Synology wants to offer the ultimate all-in-one media center with the DS214play NAS (network-attached storage). Is that the company succeeded? A NAS is a hardware server for your network, where you can store all kinds of media files. Then you can play those files on a number of devices within your network and sometimes you need a special app for that.
What is a NAS?
A NAS a storage memory that is connected to your network. It is simply a hard disk that you connect to your home network and that is accessible from most devices in this home network, and often even via the browser or an application for your smartphone or tablet. Here you can store all kinds of files: from documents to films. In most cases you get a NAS server with software that allows you to quickly connect, transfer files and have certain folders automatically synchronized.
Synology DS214play NAS DiskStation – What is it?
The Synology DS214play NAS DiskStation is such a NAS. When you buy the DS214play NAS, you have to reckon with the hard disks to buy. In the box you will find under the DS214play main unit (that is the shell where the disks need to be inserted), a plug and a LAN cable, so if you already have one or two hard disks, you can immediately get started. So in the main unit you can use up to two SATA drives, both 3.5 inch and 2.5 inch. You also get two years warranty when purchasing this product.
What is not entirely unimportant to know is the size of the DiskStation. They are 233.2 millimeters by 108 millimeters by 165 millimeters, representing the depth, width and height respectively. The dimensions of a NAS can be important when you are dealing with little space on the spot where your router is. If you have a much longer LAN cable, then you do not have this problem and you can basically place the DS214play NAS wherever you want. However, it must always be wired and can not be accessed via Wi-Fi.
You can not only transfer data via your Wi-Fi network (from PC to NAS), but also via a USB device. There are two USB 3.0 ports on the DS214play NAS. They are located at the back. At the front you will find one usb 2.0 port, as well as an SD card reader, so you have plenty of options to store files on one of the two hard disks. Those hard disks can contain up to 6TB per piece, so with 12TB of extra, offline storage, you get a great backup server.
Synology DS214play NAS DiskStation – Installation
The fact that I had to look for how to install the DS214play NAS means for me that the process went smoothly and quickly. You use the included LAN cable, plug it behind the NAS and the other end into an available port on your router, wait a short moment and then see the NAS popping up in your network. Via the supplied software you connect to the device and within no time you are transferring files with a speed of more than 100MB per second from PC to NAS.
You must first install the software. You will not get a disc when purchasing the DS214play, but a folded manual that gives instructions on the installation and where you can find the software. You simply follow all the instructions on the website where you find the software, install everything, set a username and password and you can actually start immediately. You do not need any additional technical knowledge and the installation will go right when you follow the instructions. A piece of cake!
If you want to use the NAS to stream media to your tablet or smartphone, you can. You only need to download some apps for it. The disadvantage is that this is not just one comprehensive application of Synology: you have to download a separate app per section (music, video, etc.). I like a clean smartphone (and tablet) and prefer to install as few apps as possible with as many possibilities as possible, so it’s pretty annoying that I’m forced to fill my smartphone with lots of separate apps.
Synology DS214play NAS DiskStation – How does it work?
Once you have installed everything (both the hardware and software), you can start managing your files. On your PC it means that you manage everything via your browser. It is best to store the address as a bookmark or favorite, so you never lose it. Then click the folder of the type of file you want to transfer to, so that you can copy files to it. It does not matter how many files you choose: uploading is fast. Afterwards, the files are stored until you remove them yourself.
After you have uploaded a number of files, you can then retrieve them in the network when you connect to another device, such as a media player, your smart TV or a mobile device. In practice, I encountered few problems with playing files: only the popular .mkv file was a problem more often than I wanted. This is because Synology does not have DTS support. But in terms of photos and music I did not encounter any problems and other video files did it all.
There was also little delay between the moments of speaking and playing and that made for a very pleasant user experience. What is more striking – or rather: not noticed – is the sound that the NAS produces. I have him in the same room where I have my television, so I did not hide it in the meter cupboard, and did not bother me for the sounds that the device produces. You may hear the hard disks sometimes, but I have never experienced this as disturbing. In addition, the NAS is energy-efficient.
Synology DS214play NAS DiskStation – Conclusion
The Synology DS214play NAS is a fine device. The disadvantages there are, do not have to be decisive for a negative advice, because the use of the DS214play is very pleasant. Okay, you have to buy hard disks yourself and you will come across movie files online that will not work with the network disks due to the lack of a DTS certification at Synology. It is also annoying the fact that you need so many apps on your smart devices, but not catching up. And the price? Yes, it is a bit on the high side (around 300 euros).
But if you want to have a lot of possibilities for transferring your important files, such as documents, or files related to entertainment, such as music and films, then you certainly do not have the wrong DS214play. You transfer files via the LAN cable, the USB ports or the SD card port, so you can always, quickly, transfer those files. Moreover, this NAS offers a very pleasant user experience, you barely hear him, he does not make the hard drives hot and is energy-efficient.