Almost more than a year ago, we gave you our thoughts about Western Digital’s Network Attached Storages. We pointed out that in today’s highly productive environment, consumers need access to their files wherever they are. Whatever brand of NAS you have or you wish to have, it promises a wide range of features that give you flexible access to your files. However, at the end of the day, you deserve to know which NAS can give you the best bang for your buck.
We asked Ardent, the PR of Synology in the Philippines to allow us to review a Synology DS718+, a NAS positioned for tech enthusiasts. We’ve been getting a lot of amazing feedback from consumers about this NAS, so we dared to ask them for a review unit. Just so you know, we currently use a MyCloud EX2 Ultra 4TB, which we bought last 2016. We gave it a 4 out 5 in our review and praised it for its flexibility and the ton of features available in it. However – spoiler alert – I was surprised how inferior it is compared to Synology’s NAS’, and here’s a breakdown of the things we love about it:
It’s packed with better specs
C’mon, take a look at how superior the DS718+ is compared to our MyCloud EX2 Ultra 4TB. Price difference isn’t too remote as well; and with just PhP5,000 difference, you get yourself a much faster NAS, and a tremendous amount of software features.
You see, when you’re getting a NAS, you’re basically getting another “smaller” computer that houses all your precious files, accessible anywhere you are. So, the faster NAS you’ve got, the better your experience will be.
Here’s a more concrete example: It only took me 4 minutes to transfer 20GB worth of videos from my hard drive to the Synology DS718+. I did the same thing on my MyCloud EX2 Ultra, and it took 5 minutes to fully transfer all the files. For benchmark purposes, I transferred the same files from an HDD to my SSD, and it finished just as fast as the Synology DS718+.
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It is a fully featured computer
Yes, owning a NAS is similar to owning a fully featured PC. Well, you can’t exactly play games here from the get-go, but having seen and used this made me realize how Synology put up everything they’ve got to make it the most useful NAS ever. It has its own operating system, with a UX and UI very much akin to Windows and Ubuntu. As a network attached storage though, another computer is required to access it.
The NAS is powered by the latest DSM 6.1, Synology’s proprietary operating system for their NAS devices. It offers a huge amount of improvement compared to its previous software iterations. When I received this review unit from Synology, it notified me to update to the latest DSM. It, however, encouraged me to switch to their latest modern file system (BTRFS), which allows users to rollback instances so you can revert back to previous file modifications like accidental file deletion. You can learn more about BTRFS, check this link.
Like most modern operating system, Synology has the same feature, which allows users to download and install apps from their Package Center. The latter is their own repository of applications for Backup, Development Tooks, Utilities, etc. If you’re getting a NAS for media access purposes, DSM 6.1 has all the necessary applications that will allow you to access your files using whatever available devices you’re accessing it from. My MyCloud EX2 Ultra has this feature, but the applications available are unfortunately so limited compared to the ones available on DS718+.
It is perfect if you don’t work alone
We’re a team of 6, and we don’t usually work in single workstation all the time. In order for us to have consistent and smart productivity, access to our files is highly important.
DS718+ provides an impressive number of collaborative features. Synology’s QuickConnect is one, and it proved to be very useful when downloading and uploading files. Provided that you and the people connected to your NAS have relatively good download and upload speed, you shouldn’t have any problems transferring files.
There are other apps available at DSM 6.1’s disposal that are ready to be installed and used. A few of our favorites include Chat and Office. Obviously, the former allows all users (that have access to it) to chat with each other, and the latter is a full-fledged open-source alternative to Microsoft Office within the Synology Drive ecosystem. Setting it up requires a bit of knowledge in system administration, but it’s definitely a piece of cake to understand.
Perfect for streaming media contents
DS718+ is built with streaming rich media content in mind. As a NAS that’s powerful enough to house your media files, it can also be as powerful to stream 4K flawlessly without worrying about compatibility, thanks to its real-time H.265/H.264 4K video transcoding features. Load up 4K videos on your NAS, and watch it on your compatible devices. My Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and my iPad Pro 10.5 can record up to 4K videos, so I usually put it on the DS718+ for future playback on my devices.
Lots of developer tools available
This NAS gives a lot of value to developers. Whether you wish to test new applications or IT solutions for personal or enterprise use, DS718+ has all the necessary tools to support developers.
From WordPress development to a fully working customer support IT system, this NAS’ operating system allows you to install development dependencies quickly and automatically. For instance, if you wish to create and test a new WordPress theme you developed, you can easily deploy a WordPress environment, complete with DB and PHP dependencies. The one I’m currently using – the WD MyCloud EX2 Ultra has pretty much the same features but not as comprehensive and as generous as the DS718+.
Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of gadgetpilipinas.net, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.