Sunday, May 12, 2013

Synology DiskStation DS213air NAS Review

A lot of people these days have at least two internet-enabled devices on average. With this trend, it becomes a necessity to sync, access and share files in-between devices, especially in a wired household. There are cloud solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive and the like but sometimes, you want more control in managing your files.
Synology DiskStation DS213 01
Synology lent us a review unit of the Synology DiskStation DS213air, a compact NAS (Network Attached Storage) made for users who are not only keen on creating backups of their files but also accessing it wherever they want.
Read on to see if this is something you can use in your household.


The Synology DiskStation DS213air has quite a small footprint considering that it can accommodate two hard drives inside, convenient enough to place besides your DSL router.
Synology DiskStation DS213 02
At the front are just status indicator lights and the Power button.
Synology DiskStation DS213 03
At the back you’ll find 2 USB 3.0 ports and the Ethernet LAN connection. You can attach external drives to further expand its storage or a printer to set up a wireless print server. There’s also the dedicated fan for the cooling system of the DiskStation.

Set up

Synology DiskStation DS213 04
Inside the DS213air box is the power adapter, the Ethernet cable, and the screws you would need to install your hard drives.
Synology DiskStation DS213 05
Open the DiskStation by sliding the two parts away from each other in the middle. Slide your hard drive into the slots, making sure its connected to the port. Secure them properly with the screws and you’re all set.
Synology DiskStation DS213 06
We used a couple of 2TB Western Digital Red (not included) here which is a fairly new classification of WD drives made specifically for NAS systems. It features NASware technology which is designed to improve reliability and system performance, reduce downtime and to simplify the integration process. It also features what they call 3D Active Balance Plus, an enhanced balance control technology which significantly improves the overall drive performance and reliability.
Once the drives are in place and the DiskStation connected to your home network and powered up, it’s time to set it up.
Synology DiskStation DS213 07
Initial set up is done by accessing in your internet browser. It was fairly easy, all you need is to supply a password for the admin account and wait for around 10 minutes for the DiskStation to setup.
Synology DiskStation DS213 08
The user interface is clean and easy to understand. You can use Control Panel, File Station and icon style navigation, so you won’t have much trouble learning the DiskStation.
Once the initial setup was done, we were able to log-in and put some files into the server simply by drag and drop. Transfer rate depends on your network setup but we were able to get a stable 6 mbps via wirelesss connection.
You can also set up folders where it will automatically sync into the DiskStation for any changes. By default you can use your shared folders in your computer.


Synology DiskStation DS213 09
Doing backups was also easy. We were able to create a backup of the desired folders we want and also repeat the same process by setting up scheduled backups. The backup can be saved in many options. You can save it on the same HDD, through another HDD in the DiskStation and even through an external storage via the USB port.

Personal cloud

Setting up your own personal cloud is also easy as DiskStation has support to major router manufacturers to easily allow remote access. Basically you will need a router that has a port forwarding feature and the DiskStation will set up the port forwarding on your router to enable cloud access.
Synology DiskStation DS213 10
We were able to access our own cloud via web browser and also via mobile devices like tablets and smartphones using the dedicated app of Synology for iOS and Android.
Synology DiskStation DS213 11
Our internet speed at home is 2mbps. We were able to download files via 3G with an average speed of 200-400kbps. Video buffering had a bit of trouble but music streaming posed no problem. Just remember that the overall experience highly depends on your router’s upload speed and your device’s download speed.

Other features

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A good thing about the DiskStation is that it’s already wireless enabled that it can also act as a wireless hotspot for your home. Another convenient feature we really liked was the print server where you can use the USB port of the DiskStation with your printer to enable wireless printing. Other features available are the mail server, DLNA Media streaming, web server and surveillance server.


In three weeks using the Synology DiskStation DS213air, we were able to have a personal cloud that is convenient to access using multiple devices. We also like the fact the backing up was effortless and utilizing it as a print server was a great bonus.
Synology DiskStation DS213 13
Overall, the DiskStation is a well-rounded NAS that is easy to use, with wide support for multiple OS platforms needed for those who have multiple devices and really needs a personal cloud for their family or small business as well.
The Synology DiskStation DS213air retails for around Php15,000 (hard drive not included) an expensive but worthy home investment if you’re dealing with a lot of files and multiple devices.
Editor’s note: This post is contributed by Eason de Guzman with some slight revisions by the editor. Eason is a technology enthusiast who always try to get the latest gadgets without getting broke. He’s also into KPOP, making a point into dressing like a KPOP artist and usually has a hand on KPOP related events in the country.

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