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Synology DS418j Review - The Consumer / Small Business Easy To Set Up Network Attached Storage Solution!

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With more businesses adapting for the digital economy, easy set-up large data storage solutions that is accessible by multiple devices is now a requirement! 
Synology DS418j

This is further supported by the increase in 1080p, 1440p and even 4K video content that necessitates increased storage options. An external hard drive might be good for now, but what if the entire family or team wants view or edit large amounts of video at the same time? Do you just pass around the hard drive, taking a long time?

The easiest solution is a Network Attached Storage solution or NAS. NASs come in all shapes and sizes that fit specific needs. 

The Synology DS418j is a NAS available locally that is Priced at PHP 17,100, this may seem steep but it's actually quite affordable given that you only need to purchase Hard disks and to manually connect the cables then run the software setup. This can be done in 30 minutes to an hour as opposed to the large number of tasks, troubleshooting and time invested in manually setting up network attached storage. This saves money and time for consumers and small business owners who can't afford a full fledged IT & Network professionals.

Synology DS418j Specs

CPU: 1.4 GHz dual core 64 bit Realtek RTD1293
RAM: 1 GB DDR4
Drive Bays: 4 
Drive Compatibility: 3.5 Inch SATA HDD, 2.5 Inch SATA HDD, 2.5 Inch SATA SSD
Capacity: Maximum of 40TB (10TB Drive x 4), Maximum 108 TB single Volume
Ports: 1 RJ-45 1GbE Lan Port, 2 USB 3.0 ports
Supported File System: EXT4, EXT3, FAT, NTFS, HFS+, exFAT
System Fans: 2 80mm x 80mm fans
Noise level: 20.6 dB(A)
Power Supply Unit/Adapter: 90W
AC Input Power Voltage: 100V to 240V AC
Power Frequency: 50/60 Hz, Single Phase
Power Consumption: 21.22 W(Access), 8.97 W (HDD Hibernation)
Supported RAID type: Synology Hybrid RAID, Basic, JBOD, RAID 0 to 10
RAID Migration: Basic to RAID 1, Basic to RAID 5, RAID 1 to 5, RAID 5 to RAID 6
Maximum Local User Accounts: 1024
Environment and Packaging: RoHS Compliant
Price: PHP 17,100

Unboxing / Accessories

Unboxed!
Unboxed!

The Diskstation comes in a premium classic brown carton with all the accessories and documentation. It comes with a LAN cable, Power supply, Power Socket Cable, documentation and the enclosure itself.


Build Quality / Design

Left side!
Left side!

The DS418j looks like a sleek shoebox sized computer. Its matte black and rounded edges give it a modern look that can fit in any set-up.
Right side!
Right side!
Regulatory information at the bottom!
Regulatory information at the bottom!
2 Fans, Power Port, LAN port, 2 USB 3.0!
2 Fans, Power Port, LAN port, 2 USB 3.0!

The front of the unit has grills for air flow intake, power button, and status LEDs for HDD activity. These LED can be dimmed or scheduled to be turned off via software.

The left and right sides have the Synology logo that is actually an dust filtered air intake. There is nothing on top.

The back has a door to access the inside with 4 thumbscrews, two 80mm exhaust fans that are controllable by software. At the bottom there is the 1Gbps ethernet port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, power input, and a Kensington lock port.
The bottom has 4 rubber feet for grip.

Inside are the 4 hard drive slots that are tool-less for 3.5-inch drives, but need screws for 2.5-inch drives.

Synology boasts of the Diskstations' quiet and power efficient features where in software you can adjust the fan speed with as follows: low-power, quiet, cool, and full power. At cool and quiet settings, the fans are nearly silent unless you are less than a feet away.

Setup Wizard with only a few steps!
Setup Wizard with only a few steps!

The USB ports can be used to attach external storage or printer. It is great for temporarily expanding storage while getting access to it remotely. 

It supports printer connection

Printers can ba attached to the NAS but the drivers of the printer have to be installed on the PC where the print order comes from.

The DS418j has 64-bit dual-core 1.4 GHz processor and 1 GB RAM. This might not seem like much especially compared to phones but this is pretty much all you need. We never ran into CPU or RAM bottlenecks while streaming media, downloading files and syncing backups. The only time the CPU was fully utilized was when we formatted Hard drives. 

Other USB devices like Bluetooth or WiFi adapters can be attached but none of ours worked with the DS418j. Check compatibility at their website.
Back plate with Fans and the 4 drive bays!

Installing Hard drives are as easy as opening the back using the thumb-screws, taking the tool-less hard drive and attach a 3.5 inch hard drive. 2.5 inch can be attached too but needs screws. We do not recommend SSDs as the speed of the SSD can max the 1 Gbps (or 125 MBps) ethernet  bandwidth of the NAS.

Drives installed have to be formatted before use. The process is simple and requires only a few clicks. Setting hard drives in RAID requires putting them into a diskgroup.

Performance

DS418j

For streaming media the DS418j offers DLNA media server which apps like VLC and smart TVs can use.

The DS418j has 1 Gbps Ethernet port and is thus limited to 125 MB/s. Thus, we do not suggest using SSD’s with this NAS, and just rely on hard drives in either RAID 0 or RAID 10 for maximum speed.

Synology promised 112/s MB encrypted read speed and 87 MB/s encrypted write speeds. We weren’t able to max out this speed since our hard drives would not operate in RAID properly.

As for local file access, when the connection is good, getting files off the NAS is indistinguishable as an external hard drive.

Video editing is probably one of the most common use case for a NAS. Editing videos is as simple as navigating to the NAS folder and adding media from it. It is slightly slower, but multiple people able to access the same files without copying over again really aids in workflow.

To make it easy to stream files from outside your network, the Diskstation offers QuickConnect. It offers easy port forwarding and DDNS, so even if your service provider has dynamic IP, you just need to type a URL to access the NAS. For example, ours was gizguide.quickconnect.to.

Using QuickConnect just requires free account. It is virtually the same as having local access as long as there is fast internet connection. We were able to access our files, and control the NAS when we stayed at a hotel. It has same functionalities as local access but with a little lag.
Access your NAS on the go with the phone app!
Access your NAS on the go with the phone app!

Synology offers a wide range of apps on Appstore or Google Play like Audio station, Video Station and DS File. All of them offer remote access through quickconnect, or automatically find the NAS in the local network.

Quickconnect is also available on mobile and has a cleaner interface although you may need to use the desktop version for advanced functionality.

The Download Station app is capable of downloading files via HTTP, FTP, torrents, magnet links, etc. This feature is especially useful when controlling the NAS remotely. Either upload a torrent file or insert a HTTP/FTP/Magnet link then the app will download to your NAS.

Pros - Easy to use interface, easy remote access, lots of options for upgrades, hardware is built like a tank!
Cons - The price is steep for casual use but is a deal for small enterprise use.

Verdict

We previously wrote that the DiskStation DS418j’s con was its price. It was vague, and we apologize for any confusion.

When we said the price was high, we meant that the DS418j might be too pricey for a casual consumer.

The DS418j costs around Php 20,000 from dynaquestPC and, as of time of writing, PHP 18,688 from Lazada. We found the price and the 4 bays hard to justify for the casual consumer, if they only stream media, backup files, and access files occasionally. 4 bays is probably too much for them to fully utilize.

We recommend those casual consumers get the 1 or 2 bay models like DS216j which costs PHP 10,200 on dynaquestPC which has two HDD bays, half the RAM (512MB) but is more affordable. And it has Synology’s easy to use DSM.

However a Small Business with multiple users access files at one time, HDDs in RAID, and CCTVs attached can easily justify the 4 drive bays and PHP 20k price tag.

When looking at the competition, Synology NAS are actually among the most affordable if you can get them from a local distributor like PCWORX, DynaquestPC, or PCExpress. Other NAS brands have to be shipped from abroad like the Qnap TS-431P which is the DS418j’s closest competitor costs, at time of writing, PHP 21,100. The only advantage over the DS418j is its hot-swappable HDD bays.

Build / Design - 4.5
Features - 4.5
Performance - 4
Average - 4.33 / 5
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