Synology DS212+ review
The two-bay DS212+ has a plastic exterior but feels solidly made nonetheless. Two drive trays pull out of the front of the NAS on rails. The trays have sound-dampening washers to help minimise vibration and the extra-long screws requires to go through them are provided. Finally a front panel with rubber stoppers helps to further reduce vibration.
Setting up your NAS is simple enough, but you'll need to read and follow the quick start guide provided on the accompanying CD, which shows you how to install hard disks in the DS212+ and where to find DiskStation Manager (DSM). DSM is operating system that you need to install before you can use the DS212+, and there are Windows, Mac and Linux programs on the supplied CD.
Once the Synology Assistant has finished setting up your NAS, you can access it via your web browser, where you can also set up a shared folder that you can map as a Windows share. The guest account is disabled by default, so you must enable it if you want any device on your network to be able to access your folder without providing a password. Like all NAS devices, you can create different folders, and provide users with different levels of access.
Synology's NAS devices really stand out because of the sheer quality of their interfaces. When you open the web interface of the DS212+, you get a fully windowed GUI, plenty of helpful prompts that make it easy to find shortcuts to the functions you need and virtually every networking feature you can think of. You can also connect and share additional storage via two USB3 ports, a USB2 port, an eSATA port and an SDXC card slot. The USB ports can also be used to connect a printer.
A brilliantly designed package manager makes it easy to install additional features, such as an IP camera monitoring suite or LDAP server, while the backup manager makes it easy to back up the NAS device's contents to a variety of locations, either locally or online. As well as Synology's official packages, a community development project means that you can install different applications, from transparent proxies to alternative file managers.
As expected, the DS212+ performed well in our transfer speed tests. Configured as RAID 1, it achieved an average large file transfer speed of 42.5MB/s and a small file average of 12.6MB/s. It costs a reasonable £271, is very solidly built and has a great interface, earning it five stars. However, we slightly prefer the QNap TurboNAS TS-219P II, which is similarly easy to use but proved to be faster in our tests.
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