We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
NAS (network storage) Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Recommended

Synology DiskStation DS212 review

£249 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Synology

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

The Synology DiskStation DS212 is a mid-range two-bay NAS drive that's packed with features for both home and business use. We put it through its paces.

In the last three years, Synology's NAS drives have steadily improved, both in terms of hardware and software. The DiskStation 212 is a mid-range, two-bay barebones NAS and is ideally suited to home or small business users who want somewhere to store and share files. Read more storage reviews

Gone are the days when there was just one PC at home. Now, you'll have at least two or three computers, plus smartphones and tablets, all of which have their own separate storage. Not only is it a pain to back these up, but files aren't always easily accessible from other devices.

The DiskStation aims to make that easier, as well as providing a host of other features as well.

See also: Tech Advisor

Hardware

The DS212 comes without disks, but it's easy to pop the front panel off and slide out the disk trays and screw your disks in place. Then, it's simply a case of sliding them in and replacing the front cover. It's significantly easier than older DiskStations which lacked removable trays.

A 1.6GHz processor is paired with 256MB of RAM to help ensure the 212 can handle multiple connections and file transfers - we'll get on to performance later. See also: DiskStation 212+ review.

At the back are two USB 3.0 ports (handy for connecting a matching external USB 3.0 disk for local backups) and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

The front panel hosts a USB 2.0 port and an SD card slot.

Software

Once you've installed disks in the DS212 and connected it to your network, you need to use the Synology Assistant software to locate it. You can then assign an admin password and set a static IP address.

Setup is easy, then, but it's the firmware - more like a fully fledged operating system - which truly makes the DiskStation a pleasure to use.

Browsing to the 212's web-based management interface (which Synology calls DiskStation Manager, or DSM) is more like booting up a Linux PC as you get a desktop with icon shortcuts, plus widgets and a status bar.

The quick-start guide prompts you to create a volume (RAID 1 is the sensible default, but note that it's Synology's 'hybrid RAID' rather than plain mirroring) and shows how to make essential settings, but it's simple enough to find what you need in the Control Panel to create a few shared folders and users, giving each person read and write permissions specific to them. You can also allocate quotas so they can't fill up the disks with videos, for example.

What's confusing is that some tools are only in the drop-down menu at the top-left corner of the screen, even though they should really be in the Control Panel as well. Try searching the Control Panel for 'backup' for example, and you'll find Network Backup, but not Backup and Restore since it's in the 'start' menu only. Apart from foibles such as this, everything is logically arranged.

There are all the features you'd expect to find, such as an FTP server, HTTP file server, print server, iTunes server and DNLA/UPnP support. There's also lots of extras you might not expect such as a mail server, web server, VPN server and support for multiple IP camera feeds in Surveillance Station.

The latter two, plus the iTunes server, aren't installed by default, but are effectively apps which join a growing number by both Synology and third-parties. You can see the full list on Synology's website. Of most interest to home users will be Download Station for saving files from websites directly to the DS212, plus the new Cloud Station.

Next page: Apps and performance

DiskStation DS212 Expert Verdict »


Synology DiskStation DS212j reviews verified by Reevoo

Synology DiskStation DS212jScores 8.8 out of 10 based on 146 reviews
1.6GHz processor
256MB DDR3 RAM
1x gigabit ethernet
1x front USB 2.0, 1x front SD card reader, 2x rear USB 3.0 ports
1x 92mm fan
Max capacity: 2x 4TB 3.5in SATA 2 disks
iPhone apps: DS file, DS audio, DS photo+, DS finder, DS cam, DS photo
165 x 108 x 233mm
2-year warranty
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Performance: We give this item 8 of 10 for performance
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

You'll probably use only a fraction of the DS212's features, but its huge range means there's almost certainly the functions you need. Cloud Station is a welcome new feature and, given updates we've seen in the past, there will be even more added in each new version of DiskStation Manager.

  • Synology DiskStation DS712+ review

    Synology DiskStation DS712+

    Expandable with a great operating system and tons of features, the Synology DiskStation DS712+ two-bay NAS box also moves data rapidly.

  • Synology DiskStation DS212+ Review

    Synology DiskStation DS212+ Review

    Synology's nonexpandable, two-bay consumer NAS box is fast and has a useful, feature-packed operating system.

  • Synology DiskStation DS412+ review

    Synology DiskStation DS412+

    The Synology DiskStation DS412+ is compact but powerful four-bay NAS drive with sophisticated features and services, while still remaining accessible to non-specialists.

  • Synology DiskStation DS211+ review

    Synology DiskStation DS211+

    Synology's DiskStation DS211+ is a fast but pricey 2-bay NAS box that's loaded with features and useful software.

  • Synology DiskStation DS509+ review

    Synology DiskStation DS509+

    Synology's DiskStation DS509+ is a great value network-attached storage (NAS) device with five drive bays - letting you store up to 10 terabytes of data, though you'll have to supply your own drives.


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

LED vs Halogen: Why now could be the right time to invest in LED bulbs

IDG UK Sites

Christmas' best ads: See great festive spots studios have created to promote themselves and clients

IDG UK Sites

Why Apple shouldn't be blamed for exploitation in China and Indonesia