Synology DS212J Review (V2)

Overall: 91% | Hardware: 7 | Software: 9 | Value: 8

Today I review one of my favorite tech gadgets of all time; a NAS (Network Attached Storage) – though, for these devices NAS is an understatement as some can do so much more and even some server tasks. Maybe we should call them SNAS! (Hope the Nintendo fans see what I did there).
On unboxing we can see there is a standard “Power Supply” unit, along with a UK plug, 1 ethernet(RJ45) cable, screws and a manual.

Setting up
Even-though this came with a manual – I decided not to use it because of my computer building background. So how easy is it?
You simply unscrew the base, slot in the HDD(s), screw it in place and put the case back on. its really easy – shame you cannot hot swap drives though.

Booting Up and first impression
I logged into the web GUI and started to play around with the control panel and looking at the options at hand – and boy, there are many options which made me get very excited. The GUI looks excellent too!
The homescreen is modifiable – you can change the theme/colour and decide which “apps” you would like on display too. This makes this device much more personal and welcoming.

The DS212J has two USB ports on the back which you can plug in a printer/USB speakers/External HDD or camera. This is okay for most home users but I personally feel that 3 is the minimum amount of ports any NAS should have.
This has a measly 256mb RAM and an 800MHZ ARM cpu. The performance is okay but definitely lacking for some people.

The DS212J carries out all tasks with no issues and is extremely reliable. You can access all your music, videos, photos from any device. Want to watch a few films on an ipad? No problem. Want to watch your house with connected security camera on your friends PC abroad? No problem.

The handy thing for tablet users is that you can turn of “Tablet Mode” instantly and use your tablet as if it was a desktop PC which is extremely handy.

Mobile Apps
One of the best things about Synology is that they clearly care about their customers and do everything they can to keep the community happy and you can clearly see that with the amount of effort they have put into their tablet/phone apps.
There are separate apps for Music, Films, Photos, Files, Check on your NAS, surveillance Station and Download Station.

Customer Service
The community is great – the forum has great moderators and anti-spam tools in use. Looks professional and everyone appears to be happy. Bit of a shame you cannot use tapatalk though.

I have not had any problems at all to need to contact Synology but I have read up about some people who needed to contact them and when they did they always dealt with everything in a professional manner and helped.

Bottom Line
The good: The Synology DS212j offers amazing software and applications and also knows how to do great apps for tablets and mobiles. They listen to the community.
The Bad: The hardware is lack luster.
Overall: Synology is easily the king of NAS devices when it comes to software and listening to it’s customers, the hardware is lacking for some uses though.

You may also want to read my review on QNAP’s TS-269L.

| Buy from: here | All our reviews are fair | Contact Judge Shaun! |


QNAP TS-269L Review

Overall: 93% | Hardware: 9 | Software: 5 | Value: 7

The box looks very promising at first with all the logos on it. Open the top and you can see QR codes for different places you can find them and where you can get support. This looks very professional, but there is something missing – a QR code for their forum. I wonder why that is? I have a feeling we will soon find out.
On unboxing we can see there is a standard “Power Supply” unit, along with a UK plug, 2 ethernet(RJ45) cables, screws and a manual.

Setting up


This was really easy to set up. You simply place the HDD(s) on the hot swappable trays, screw them in and slide it into the unit.

Booting Up and first impression
I logged into the web GUI and it looked nice and clean and I went through to the control panel to see a fair amount of options but it was very messy and lacking some basic functions I would have expected.
You cannot change the homescreen in any way at all which makes this feel a little cold compared to the other options out there, but that’s not too important.

This has 3 USB2 ports and 2 USB 3 ports, 1 esata and a HDMI output. Plenty of options available here. You can have plenty of devices connected and also use the HDMI on a TV or monitor to show an app called HD Station which shows some apps like youtube and chrome for example on the big screen.
This has a nice dual core intel atom and 1gb RAM inside which is perfect for almost every task you can think of. Some people upgrade to 3gb RAM and run Virtualbox.

The TS-269L can easily carry out all tasks you give to it and still have enough power to do more. This thing is a beast. I have had some issues with the software though so I cannot say it is 100% reliable just yet. Multimedia station is a huge mess and a pain in the ass for getting some stuff done. QTS looks nice from the icons but when you get deeper than that you notice some things that are missing or annoying “features” that shouldnt be there.

The pain of using QTS is you cannot switch to Desktop mode on a tablet; unless you change the URL but not only will most people not know how to do that but it is also hassle.

Mobile Apps
Sadly, this is one of the worst areas for QNAP. The mobile apps havent had any thought at all put into them and hugely lack in function. If you use your tablet or phone often to get media then this is a no go.
There are separate apps called QManager, QMobile and QFile. Qmanager is good for checking your NAS, QFile is okay but crashes and QMobile is just dreadful.

Customer Service
The community as a whole is good and come together to help people and the (lack of)moderators do work well but there are no anti-spam tools in place making the forum look messy and unprofessional.
I have contacted a few people from QNAP and asked them if they plan on fixing some stuff and commented on the Mobile Apps and they have not responded.

Bottom Line
The good: The QNAP 269L offers great hardware and really good data performance with good apps(QPKG’s) and has amazing build quality.
The Bad: The software is lacking, especially in the Tablet/Mobile area. QNAP does not listen to it’s customers and lack professionalism.
Overall: The hardware itself is amazing and the apps available work good too, it all depends on if it will be just used with computers or if it will be used on multiple devices.

You may also want to read my review on Synology’s DS212J.

| Buy from: here | All our reviews are fair | Contact Judge Shaun! |