Back in 2015 Google Photos made its debut with a promise of free unlimited storage for photos uploaded in “high quality.” Guess what? Google-backed out and will stop providing free unlimited storage from June 1, 2021.
This means one has to pay Google a recurring subscription fee beyond the allotted 15GB of disk space that is shared between Gmail, Drive, and Photos. Not just cost storage, privacy is another major concern that experts associate with cloud storage. For instance, Apple iCloud storage allegedly faced a security breach where the personal data of several celebrities were hacked and leaked on the internet.
Is there an alternative to cloud storage that works as seamlessly? Yes, you may have heard about a thing called Network Attached Storage (NAS). Usually, a NAS is a compact server that you can set up at home and then back up or retrieve your data from anywhere around the world. Of course, there is so much more you can do with your own mini-server – back up your PC, create a personal streaming media server, store surveillance footage, or even host a website.
NAS market has been steadily in India. With pandemic is forcing everyone to work from home, we have received several requests related to NAS more specifically Synology DiskStation 220+ NAS that is priced just right to make sense for beginners. We decided to dive deep and do a complete Synology DiskStation 220+ NAS review. Now, without wasting much time, let’s jump right in:
Synology DS220+ Specs
|CPU||Intel Celeron J4025|
|RAM||2GB DDR4 (expandable up to 6GB)|
|Drive bays||2x (SSD/HDD)|
|Capacity||32TB (2x 16TB)|
|Cooling||1x 92mm fan|
|Ports||2x 1Gbe LAN
1x Rear USB 3.0
1x Front USB 3.0
|Power draw||Up to 14.69W|
|Dimensions||165 x 108 x 232.2 mm|
Synology DiskStation 220+ NAS Unboxing
The Synology DS220+ NAS landed on our doorstep in a compact package that hardly weighed around 2KGs. It was neatly packed in a cardboard box. On Synology DS220+ NAS unboxing, we found the following items inside:
- DS220+ NAS unit
- Screw for 2.5-inch disk fitting
- Tray lock keys
- 65W AC power adapter & power cord
- Two RJ-45 LAN cables
- Quick Installation guide
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Synology DS 220+ NAS Review: Design and Ports
This affordable Synology NAS projects confidence with minimal yet attractive aesthetics. It is compact enough to fit in on a tiny table and has a string of LED indicators conveying status messages. Synology smartly uses a pop-off top cover and toolless drives setup. The removable front panel gives us access to the slots to slide in storage to disk bays. Same trays can be used for SATA disks or SSDs. If you are in India, we’d recommend Seagate’s NAS-ready Iron Wolf drives. We placed one 4TB Seagate Iron Wolf drive in each bay. The entire process was effortless and even consumers who aren’t tech-savvy shouldn’t face any issues installing the Synology DS 220+ on their own.
On the front, there’s also a power button, a one-touch copy button, and a USB 3.0 port. The back panel, on the other hand, includes a ventilation fan, two 1GBe LAN ports, a USB 3.0 port, and a Kensington lock for securing the device.
Synology logos on either side panels look sleek and also add vents for the fresh air to flow in. The fan at the back pumps out system-generated heat to ensure efficient working.
Synology has done well with the design and ports. If we were living in an ideal world, we would have liked an additional USB port to plug-in a network-attached printer or any other peripheral device. Also, we would have preferred a 2.5Gb LAN port in there.
Overall, a big thumbs up to the Synology team for the effective design.
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Synology Diskstation 220+ Review: Setup
Synology has made the entire setup super easy. It takes hardly 10 minutes to complete the entire process. After putting the two Iron Wolf drives from Seagate and connecting it to our home network via LAN we boot up the DS220+ NAS.
One doesn’t need to be a geek to set up Synology NAS. Just download the Synology Assistant Tool on your PC or open “http://find.synology.com/” in your browser to detect connected NAS on your network. Next, follow the instructions to setup up your Synology account, open Storage Manager to configure the drives or RAID volumes and you will be good to start.
Next, you will need to install packages from the package center depending on the services you need to use, analogous to how you’d download apps on any Android or iOS device. For instance, you can download Plex Media Server for using your NAS as a media center. You will also need to create shared folders and give read/write access to different service to fetch data from them. For example, Plex can automatically add videos from our Movies folder to our Plex library and we can then access them on any phone or Android TV via Plex app.
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All this may sound complicated, but Synology software is quite intuitive and most users should be able to get through with fair ease. Of course, the OS is replete with options for controlling granular details that tech-savvy users may like to dabble with.
Let’s now move to the performance part.
Synology Diskstation 220+ Review: Performance and Software
Synology’s Diskstation Manager is really excellent system software for a NAS. It has a fluid interface that is easy to understand and use. There’s a Package Center which is like app store from where you can download and install various useful apps – proprietary and third-party options.
DS220+ is powered by a 2.0 GHz Intel Celeron J4025 2-core processor which can go up to 2.9 GHz. Graphics are handled by Intel UHD Graphics 600 which is capable of delivering full HD and 4K playback. The Synology DS220+ is able to offer transcoding for Plex. We are able to stream 4K HDR videos on our LG Smart TV via the native Plex app.
We could also seamlessly upload and retrieve huge files using the Android Synology Drive app. Since we were running out of space on Google Drive, we shifted various personal files, photos and videos from Google Drive to NAS Storage via Hyper backup with encryption. Of course, you can do visa-versa as well to create multiple copies of your data.
One great convenience was backing up Photos. All you have to do is download Photo Station from Package Center on your NAS and download DS Photo app on your phone. After we set up the phone app to backup the DCIM folder, all our new and old images were automatically backed up in chronological order within that device’s folder. This resulted in better organization for us since we use multiple devices simultaneously.
While all that is great, the DS220+ is an entry segment NAS with a couple of peeve points. Firstly, it has 2gig of memory which is inaccessible which means maximum RAM expansion is limited to 6GB while the CPU has support for 8GB. The lack of NVMe SSD bays is another complaint that I have. Had there been an option for adding NVMe SSD for cache, it would have immensely benefited with faster read and write speeds.
Synology Diskstation DS220+ Review Verdict: Should you buy it?
The Synology DS220+ is an excellent NAS for basic users. More than the hardware it’s Synology’s user-friendly DSM software that makes it a great buy. The innards manage to deliver reliable performance for basic users. We’d recommend Seagate Iron Wolf drives to use with Synology NAS.
Now, the question is should you buy the Synology DS200+? Absolutely, if you are looking for a dependable NAS for your home or basic office use.
- Excellent software
- Easy installation and setup
- 4K media transcoding
- Runs cool and silent
- Limited RAM expansion
- No NVMe slot