Review Synology DS119j – $100 Single Drive NAS Device

hey everybody you fly inside Ben and we’re taking a look today at a low-cost network attached storage device from Synology this is their ds1 19 J it costs about a hundred bucks and runs off of a single hard drive many of these devices used two or more hard drives and we’ll talk about the distinction on that in a minute and this is kind of a fun way to get into network attached storage if you’ve never used it before you get a lot of features that you get in some of their more expensive devices this one will be a little limited and what it can do but nonetheless it’s a great starting point and then you can kind of upgrade a little later once you have a feel for what you might want to do with your network attached storage device in the future so we’re going to be looking at what this one can and can’t do in this review now I do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that Synology is an occasional sponsor here on the channel but they are not sponsoring this video additionally this device is on loan from them so when we’re done with this it goes back to them all the opinions are about – here are my own nobody is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approve what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this device is all about so let’s take a closer look now at

the hardware the unit here cost about $100 so really not all that expensive to get in the door but you have to bring your own hard drive to the mix there is no drive in the unit when you buy it this one had a Seagate iron wolf nass Drive installed a 2 terabyte drive when they sent it to me but you can use pretty much any desktop hard drive up to 14 terabytes inside of here you can also get smaller two and a half inch SATA drives to work with this as well so if you have a hard drive kicking around chances are it will work in here but I do think having a Nasir defied Drive inside your network attached storage device is the better way to go those drives typically are a little bit more robust in their mechanisms so they’ll last a little bit longer especially if you have these things running all the time and the warranties on the NASS drives tend to be a little longer than on the cheaper desktop drive so you’ll get just a more robust drive physically along with better support in the end as well and is also something to be said about the fact that this is a single Drive Ness many network-attached storage devices that you’ll see out there have more than one drive which allow for some redundancy so on those larger units you can lose a drive and still maintain your data here this one drive is your only option so you’ll definitely want to maybe invest just a little bit more to keep your data safe there aren’t many ports on this one but

there are a few worth talking about there are two USB 2.0 ports here in the back this is the slower USB standard not as fast as USB 3.0 and what you can do with these is plug in memory cards from your camera for example you can download your photos and videos onto the drive just by plugging something in you can also hook up external hard drives that you can use to copy data to and from and you can also use those external drives as backup destinations and on this single drive unit by the way backup is very important so that’s definitely something you might want to pair up with this is an external hard drive for doing backups that you’ll plug into that USB port and this can also work as a print server so you can plug printers into these USB ports and make non network printers available to your network just by plugging them in now the best way to use one of these nasty vices is to hardwire it to your router via ethernet there is a Gigabit Ethernet port here on the back so I would say locate this right next to your router plug it in you can kind of tuck it away and then anything that’s on your network will be able to see it and access it so even your phones and your computers that might be connecting via Wi-Fi will be able to see this because it is plugged into the router and you’ll be able to deliver the best performance to all of the devices in your home that way I do believe you can get a Wi-Fi adapter for the USB back here but that will not be the ideal way to use this and once we boot this thing up we’ll check out its overall performance so on that topic let me get this thing loaded up and we’ll take a look and see how it works ok so we’ve got the device now loaded up and operating on my

network and one of the things that I’ve loved about these analogy devices over the years is the interface to them so this is the web-based control panel that you login to and it looks very familiar if you’ve ever used a PC or a Mac it’s got move but windows you can resize I can browse all of the files that are on this device here just through the interface but one thing I’m noticing is that it is rather slow to pull things up through this interface and the reason is is that there’s not much in the way of computing horsepower on this one so this device is powered by a marvel Armada 3700 ARM processor and it only has 256 megabytes of RAM so it’s very limited in its ability to process things and you might find yourself a bit limited when you want to install some of the applications that you can run on a Synology Nass so there are a number of things that run on this this is just the list of official applications there’s also a number of third-party server apps that you can install on here including an Apache web server database servers for example they have a my sequel server that you can install with this Moorea DB here and a number of other things as well but again you’re very limited as to what you can run simultaneously so right now I’ve got just a basic smattering of applications including the moments photo app that I’ll show you in a few minutes and their drive application along with their cloud syncing feature and some backup utilities and my RAM here is running at close to 70% so that means I really can’t get a lot of different things running on here at the same time so that’s why this is a real entry-level device you can kind of find the things that you like about a Synology Nass and then later upgrade to something more powerful because you will quickly find the limits of this particular Nass one thing I do suggest you do is monitor the system health after you install one of these applications just to see what

impact that is having on your available resources now the most important app to install on your Synology Nass is hyper backup which you’ll find in their package Center this is their backup application that is quite robust we did a very extensive video on this one which again is linked down below in the video description but this is going to be very important to have running because again we’re dealing with only a single drive inside of this nass so backing up your data is going to be really critical you can backup to an external hard drive as I mentioned and this will also allow you to backup to class services as well it supports a number of them including Amazon s3 so it’s not hard to get your data off-site just through this device you can schedule those backups to run at certain times and it is a really good thing to have running on your device so I definitely suggest you get that going and one of the things I like about these Synology NASA’s is that they really are a server more than just kind of an appliance so for example you can set up as many users as you’d like and you can limit what they can access you can have folders that are accessible to some users and not others so for example I could share a folder with my wife but my kids can’t get into it and likewise I can get into the kids folders if I need to so there’s a lot of things that you can really granularly configure and once you have your drive configured and on your network it will show up like any other computer would on that network so for example I can just pop into the NASS here and access those files directly via the Mac or Windows desktops Linux computers also will work with it and they have apps for mobile devices so you can log into the drive that way and pull your data out they do have a

number of ways you can access data when you are not at home so they do have a forwarding service so that you can get access to your drive when you are away through your phone or a computer they also have a cloud syncing application that works great and basically replicates Dropbox we’ve covered that before in the past as well so you can really replicate the whole of a cloud service on something that you have direct control over because nothing on this box goes to Synology insofar as your data is concerned it lives here it is hosted on your local network and they’ve replicated a lot of the popular cloud applications that you can use to access that data let me show you one of those which is called Synology moments which tries to replicate the experience you get in google photos or in Apple photos so here is the moments app running on my iPhone they also have an Android version available and all the photos on here are actually stored on mine ass box and nowhere else so when I’m in this app I’m logging directly into this box and not going out to a cloud server somewhere even if you use sin ologies forwarding service all it’s going to do is direct you back to your own drive so these photos will not be taken off your drive and put in Synology servers for example it does seem to have a lot of neat features one of them is that it will do facial recognition so you can see here it afire and if I click on her face there it will show me another photo that she’s in and likewise it identified the face of my other daughter which I can then assign a name to but again all this metadata is stored locally and not in the clouds if you’ve

been concerned about storing your photos someplace other than your own hard drives this might be a way to do just that because you do have the control over where the data lives again you list’ need to make sure you’re backing it all up on a regular basis it also has some pretty neat search capabilities that you’ve seen on some of these cloud services so for example if I do a search here for dog I get this photo of the dog that I have in my library and if I had more photos of dogs that would likely see more of those and again this is not going off of this Drive to get me that functionality but I did find it’s not as robust on other things so for example if I search for Santa I’m not seeing the photo of my daughter with Santa Claus there although on another cloud service like Google or Apple I might see it so there are some things that it’s not going to do as well but again if you are looking for unlimited storage just for the cost of entry with no one else able to peek in at your data this is something to consider the only issue I’m finding with this drive because it does not have a lot of resources available to it is that when you do upload photos from your phone or computer it takes a really long time for everything to index it kind of seizes up a lot of the other things you might want to do with it so every little thing you do on this one because it is so low powered might impact the performance that other users might experience so if your plan is to try to replicate your own home cloud service this particular Synology Nass is

probably not the one for you just given that it doesn’t have the horsepower to really make use of all of these different features but it does do very well just serving files within a network let’s take a look at that so I have my connected via gigabit ethernet to the NASS and we’re getting right speeds at about 72 megabytes per second which is a little lower than the advertised speed they had for this device but we are seeing read speeds that are essentially saturating my gigabit ethernet connection and this is the kind of speed that I typically get out of a more expensive Nass so I don’t know if the rights here are being hindered by the drive they chose to install in it or perhaps it’s just a function of its lower horsepower processor but nonetheless this is the performance I am seeing on here this isn’t bad for a hundred dollar device here and if you are primarily reading from it across your network you’ll see pretty decent performance provided you don’t have too many people hitting it all at the same time now if you’re looking to use this as a video serving device you’re going to be a bit limited here it does have a media server that you can install which is Synology zone video station they have apps available on iOS and on Android including Android TV to playback this media but if you are trying to watch media from outside your home it will not be able to compress the media in real time to make it work over a cellular connection for example that’s called transcoding which this device simply does not support it just doesn’t have the horsepower for that to work so a lot of the things that you might be expecting out of a

media serving application these days will not be possible on here so Knology does of course make more expensive devices that do that we’ve covered one of those in the past but this one certainly won’t get you there it does though have what’s called a DLNA media server so if you are within your home network all the time and just want something to store your media on this will work in that way we loaded up Kodi on my Nvidia shield a little bit earlier and we were able to find the drive automatically and stream video to it including a fairly high bitrate file without any problems at all it works just like my other Nass devices do in that way so overall I think this will work well as a little file server for a limited number of users I probably wouldn’t go beyond 4 or 5 there and what’s nice about using a Synology device is that you get some of their more advanced software for doing that file-sharing so you can make this work just like Dropbox does and you can have as much space as you can fit inside of the box here available to you for no monthly fee I’ve also been very pleased that Synology continually updates these things so the drive that I’ve been using for the last three or four years I bought it once yet it gets every new software update since and that’s been a very nice thing to see a continuous improvement of what’s available for me but you really are not going to get all of the cloud features that

you’re able to run on some of their more expensive devices and even the ones that do run on here don’t run all that well so once you get beyond file sharing and try to start doing photos and some other things that require more processing power to index properly that’s where this one really starts to fall short but again it’s only $99 and I don’t expect more from it so if you’re doing file sharing I think this will work out well the backup system is great on this again we covered that before and I do suggest you check out that video that entire backup system is inside of this so you can do multiple backups to a number of different cloud services along with external storage even other Synology devices you can connect to in that way and I would probably run that backup in the middle of the night so you’re not impacting performance during the day but nonetheless it’s on here for 99 bucks and I think that is a very good thing especially since you only have one drive to work with here now if you have an extra 70 dollars I would maybe look at the dual drive version of this I reviewed that last year that one’s got double the RAM and a little faster processor so it can do a little bit more it still won’t knock your socks off but you will have a little bit more leeway than you do with this entry-level device but if you’re just looking for a basic file server for your network you’ll get that here and a few added bonuses along with it until next time this is lion Simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters including gold-level supporters Chris alligretto the four guys with quarters podcast Tom Albrecht and Kalyan Kumar if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to land TV slash support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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