Synology DS213 DiskStation review

Like the LaCie entry, the Synology DS213 Diskstation is a nicely styled consumer and home business focused NAS.

Our test unit shipped without any drives installed, but adding a pair of 2TB SATA drives was very easy. We just popped off the front plate and the drive slotted into a pair of pull out trays. The enclosure supports upto 8TB of storage, in either RAID mirrored or striped formats (so you can choose to have a synchronous back-up, or use all the storage).

Connectivity is excellent, with a range of useful ports. There’s an SD card slot at the front alongside a USB 2.0. At the back you’ll find a pair of USB 3.0 ports which are 10 times faster than their protocol predecessor. These can be used to chain external drives to the unit. The network connection is via standard 1GB Ethernet.

Initial set-up of the device is handled through a browser based Web Assistant, which introduces you to DSM (DiskStation Manager) - the DiskStation’s operating system. It’s a real selling point for the DiskStation as it’s bold, nicely designed and easy to navigate. It’s also very clearly aimed at consumers, with tools for previewing images and other media.

This carries through to the software you use to access the DiskStation remotely, from Android and iOS apps to browser based access.

Like LaCie’s Linkstation, the DiskStation is effectively a mini PC. The specs are similar too with a 2.0 GHz ARM CPU and 512MB of DDR3 RAM.  ARM processors don’t consume much power, which is an important consideration for a device that could potentially be always on.

DSM makes the DiskStation feel even more independent, with the ability to run autonomously as a web server and even as an application server. You can run your office direct from the DiskStation.

OUR VERDICT

If there’s a flaw, it’s the DiskStation’s case. Beautifully designed as it is, it’s plastic and - though solid and robust for the most part - it feels thin in places. The hum of twin drives conducts noisily through the unit. That’s not a terrible thing by any means - perhaps we’ve been spoiled by the industrial build quality of some of the other enclosures in the review. Overall, it’s a very powerful and holistically well designed piece of kit.

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