If you’re a serious home networker, you’ll know the advantage of network attached storage. For everyone else, this kind of storage (also known as NAS) is a powerful tool, giving you a central repository upon which to store your important documents, photos, media and backups, accessible from every computer attached to your home network. Synology have long been a name in this space, and with their newly announced DiskStation DS218 model, they’re hoping to increase that even further.

The DS218 is a 2-bay NAS equipped with a 64-bit quad-core processor delivering sequential throughput at over 112 MB/s reading and 112 MB/s writing. It comes with 2 GB DDR4 memory, four times the capacity of its predecessor. DS218 is also optimised for 10-bit 4K H.265 video transcoding via Video Station.

4K video content is becoming more and more common. DS218 is also optimised for 10-bit 4K H.265 video transcoding. If your device is not capable of 4K video playback, DS218 provides online 4K video transcoding to 1080p and below for a smoother experience.Michael Wang, Product Manager at Synology Inc.

The platform is powered by DiskStation Manager, an advanced and intuitive operating system for Synology NAS devices, with various applications offered to enhance work productivity. Synology has received numerous media accolades, topping the mid-range NAS category in TechTarget’s storage solution survey and winning PC Mag Readers’ Choice seven years in a row.

That’s some high praise, and so we’ve asked Synology to give us a DS218 to try out and see how it compares against our other hardware. It offers the usual range of NAS features, including:

  • Web-based File Station for drag and drop file management.
  • Network file access using FTP, AFP, NFS, SMB and WebDav to work with any environment.
  • Cloud Station for network backups and sync
  • QuickConnect to access your NAS across the Internet without needing to configure any special rules
  • Built-in 4K Multimedia Server for streaming video content across your network and over the internet. It can transcode 4K H265 video in real-time.

It promises a lot, and I can’t wait to see how it delivers. We’ll report back in January with our review.

Source: Synology DS218.
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    Philip Clark

    I’ve got a Synology 2 bay (ds215j) and love it, only thing it’s lacking is the power to decode x265 and certain audio codecs. I use Plex but remote play is kinda useless without the decoding power. Keen to see how this performs and whether they’ve finally added the ability to have specific apps use VPN such as torrent clients (currently it’s and all or nothing affair).

    Phill Edwards

    The other big brand in this space is QNAP. Will the review be able to do some sort of comparison? Of course the Synology will be good, as are QNAPs – what really matters is which is better.

    Peter Doughman

    Looking forward to the review.

    Can you please cover:

    1. how the DS Video app performs on Android phones (natively and via Chromecast) and on Android TV / Nexus Player, and
    2. the capability of the unit as a Plex Service (I understand the hardware transcoding engine isn’t made available to 3rd party apps. Given my large library of MKV/AC3 files, I hope i’m wrong).

    John Bousattout

    I’m using a 2 Bay Synology linked to my Android TV via their DS VIDEO app.
    Looking at upgrading to the 4 bay for future proofing.
    Needs plenty of RAM and processing power.
    4K decoding is essential.

    Chris Rowland

    Friends of mine use a Synology 2 bay for their home media server, and it seems to work pretty well… hence our interest in trying for ourselves 🙂

    John Bousattout

    It’s excellent as a media server – that’s what i use it for too. The ability to control it off-site is a bonus – used often. The various apps work a treat. The setup is great. The permissions per user are customisable. The updates are frequent and Synology seem to be on top of the security around their devices. I can go on and on about the Pro’s The con: The price isn’t great. I’m looking at around $800 for a 4 bay that’ll run my 4K content without buffer pauses in playback… without HDD’s. WD Red 4TB drives are… Read more »

    Peter Doughman

    How do you find DS Video on Android TV? I hear reports that its buggy and clumsy. Does it hold up against the Plex Android TV app?

    John Bousattout

    Synology is fully functional with plex.(Edit: I actually read your question wrong. Android TV plays well with Plex. Synology, i’m not too sure of but i dare say they would have – i don’t use it.) However, DS Video i what i use (With MX Player Pro).
    As of late, DS Video has been giving me an error, however, they know of the bug and will fix it.
    Prior to this, it’s been flawless.

    DS Video is only used to browse my media on both my Sony Tablet and Sony Android TV, MX Player is used to play it.