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Synology DS418Play review – a personal cloud to access your content

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Whether you want to access important documents, pictures from your latest holiday or one of the movies from your collection, the Synology DS418Play will work perfectly as your own personal cloud.

One thing we all have in common as tech users is the incredible amount of data we’re creating and accessing on a daily basis which is why a product like the Synology DiskStation Manager can become a valuable asset.

Tech Guide took a look at the Synology DS418Play – a four-bay NAS (network attached storage) which is like having your own cloud to store all your data.

It can be used to store video, pictures, audio and documents so they can be accessible anywhere on your home network and from anywhere in the world.

The device itself has a dual core processor with 2GB RAM that can encrypt your data while it’s reading or writing at up to 226MB per second.

The unit needs a little bit of room – it’s 22.3cm wide, 20cm wide and 16.6cm tall. That’s not the smallest footprint but it can be placed out of sight if required.

Setting up a product like the DS418Play might seem intimidating but it’s actually easier than you think.

It’s a step-by-step process that is explained quite will in the installation guide.

Before you get started, you need to understand that the four bays on board the DS418Play are there to house hard disk drives. And they need to be purchased separately.

The more you want to spend the higher capacity they will be. And with four of them you could have quite a significant amount of storage.

For our review we used for 2TB hard disk drives for a total of 8TB storage.

Users can go even bigger than that if they’re willing to shell out the money for high-capacity HDDs.

Once you’re ready to go and you’ve inserted your drives into each bay, you connect the DS418Play to power into your router with an Ethernet cable.

From here you install the DiskStation Manager  and choose your configuration.

For many, the reason for having a NAS is to act as a backup. This is also referred to as a RAID which stands for redundant array of Independent disks.

RAID 0 means data is evenly spread across the discs and there is no backup.

RAID 1 means the data will be mirrored once.

We opted for RAID 0 so we can use the DS418Play to store our data and access it easily on our network from connected devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops and our desktop computer.

This was going to be our new multimedia library.

The DiskStation Manager allowed us to install packages, which are like apps, that can do a variety of things including managing our stored files.

These include Video Station, Photo Station and Audio Station which allow you to organise your data for easy identification and retrieval.

The Video Station not only organises your personal digital video library and will also bring in media information about each movie in your collection.

Plex Server is another package that can be used not only on the DS418Play but on other devices as well so your movie collection is at your fingertips.

Photo Station lets you organise your images into customised categories and create smart albums so they are only a few clicks away.

Audio Station comes with Internet radio and can support lossless audio formats and music playback via DLNA and through an AirPlay compatible speaker.

Another great use for the system is as a video management system for your homes security cameras.

A Surveillance Station Client is available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android so you can watch multiple live feeds and go through recordings in a timeline.

This way, you’re saving your recordings to your own cloud instead of paying to use someone else’s.

The Synology mobile applications are available for iOS, Android and Windows phones and provide a gateway to your DS418Play NAS to access your content.

The system is constantly monitoring its built-in data integrity and can detect data and file corruption and improve the overall stability of the device.

You can also use DS418Play as a centralised backup device so you can create your own private cloud.

CloudStation Suite allows you to sync your files among multiple devices including Windows PCs, Mac, Linux and Android and iOS devices.

The DS418Play is available now and is priced at $599 – but this doesn’t include the HDD.

VERDICT

Whether you want to access important documents, pictures from your latest holiday or one of the movies from your collection, the Synology DS418Play will work perfectly as your own personal cloud.