Synology DS216se 2-Bay Entry-Level and Cloud NAS Review

Introduction


I’ve reviewed quite a few high-end NAS lately and that isn’t the right match for everyone, maybe because you just have a limited budget or you just don’t need more. Today I’m taking a closer look at the Synology DS216se, a budget friendly 2-bay NAS that allows you to set up your own personal cloud for your files and backups as well as serving as traditional NAS for file storage and media streaming.

The Synology DS216se isn’t just a budget-friendly NAS when you purchase it, it keeps being a cost-effective NAS thanks to the low power consumption of just 14 watts while accessing and 5 watts when the hard drives go into sleep mode. You can further lower the running costs with the new scheduled power on and off feature. After all, there is no need to have the NAS running when you don’t need it.

Synology built the DS216se with a 32-bit Marvell Armada 370 (88F6707) ARM v7-based SoC that comes with built-in floating point engine, 256K L2 cache, and running at 800MHz. Along with the CPU, the DS216se features 256MB DDR3 memory soldered onto the PCB.

The built-in floating-point unit enhances the overall performance of the CPU, but it is particularly advantageous in speeding up thumbnail creation when uploading large amounts of photos or videos. The DS216se can deliver an average speed of 102 MB/s while reading and over 59 MB/s while writing in a RAID 1 configuration from a Windows environment. The NAS also features two USB 2.0 ports for printers or storage and one Gigabit Ethernet port for connectivity.

Synology’s QuickConnect allows a DDNS setup with much less hassle than the traditional DDNS providers offer. You can skip your network configuration and eliminate the manual port forwarding, make it work for all your NAS users, and even use it without a public IP address. That makes it easy to access your data from anywhere, may you be away or at home and whether you use a stationary or a mobile device.

This makes it extremely easy to create your personal cloud setup, freeing you up from costly monthly plans as well as the risk of large level data breaches. Store everything safely at home and access it securely via encrypted connections. The link expiry dates also ensure file sharing over the Internet is highly secure.

You can easily connect from Windows, Mac, and Linux systems with the use of FTP, SMB2, AFP, NFS and WebDAV with network recycle bin where supported. The Cloud Station is a simple way to back up everything to your NAS and it also supports Apple Time Machine for the Mac OS users. You can create backup jobs to and from the NAS, to other NAS, and to public cloud services such as Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Microsoft Azure, SFR, and Hicloud. You can also sync your NAS with Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, hubiC, and Baidu Cloud. So no matter what type of backup and in what direction, this NAS can do it.

Backup and syncing are just one thing, but the main feature of a NAS is still to store files and serve these in various scenarios. Next to the normal file sharing for app common operating systems, the DS216se also supports streaming to Samsung TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku. The Photo Station, Video Station, and Audio Station apps allow you to build easy to navigate libraries and watch the content on pretty much any system, essentially turning your NAS into an entertainment hub.

The File Station app is a fast and secure feature for sharing and managing your files stored on DS216se. Just drag-n-drop data from a Mac or a PC to upload your files. Advanced filters make it easy to search for documents, photos, and videos and it also comes with a built-in FTP and email client. The DS216se also lets you organize and share files through an advanced web application where you can even share files and folders with others by simply sending a link. Files can be reached on mobile devices via the companion mobile app DS file while HTTPS and SSL/TLS encryption, as well as link expiry dates ensure file sharing over the Internet is as secure as it can be.

Synology got a long list of other mobile apps available for both your Android and iOS devices, such as the DS note, DS audio, DS video, DS photo+, DS cloud, DS file, DS download and DS cam apps. They allow you to access and manage the contents of your DS216se with smartphones and tablets. Thanks to the previously mentioned QuickConnect, it makes this just as easy while you’re on the road as when you’re at home and connected to the same local network.

The Synology DS216se is built-in a classic 2-piece design with a large fan at the rear that needs to be taken apart to install or switch hard disk drives. By default, the DS216se only supports 3.5-inch drives, but optional 2.5-inch adapters can be purchased should you want to use smaller HDD or SSDs.

Feature Highlights

  • Floating point unit enabled for multimedia processing
  • Affordable 2-Bay personal cloud for file sharing & backup
  • Consumes only 5.12W in hibernation
  • Scheduled power on/off further reduces energy consumption
  • DLNA®-Certified media server
  • Running on Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM)

Packaging and Accessories

The Synology DS216se package follows the simple and eco-friendly design and it comes without any fancy and unnecessary colourful print. Both the front and the back showcase a big Synology NAS logo, so there is no doubt what’s inside.

The side has a sticker showing you what is inside with a picture of the device itself, what hardware it has, and what content the box has inside.

Unpacking the box we find a Quick Installation guide to get you going, an RJ45 LAN cable for network connectivity as well as a power supply brick with connector cable for the region you purchased it in and screws for the drives and enclosure.

Synology Releases 3 New High-value NAS Servers for Homes and Businesses

Synology announced not one, not two, but three new NAS units that should provide plenty of features for a moderate price. Three three new NAS units are the DS216se 2-bay NAS, DS216play 2-bay NAS, and DS416 four-bay NAS.

Let’s start out with the biggest model, the DS416. It is the replacement for the DS414 NAS and the new DS4166 features a 1.4GHz dual-core processor (Annapurna Labs Alpine AL212) with hardware encryption engine and floating point unit. It comes with 1GB RAM and features dual Gigabit Ethernet with failover and link aggregation. You also get three USB 3.0 ports where one of them is on the front of the unit.

With Link Aggregation, the DS416 delivers over 221MB/s while reading from an RAID5 array, and over 139MB/s writing. The hardware encryption engine helps a lot when encryption is needed and the DS416 can still deliver up to 146MB/s reading and 65MB/s writing here. That is an easy 90% gain on encrypted file performance over the predecessor.

The cheapest of the three new Synology NAS is the DiskStation DS216se, a budget-friendly two-bay NAS device with the capability to host, share and protect data. This could be a great NAS for people who want to enter the world of NAS users without blowing their budget.

The DS216se features a Marvell Armada 370 800MHz with floating point unit that helps in a lot of scenarios, but especially when creating thumbnails and similar media related operations. However, the built-in floating-point unit generally enhances the overall capability of the CPU. The DS216se only features 256M DDR3 RAM, so you shouldn’t multitask too much with it. The DS216se delivers an average 102 MB/s reading speed under RAID 1 configuration and over 59 MB/s writing.

Two USB 2.0 ports on the rear allow the connection of portable storage drives for easy backup both ways. There is a single Gigabit Ethernet connection that should be plenty for most people’s home NAS needs. You can also connect it wirelessly with optional USB dongles if you should wish to do so.

With the DSM operating system at hand, you got a lot of useful features such as DLNA streaming, UPnP setup, and much more. A great feature for home users is the scheduled on and off times that help you to save electricity, live greener, and also extend the lifetime of the hardware.

The third and last new Synology NAS is the DiskStation DS216play, the successor to the highly popular entry-level DS214play NAS. The new DS216play features a better processor and comes with a dual-core 1.5GHz featuring hardware transcoding engine and 1GB RAM. The new processor in the DS216play allows for real-time transcoding of 4K Ultra HD source content (H.265) for a perfect multimedia experience on all devices. The CPU is an STM STiH412 dual-core with 1.5GHz that also features both hardware encryption and floating point unit.

The DS216play features one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port on the rear of the NAS as well as a single Gigabit Ethernet connection.

The name suggests play and that is in regards of media playback and not playing games and the DS216play could be a great solution for this. With its real-time transcoding abilities, support for DVB-T and DVB-S sticks and video recording as well as the general file serving options for pretty much all systems, including Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, and Android, there isn’t much that the NAS can’t do in that regards. DLNA support is also part of the deal.

 

All three NAS are backed by a two-year warranty. The DS216se has an MSRP of £98.40, the DS216play £186.00, and the DS416 has an MSRP of £330. Prices including VAT and all three NAS units should be available now.

Synology Displays New NAS Units at Computex

Computex 2015 – We’ve seen the new Router from Synology already, but it wouldn’t be an NAS manufacturer if they didn’t bring those devices along too.

On display is the DS216se, a budget friendly NAS server perfect for home and personal use. The two-bay NAS unit allows for easy drive mirroring, network sharing and it is also DLNA certified for streaming to your TV, consoles and set-top boxes.

Moving up the scale a bit and we get to the DS215+, an NAS unit designed for Small and Medium Businesses. It delivers great performance up to 209MB/s reading and 139MB/s writing thanks to the dual-core CPU and dual-LAN ports with link aggregation and failover support.

You also get USB 3.0 and eSATA ports along to connect extra external storage including the Synology DX513 expansion unit.

The DiskSTation DS715 is a completely new unit and doesn’t succeed any previous units. It is built around a powerful quad-core 1.4GHz CPU that offers hardware encryption engine.

The DS715 SMB NAS comes with 2GB RAM and can deliver a great performance with up to 205.5MB/s reading and 77.62MB/s writing.

The dual LAN ports support failover and link aggregation as they’re supposed to and you can expand the unit with 5 more drives using Synology’s DX513 expansion unit.

Enterprise users are also covered well by Synology’s lineup, especially with their rack units. The RC18015xs+ for example brings a quad-core processor, up to 32GB RAM as well as advanced snapshot technology for flexible point-in-time data backup and recovery.

The RXD1215sas is a high-redundancy expansion unit offering dual high-speed 6Gb/s SAS modules and allows for stacking with up to 15 units for a total of 180 drives.