Top critical review
4 Stars to 1 Stars.. confused... read on and you will understand.
September 10, 2018
Update attempt Number 2
I originally submitted an update to this review about a week ago and it did not see the light of day. No explanation from amazon as to why it did not get posted but I am submitting it again in hopes that it will go through.
I have been a synology fan boy for several years now. I suffered through the DSM issues and poor hardware choices because I was able to get it to work and it functioned well for my purposes. This is my fourth unit (two have gone into retirement and one other is still on the network chugging away) and when I first got it I loved every bit of it. The original review is below and you can read it if so inclined, but for this update I am going to cover the biggest issue to date and why this will be my last Synology NAS. When I purchased this unit I did so with the intent of using it as a video/music/NVR server. As a video server it functions great with Plex, and it works well as a music server as well. The NVR was simple to set up and where I ran into my first problem. With this unit specifically, you can attach two IP cameras out of the box, if you want to add more you have to purchase licenses to do so. These licenses can be bought individually, as a four pack or as a 8 pack and are not cheap ($57 for 1, $200 for 4 or $370 for 8). Now I know some people are probably wondering what I am complaining about with regards to the licenses so I will explain. These licenses do nothing more than allow you to connect additional cameras to YOUR NAS. They do not come with an external cloud or monitoring service. It is simply a charge for the convenience of using YOUR cameras, on YOUR NAS, on YOUR network, all of which YOU pay for out of YOUR pocket. This in my opinion is nothing more than a money grab by Synology, there is no reason that I can see as to why I have to pay to do this. I could go on but will leave it at that and instead move on to the other money grab. The eSata port bait and switch! Synology advertises the expandability of this NAS and goes on to say that you can do so via USB
or eSata port, the usb port is an absolute yes, you can add whatever you like to the USB port and chug right along. The eSata port on the other hand is a whole other animal. They say you can expand your NAS via eSata but what they don't tell you is that you can only do so if you purchase a Synology expansion bay. Any other eSata device you attach will not only NOT be recognized, it will not even register as attached. For the record, I read the fine print and even went onto the synology website to see if I could find any mention of this and as of today, I was unable to find anything that says that the eSata port is only for use with other Synology products. I had to call technical support to get that nugget of information, which of course only came after I had purchased an external eSata drive specifically for use with my Synology NAS. I can honestly say that I am saddened to see Synology move into the Apple world of propriatairianism (so not a world) and lack of disclosure. At this point I feel that the only thing Synology is doing is trying to figure out more ways to get their money out of my pocket and it is for that reason that once my Synology NAS's have reached end of life I will be moving on to a more customer centered brand of NAS. Shame on you Synology, SHAME!
Just to be clear, for those considering a synology NAS, my issue is not with the functionality of the NAS, it is with the lack of transparency in their product description and advertising. To me, they are doing everything they can to lock you into their product lines by limiting what you can do with the equipment once you have spent money on it and not disclosing those limitations and/or add on costs before hand. Again, Shame on you synology!
This was an upgrade from my original Synology NAS which did not stream video very well and was very slow. I love it but can say without a doubt that doing the memory upgrade adding the SSD's for cache is what made it perfect. Migrating the files from my old DS 414j was painless though a bit slow. I can however say that there was no data loss and by the next day it was ready to go... yes.. I said the next day. I was also surprised to find that the upgrades I made were needed in order to get it to work as well and as smoothly as a video server. One would think that along with a premium price of $550 that it would work as well without the upgrades as it does with. I am just glad that Synology had the forethought to make it upgradeable which is something that the 414j could have used considering that it cost me almost $400 when I purchased it. If you are looking for a solid out of the box NAS you can consider this as one of your options but know that if you are going to do heavy streaming, especially with something like plex, you will need to do the upgrades. Overall, I give this NAS a solid 4 stars, it could have been 5 had the upgrades would have not been so necessary.