15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2013
Bought this to replace an aging Netgear product; very impressed with all the features included with the Diskstation, particularly the home cloud option which is easy to set up. User interface (Diskstation Manager) is fairly intuitive and there is no need to do anything via the command line. I also like the fact that you can choose which packages to install, rather than having lots of bloatware installed for you. The package centre lets you choose which packages you want and then downloads and installs them for you. And the packages are free, as are the Andoid and iPhone apps which let you access various features, such as your music library, etc. Remote access is also fairly easy to set up and can be done without any knowledge of router port-forwarding etc. I've been running this for about 3 months with two WD Red 2TB hard drives (although the Diskstation will support up to 2x4TB drives); with these drives the Diskstation is so quiet you almost have to look for the blinking leds on the front panel to check its turned on. Would thoroughly recommend this product and although the Synology forums can be a little quiet there is plenty of Help and Information available in their knowledgebase.
91 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2013
There are a few NAS systems on the market, and I eventually went with the Synology due to the number of positive reviews. I wasn't disappointed. This is one of the best experiences I have had setting up new technology. First impressions of the DS213J is that it's smaller than you might expect from the photos. Installing the hard disks is a doddle - just slide off the plastic cover on the side of the NAS, slot the disks into the bays (easy with SATA connections as there are no separate power/data cables to worry about) and secure the hard disks in place with the provided screws (the rubber bushes in the drive bays make this much easier - nice attention to detail). Setting up the system is just a matter of pointing your web browser to the Diskstation. It automatically formats and sets up the disks in a RAID1 (mirrored) configuration, and you're good to go. If you want to use the NAS as a media server, this is a separate download, but takes seconds to do using the package manager. The desktop interface is easy to use, especially for a Windows person like me who's never set foot in the scary world of Linux. One of the best features of this unit is the power-saving capability. You can set it to hibernate (spin down) the disks after a period of inactivity, which reduces power consumption to a few watts and (optionally) switches off the fan. For a typical home setup where the NAS is only used for a few hours a day, this will greatly extend the life of the disks. In practice, I've found that any DLNA devices on your network will keep the Synology awake - presumably when they're scanning the network for media servers - but it hibernates fine when the network is quiet. Overall I'm delighted with this little box - inexpensive secure storage, easy to set up and use, and more features and software than you can shake a stick at. Recommended.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The J series from Synology is billed as a budget friendly machine for the home or soho environment. Although one shouldn't let this put you off as for the vast majority of home users a J series NAS will provide the perfect balance of price and performance. It'll happily stream a HD video across your network to your htpc or other media player! The DS212J has been one of my first recommendations since it was released and this review takes a look at it's replacement, the DS213J.
Synology NAS enclosures are so much more than just storage as they provide numerous additional features. The Synology DiskStation DS213J is designed to be a budget friendly energy efficient server that can manage media, print, downloads, surveillance and mail. If you are a proud Android or iPhone/iPod Touch owner you can remotely interact with the DiskStation DS213J as well via a downloaded app.
The DS213J is more of an evolution of an already brilliant unit rather than a revolution. It features incremental changes which keep the unit fresh and uptodate. The main changes between this and the DS212J it replaces are:
*RAM - the DS213J now features 512mb DDR3 ram compared to 256mb DDR3 in the DS212J
*Weight - The DS213J has been revised slightly with an overall lighter chasis.
*WoL - The DS213J features Wake on Lan.
Included in the box is the unit itself, installation disc and welcome note. You also get the assembling kit, ac power cord and an RJ45 ethernet cable and the unit features a 2 year warranty.
The front of the unit is home to the power button and status LED's whilst th rear contains two USB 2.0 ports, the requisit RJ45 ethernet port and the power connector. Along with a recessed reset button and security lock connector.
Opening the Synology DiskStation DS213J involves removing the two screws on the back of the device and then sliding the left side cover off of the unit. The inside of the DS looks pretty similar to its predecessors as the primary upgrade in the unit involves memory capacity, going from 256mb DDR3 to 512mb DDR3. Those who have previously owned the DS211J or DS212J will be familiar with this as the drive uses the same format but with a boost to memory and some revision to the build.Setup
Setting up your new DiskStation is simplicity itself. You can use the supplied disc or download the DiskStation Manager software direct and go from there. For guide on how to get up and running check out our article. DiskStation Setup
Make sure you check Synology's compatibility list first if buying new drives to make sure they are known to work, as they test drives regards compatibility. The two drives in raid provide a level of data redundancy so should one drive fail you can fall back on the other drive mirroring it.
The Jewel in the crown - DSM
The Synology DiskStation DS213 is operating system agnostic so it can be used on home/work networks running Windows, Mac or Linux systems. The built in Media Server is DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) capable allowing the NAS to stream seamlessly to DNLA ready devices such as the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 or other media streamers around the house. I use mine to stream movies to my TV by mapping the shares to my htpc and then using xbmc.
Synology recently upgraded their DSM (DiskStation Manager) software to version 5.1, which is designed to feel more like an OS than typical NAS software and this is where the Synology drive really excels above and beyond the competition in my opinion. Make sure you update to the latest firmware form the control panel.
As mentioned Synology also provide mobile apps that interface with the DS213J for both the iPhone/iPod Touch and Android devices. The DS Audio iPhone app, allows music to be streamed from the NAS to your iPhone both within and outside of your home network.
DS Photo offers browsing and uploading photos and videos stored on DiskStation from your mobile devices. Best way to think of this is your own personal dropbox without limits, though the nas drive needs to be online for you to do it. DS Photo setup guide
As well as being able to operate with Linux, OS X and Windows it functions as an entertainment server through its DNLA enabled media backend and built in iTunes server. The Download station allows Bit Torrents to run on the DiskStation DS213J without any other computer being on within the network.
There are a range of available applications to launch websites and host mail servers. And a great feature is the ability to hook up a USB printer making it available across the network for everyone. Ideal in the home if you have a couple of users and saves having to hard connect to the printer and it could be tucked away somewhere out of sight! You get a complete print server that supports multifunction printers, Apple Air Print, and Google Cloud Print for sharing your printer around the home or office.
The Surveillance Station 6 is yet another very useful feature as you can setup the DS213J for use with IP cameras. For the home user these means keeping an eye on your property or even using your camera to keep an eye on your little ones.
The recently upgraded DSM 5.1 interface makes managing settings and applications on the machine much smoother and simpler and less intimidating for those with limited knowledge of networks and all the various settings. If you can navigate around Windows then the DSM 4 interface should seem quite familiar.
One of the major features of the DSM software is their cloud service, keeping all your digital devices in sync with your DS213J. All the benefits of cloud storage with the peace of mind that local security/storage brings.
My Final Thoughts
If you are looking for a very capable budget NAS then the Synology DS213J is a terrific choice for the home and soho user. It brings a welcome boost over the DS212J and strikes a perfect balance between performance and affordability. Bringing a polished operating system which is easy to get to grips with and a full compliment of mobile apps making access on the go a doddle. I found it's performance to be very close to the advertised figures achieving 85-90 MB/s Read and 55-60 MB/s write when copying large files which is more than sufficient to stream that 1080p .mkv to your htpc.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2014
What a great piece of kit this is. My first NAS and I was a little sceptical after reading some reviews. Mr Farrall for instance claiming the DS213 reduced him to a gibbering wreck. Ridiculous, all I can say is he must either have been this way his whole life or he's the type of guy who struggles with the TV remote.
The web based interface is excellent IMO. Just as easy as using windows and it looks really good and it's responsive. Very easy to set up and I mean easy. Great apps, not just on the NAS it's self but also for Windows, OS X and iOS.
Wish I'd bought ages ago. Only my first day with it and I already have my files and my own Dropbox set up and working a treat. Also works great across my mac running Mavericks and my pc running Windows 8.1. Very impressed, buy, you won't be disappointed.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 2014
I bought this for the company (8 -10 users) to replace a PC acting as a simple file sharer. I had wondered whether to upgrade the PC, but in hindsight getting this box was a MUCH better idea. The file sharing was up and running in a couple of minutes, with a great deal more flexibility than what I had before. It has been solid, not caused problems when we have had the odd power cut, rebooting quickly. The web interface is very good and I now have it serving up both private and general web pages, roundcube for web based mail for colleagues away from the office, MySQL serving up a couple of company databases, and some FTP space to recive large files from clients. I have been using the webspace to test a copy of our company site, so had to install Perl and PHP and also use .htaccess based redirects for a full check of the real site. All this was possible and worked without too much pain. There is a good forum for when you need extra information. What finally convinced me I had to write a nice review was the recent experience when I did finally get stuck on what turned out to be a subtle configuration issue. I emailed Synology support, without great expectation because, after all, it wasn't that expensive and I bet they get a lot of fairly dumb questions. When their first suggestions did not help, they arranged a Teamview session where a guy, who clearly really knew what he was doing, spent a considerable amount of time, operating my PC remotely to track down and solve my problem. A free help person who was an expert, not just someone who had read the manual, how often does that happen? The box was worth every penny.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2014
I bought the Synology DS213J on the recommedation of several of my colleagues who raved about them, and I wasn't disappointed. I bought unit without disks and installed a spare single 500GB disk to get me started. The installation of the hard disks is a breeze. When I added the first proper 4TB WD Red disk the Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) made the upgrade process extremely easy, first mirroring the original 500GB and I chose to leave the rest unused. I then swapped out the 500GB for a second 4TB and again the SHR did its thing faultlessly first mirroring then expanding the available space to the full 4TB.
The latest version of the Diskstation OS (DSM 5.0 at time of writing) has an intuitive web interface and offers a good balance between functionality and complexity. The range of packages available to run on the NAS is fantastic. Instead of bloating the NAS with unneccessary software Synology senisibly leave it to you to pick and choose only the ones you want. I installed the Video Station, Audio Station, Photo Station and File Station packages, each of which has a free companion Android or iOS app for your phones and tablets. A great bonus for me is that the DS Audio and DS Video apps are compatible with Google's Chromecast making very easy to stream audio and video from the NAS to the Chromecast. I've also installed the Surveillance Station package whcih allows yoo to use IP cameras with the NAS as a security system. I even found a hack on the community website that allowed me to use a USB camera, very reassuring when we were in France on our honeymoon. Speaking of which, I used the DS Photo app to upload the honeymoon photos from hotel WiFi each day to my NAS. So we wouldn't lose or photos even if a phone or tablet was lost stolen or broken. Very cool.
There are many more apps and functions that the DS213J can also do: It can host websites, Wikis, MySQL, act as an email server...... the list goes on.
In summary I'm very impressed with the quality of the DS213J and the software available for it. Great job Synology :)
47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2014
I am very pleased with the NAS but it is my first NAS, so I've got nothing to compare it with. It's got 2x western digital 2TB red hard drives. I wish I'd gone for 3TB just to store some video and offload the MAC hard drive. Having said that, I have only used 22% storage so far and that's with my entire music collection (300+ CDs) and time machine backup from 2 MACS. It's using Synology hybrid RAID to provide a mirror image of the primary hard drive on the secondary (in case 1 drive fails with all your music on it). I'm also using the free Synology media server to stream the files to the network. Set up was very easy and I managed most of it from reading the excellent support notes on the synology website. The NAS is connected to the wireless router by a network lead and the wireless router has a lead connected to a network adapter plugged into the ring main. The music is streamed via the ring main to another network adaptor, about 20 metres away, by the Yamaha CDN-500 network player. I rip my CDs with the MAC and they are sent via wifi to the NAS using a Phile Audio app from the Apple App Store. This usually identifies the correct CD and inserts all the album artist, track names and genre. You have to find the artwork yourself, but that is easy with google, you just click and drag the artwork to the app and it is automatically inserted. The artwork will then appear on you IOS, Google, windows device so you can see what you are playing. FLAC is simple, uncomplicated and sounds very good. Apple lossless seemed to be lacking something sound wise , WAV files were huge and Ogg Vorbis just seemed to have too many options. After experimenting with the first couple of CD's, I found the format I preferred (FLAC) tweaked various settings with Phile App and DSM to ensure album art was included and then paid my daughter 50p per CD to rip my entire collection over the summer holidays. The NAS is stable and reliable, stitting in the laundry room with the wireless router and it looks after itself. It wakes up when the yamaha needs it, recovers itself after a power cut and will even automatically update it's own software (although I've turned this off as I don't want it rebooting when I'm about to listen to Music). It's also used for streaming to my daughter's Denon Cocoon using the same DLNA system as the Yamaha and works a treat on that too. It seems solid and well made and quiet and will hopefully last a good few years. It was also pretty good value for money compared to others and got good reviews from professionals and consumers as per the WD red HDD's. I am very pleased with the set up, it works well and sounds great. My CD's are in a box in the loft and a lot of space has been freed up in our home. Hope this helps.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 28 July 2013
Recommended by a friend - it was easy to set up and does a great job, yes it takes a while to sort it self out initially but it now sits there and stores all my old movies. Nice one
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2014
Forgive the Arthur Dent-ism but it is far easier to list the things that it doesn't do rather than what it does.
Sometimes you come across a device that solves a simple problem but opens a huge gate way to things that you never ever considered. The analogy is like buying an iPhone just to make and receive calls, with that only being the tip of the iceberg.
The Synology DiskStation is such a device, I purchased it as I wanted to get files off of my computer drive and have some sort of backup. Having owned an Apple Time Capsule where the hard disk died after 3 years, I wanted something with a bit more fault tolerance in the form of a RAID array. After reading the reviews the Synology DS213J is the perfect fit for a home NAS solution, it has plenty of power under the hood to handle the demands of a home media server and exploring the other features included by Synology. Right now I'm using mine as a Video server, Music server, Photo Album server, Web server, VPN server, Video Surveillance, OpenERP... the list goes on..
Out of the box it was very easy to assemble, looks very cool in white. Noise level is equivilent to a Sky+ box, very quiet. Disk station software is intuative to Windows and Mac users alike, usually the unit ships with version 4.x with version 5.x being online. There is a huge difference between the two so make sure you upgrade as soon as you're up and running.
Not so much a negative point on the Synology NAS but to get up and running with the external connectivity you need to configure the port forwarding of your router. Synology can do this automatically but I have a BT Home Hub 3 which is not completely supported which means this has to be done manually. BT customers should check their version of home hub 3 if they have one to see if it is version A or version B, the former being problematic when it comes to port forwarding. Having said this, it is a breeze, the firewall notification of the DiskStation tells you what ports to open up and you just copy the settings to your routers port forwarding rules.
Surveillance camera station only comes with 1 licensed camera, additional cameras requires purchasing a license pack which is sent by post at a cost of £42 per camera - very expensive if you wanted to use it for half-a-dozen cameras.
This is a purchase that has far exceeded my expectations, with 2 3Tb WD Red drives it has been a breeze to setup and exploring the additional modules offered has uncovered some extremely useful tools for more projects. Synology has a huge online resource to help even novices get the best out of their system and backed with support and user forums makes this a reassuring product.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2013
REMEMBER this item is just the storage device and software - hard drives are extra.
Having suffered a hard drive failure some years ago, losing some valuable data, I have always been concerned to ensure data is backed up. To make life easy, I never use the Microsoft 'My Documents' folder, but configure Drive D for data (moving the drive letter if anything is using this to E or whatever). Some progams are naughty though, and either insist on using the documents folder, or a folder under the relevant Program Files folder, so I have a freeware program to copy these to my D Drive. Thus, all I need to do is ensure that my D Drive is backed up. However, as my data has grown, all my other methods have become more unweildy, so I looked at NAS
I installed two identically sized hard drives in the bays (made by different manufacturers, as advised by a techie friend), and then fired up the software. It comes with a disc, but unless you don't have internet it's not necessary. The software does most of what is needed, and I've set it to the default Hybrid Raid 1, which means that should one disk fail, the other still has a full copy and can be restored. I was aware that the disks would be formatted to cope with the Raid 1 system, so I left it to chunter along, and a couple or so hours later it was done.
As well as my data, our family has a number of computers with data, so I made use of the software and made a folder for each computer on the NAS, and did a full backup from the data drive of each computer to its own folder on the NAS. It took about 5 hours, but now hundreds of gigabytes of data are now safely stored.
What about the future? You see, I forget sometimes and regular backups are essential. The only let down with the NAS storages software is that you can't easily set up an automatic backup from a computer to the NAS device (though I think it can be done with some manual script coding - but that's beyond me). Going to Windows Explorer I can log onto the NAS device and see the backup folders - trouble is my backup software could only see the NAS device. I downloaded some other software and similarly only the root drive of the NAS device could be found. However, an easy solution was found: map the relevant NAS folder as a drive. Now my backup software can see it, and in the background does a backup to the NAS device every hour of any new or changed files. Works a treat.
If you are ever worried that your thousands of digital pictures will dissappear into the ether, get this now if not sooner.