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I really like Synology devices, generally, and I recommend and defend them typically. However, the prices for some of their devices has always been a problem for me and I am rarely happy unless I can buy it used/refurbished.
As an example, if you compare the DS118, DS218 and DS418 you will notice that they all are basically the same unit with the same system board inside. Realtek RTD1296 Quad-core 1.4 GHz CPU, 1 or 2GB of RAM, USB 3.0, 1 or 2 Gigabit ethernet, etc. From a manufacturing perspective, the 2 and 4 bay models are just the 1 bay model with a little bit of extra plastic and a longer backplane board. Yet the 4 bay model is more than double the price!! This is absolutely a case of Synology taking advantage of customers who would naively think that the 4 bay model should cost a bunch more. No, we are talking a few more dollars in plastic and PCB and a RAM chip and a couple more backplane connectors and trays. Beyond that, you have a few more dollars tied up in a larger box and a few more for shipping, etc. Sorry, $200 more for the 4 bay compare to the 1 bay is an outright scam.
The same issue has existed with their expansion units since their inception. The 5 bay expansion unit which has hardly any electronics inside costs almost $500! This is more realistically $100 worth of stuff at typical manufacturing prices, yet Synology knows people are going to be none the wiser and will probably be in a pinch anyway. If it is cheaper to simply buy another Synology than buy the expansion unit, you know there is something shady going on.
I wanted to write down initial thoughts. I will update this review after I've used this for a while. 1. OOBE - awful. No instructions, zero information on anything. Comes in a box, that's all you get. Had to google multiple things. If you're not a tech person, good luck. 2. Pre-configured setting automatically sets it up to have backup setup in place (as in, if you put 2 x 8TB drives, you automatically configures it to 8TB storage and 8TB backup, in layman non-tech terms). Undoing it is a pain in the ***. Again, no instructions, I had to find a random video on Youtube on how to do it because the UI is not user friendly. Not everyone wants everything backed-up locally. Some people just want storage. Some people want local storage and have their own cloud backup already in place. There should be a setup wizard that guides people through all of that and allows them to configure it themselves how they want it configured. This forced setup is super annoying. 3. UI looks and functions like something from Win 98. Again, not user friendly. They don't even bother to give you a shortcut to volume management, which is your first priority after logging into the server. 4. Proprietary terms not explained, even during sign-up process.
Overall, it's been a very frustrating process so far. I am hoping once everything is setup and working, I'll be able to update with performance updates. But if you're NOT a tech person, don't buy this, or you'll bang your head against the wall. You'll spend hours trying to figure it out if you don't want the pre-configured setup. I've been in tech for 20+ years, both back-end and front-end/UI/UAT sides of things, and this fails all the UAT for an average person from A to Z. Hire some UI/UAT people, Synology.
Eventually, with the help of tech support, I was able to figure out what the various features and options do, and how to install them (actually, I'm still working on that!). Don't try to install this based on just the tiny pamphlet that's included. There is way to much that is vague or unexplained. It will randomly install packages you don't want or need. The good news is that their tech support is great at steering you to very good online instructions for all the options. Too bad their manual and their website makes it terribly confusing if not impossible to find the key information yourself. They need a good usability expert to review and revamp their manual and, more importantly, their website.
After one week I realize that I’ve purchase the wrong item, this nas is ok if you need a backup solution, if you need more and more , go with ds918+. I’ve return this and purchase the ds918+ and I’m super pleased.
Basic NAS function is mediocre for cost, but does work well. Tech support is below average, unless you escalate to managers, which works fine. Mobile apps function but you’re on your own to figure them out. Or even why so many are necessary.
One of my main requirements was low noise and the ds418 was louder than expected. Keep in mind that is relative to what (if any) solution you are coming from. The ds418 is not very noisy if you are a few feet away from it but you will hear the drives crunch from time to time.
I was coming from a mid tower desktop pc with a fairly quiet corsair case. With the fan control I had setup, the desktop was definitely more quiet than the ds418. I never hear the drives and I usually had a hard time telling if the PC was on from the fan noise.
Also, there is a strange hum / clicking noise coming from the NAS even with no drives installed. If you are putting this NAS close to where you sit in a fairly quiet room you may be disappointing with the noise.
Having said that, the performance is excellent even when using one Ethernet connection. I returned the NAS and will look for something that is more quiet.
This is a cautionary tale for the layman. Not a criticism of this particular product but rather of the entire concept of Network Attached Storage for the average user.
Dear Average User: Unless you are familiar with or are willing to learn the obscure language and tortured discipline of the network specialist, my advice would be to steer well clear of NAS. You will spend way too much time in set-up, trouble shooting and on tech support calls. Connecting a hard drive to a computer on your network and then accessing that over the network is a far better expenditure of time, MONEY and tears.