | Supported RAID Types: Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR), Basic, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1

What is it?

The Synology DS216j is an affordable dual-core powered entry-level 2-bay NAS (Network Attached Storage) unit capable of 20TB (10TB HD x 2) of storage. (Capacity may vary based on RAID type chosen.)

What does it do?

The DS216j allows users to not only store and share media, but also to stream media to their mobile devices, Smart TVs, DLNA devices, and speakers. Users can also synchronize files across various cloud-based storage providers including Amazon Cloud Drive, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox.

Users looking for a low-cost home surveillance system can use the DS416j connected to IP cameras for easy access to live feeds and recordings. Motion detection and push notifications also come as part of the Surveillance Station add-on you can add to your unit.

What's wrong with it?

Non-techies will find themselves a bit overwhelmed by the various RAID options available as the unit supports Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR), Basic, JBOD, RAID 0 and RAID 1. JBOD is “just a bunch of disks” and offers no real safety net versus the other RAID options. I feel Synology can improve a bit more on explaining this to novice/non-techie users a bit better and outlining which RAID solution works best for general use.

Access speeds at times were a bit on the slow side and streaming occasionally hiccuped a bit (which is to be expected as the CPU is slightly underpowered).

I would love to see this unit with slide-out bays to make changing drives a tad quicker.

Why do you/don't you need it?

Need: Readers looking for something easy to setup that just works with minimal babysitting will appreciate the simplicity of this device, not to mention the wealth of customization courtesy of various software packages Synology offers.

Don't Need: Power users may not need this unit if they are looking for a more robust CPU and additional storage bays which are crucial in instances of more than one disc failure.

My Take:

The Synology NAS that currently powers RAGE Works has been in service for quite some time and the software and ease of use were crucial after moving away from a Windows Home Server. We are currently running 16TB via our unit and feeding audio and video to full home with no issues. Macs and PC systems can access files with ease. The DS216j we reviewed, while small, was powerful enough to protect our treasured photos, videos, and documents. This unit can do the same for you and best of all it can do it without breaking the bank.

Product Photos

Product Unboxing

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DISCLAIMER: Product provided by Synology for review.