My first ever NAS device - Synology DS218j Review



It was one of those many Fridays when I was lying down on the couch after giving 12 hours of my daily life to work and watching random tech reviews.

While scrolling mindlessly, a review for best NAS devices caught my eye and I thought “Why would someone compare NAS devices? Aren’t they all the same?”.

Until then, for me a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device was a hard drive I could connect to my router and access it within my home. But yeah, why would I attach a hard drive to my router if I can just plug it into my PC directly via USB. I knew plugging it into a router will only decrease the transfer speeds.

There was no interesting video left that in my feed that time, so I decided to give 10 minutes of my Friday night to this seemingly bizarre comparison video of NAS devices.

After watching it, I realised how poorly informed I was about the NAS industry. NAS is just not a hard drive that you could plug into the router to access locally. Not anymore. After a research of 2 hours, I got to know how evolved things have become in this area.

I slept on that thought and dedicated the weekend to the research on NAS devices. To cut short and sum up the out-comings of my research, all I could think was “The future of cloud is in your own home - using a NAS”. It was mind boggling for me.

If you are new to this area like I was, I strongly recommend you search for what a NAS could do these days. To this day, I just could not believe how did I miss this revolution in the storage industry. I knew I needed to get a NAS for myself before it’s too late. Spent another day to shortlist which one should I get and which one I could afford.


Fast forward a few weeks. I got this


f-DS218j_back.jpg f-DS218j_front.jpg

A brand-new Synology DiskStation (DS218j). It is worth mentioning that there is a plethora of options to choose from in the NAS category. I got one of the most basic ones from Synology which they call DS218j. DS stands for DiskStation which is their range of NAS devices. You can see the whole list here.

You must be thinking, “Why should I care about getting a NAS device as I already have an external HDD which works just fine”. For that, just read through the following statements
  1. Does your external hard drive ensure no data loss?
  2. Are you confident that those photos that you took from the DSLR camera will be safe for a very long time in your hard disk?
  3. Can you access that video of your cute niece from your phone while your hard disk is sitting idle in your home?
I’m pretty sure your answer would be NO in all cases until you have a special arrangement with your external hard drive.

Here are some questions which I believe you would answer with a YES
  1. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could stream the movies that you own already to your phone? Just like your own Netflix or Amazon Prime. That too without paying any extra money!
  2. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could store all those DSLR photos that have been kept with care in your external hard disk to somewhere safer and give them the ability to be available everywhere you go? Just like your own Google Photos. That too without any extra cost and compressions.
  3. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could sync all your important files and documents to a cloud provider without paying anything extra?
  4. Oh, you are an audiophile! And aware of the fact that no streaming service has all the songs that you want to listen and prefer organizing your own music library. Wouldn’t it be great to have your own free Spotify and stream music wherever you go?
  5. Wouldn’t it be nice to have automatic backups of all your portable devices, be it Android or iOS, with virtually no cap on storage?
  6. Wouldn’t it be nice if all your data could be stored somewhere safely so that you don’t have to think twice about drive crashes and data corruption? And access it remotely? That too without any extra cost!
  7. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could store all the data that you have in multiple external hard drives into a single drive and well organized for quick access.
You probably said YES to at least 5 of these questions and might be thinking that I can do all that and more by getting a fat cloud storage. After all, cloud storage is quite cheap.

I thought just that and calculated the total size of data which I wish to upload to a Cloud Storage. It came out to be somewhere around 1.5 TB. Mountain of photos, sweet collection of movies and some important things that I just won’t like to miss.

According to that situation, I needed at least 2 TB of storage. For Google One (erstwhile Google Drive). The 2 TB plan costs Rs. 650/month or Rs. 6,500/year. If I’m willing to keep this data for at least 10 years, that will cost me not less than Rs. 65,000.


I’m ignoring the fact that this subscription cost will keep rising every few years and my data won’t be limited to 2 TB for sure. I might have to eventually upgrade to a 10 TB option which will cost Rs. 6,500/month and a whopping Rs. 7,80,000 for 10 years. You could get a brand-new premium hatchback car with that money. No kidding.

What if I told you that you can get 4TB of virtually lifetime storage with all the capabilities of a cloud system by merely making an investment of Rs. 35,000 one time! That is double the storage space and half the 10-year price of Google Drive.

You just need to buy 2 things:
  1. Synology DiskStation DS218j, a 2-bay diskless NAS
  2. Seagate IronWolf 4TB NAS Internal SATA Hard Drive (2 of these)
What about the price of electricity? It takes 17 Watts when being used and 7 Watts when not being used. By taking 10 Watts per hour average (as you won’t be using it all the time), it will cost around 90 units (KWh) per year. Do the calculations as per your unit price of electricity. It is negligible.

For most of you, 4TB is more than enough for storing the data of a whole household for more than 10 years. It can include movies, photos, music, phone backups, laptop backups, eBooks and much more.

But just storing things is not enough. We want high accessibility of all the data. We want to stream the movies and music. We need all our photos nicely organized in albums with no loss in quality. And we need all these things for everyone in our household or family.


Enter the dragon

Let me clear the smoke and answer a few questions that might have occurred in your mind till now.

This elegant and small piece of tech that I’m talking about is a powerful computer in itself having a dual-core processor and 512 MB of DDR3 RAM. Not just that, it has a dedicated Linux Based award-winning Operating System called DSM (Disk Station Manager) which is accessible as a web application in your browser.

I highly recommend you take a live demo of DSM to know what a NAS could do these days. I believe you will be asking the same question that I did when I first saw it - “Tell me what it can’t do!”

This demo was the thing which struck me the most. It was one of the most important reasons I went with Synology. I’m a fan of software and ease-of-access (wink to all those iPhone users out there).

There are many companies which are making NAS devices out there but there is something which is quite different about Synology and it could not be well understood without putting out a famous quote by Alan Kay.
People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware
- Alan Kay

For me, Synology checks that box of focusing on Software and making highly efficient hardware. The future is software and they have a strong foundation.

DSM has its own App Store called the package manager which has a lot of apps. See the image below and you will get an idea what it could do


This small device can
  1. Host a website
  2. Can work as a cloud drive
  3. Can work as a streaming server
  4. Can work as a photo organizer
  5. Can download things from multiple sources
  6. Can work as high-speed external storage
all at once!

You can create separate accounts for all the users of the NAS and they get their own private space for storage with options to encrypt the data.

To complete the ecosystem, Synology has developed impressive apps for Apple App Store as well as Google Play Store. You can have a look at them below

Play Store

App Store


Summing it up

Things have changed a lot since I have installed this NAS in my home.

I no longer need to look for my hard drives to safely store things. I have multiple network drives in which I keep organizing stuff without the horror of losing any of them.

All the photos I had since school time are safe within my own house and always available to me over the internet.

I can watch the movies I own on my Apple TV using the DS Video App whenever I want. If I’m about to travel, I can just download a movie on my iPad and watch it during the journey.

I had a collection of very old songs and I kept them moving from one external hard drive to another as they were priceless. They are sitting peacefully inside my NAS, ready to play at my fingertips.

One recent instance that would have been different without a NAS is shared below…

When I bought the Blu-ray print of Avengers Endgame, my brother would’ve had to wait for 2 weeks before we met, so that he could watch it. But not anymore! I uploaded that to my NAS device into a shared volume and guess what… he could stream it right away on any device he wants.

I no longer need to buy cloud storage plans for backing up all the critical data I have and keep my PC running overnight so that it could sync those big files. Everything is done automatically with lightning speed because now I have my own little tiny yet powerful cloud.

It’s been 3 months since I got it and I have just scratched the surface. DSM 6.2 is quite powerful, and they are soon going to release DSM 7.

Let me know if you have any questions about it. Would love to help

Thank you for your precious time.


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Super Moderator
Staff member
A good & detailed review :)

I would like to add though that data backup/redundancy has nothing to do with NAS. A typical hdd has same chances of failure whether installed within a pc or nas.

Now about cloud storage,you are indeed right about costs but I guess you haven't yet looked at Microsoft Office 365 ;) Its home pack comes with 6 accounts with each account having 1TB of one drive space & usually costs ~4.3k/year(so effectively 6TB/year for ~4.3k). Buy it during Oct great shopping festival sale using sbi card with sbi yono app to get 15% extra discount & you can get it for ~3.3-3.5k. You also get genuine & latest office versions for 1 year(in case it matters). I would suggest getting it in some next year sale(or the oct great shopping sale if you can wait) & enjoy the best of both worlds.:)


That is why RAID exists.

Yes, but it not a backup solution or a backup system. For a few pointers,

Why is RAID not a backup?

much deeper at

"But it works!" - why is RAID not a backup tool? - Reddit

(Sorry if it's OT. Have had to use data recovery procedures at work when the "backup" raid drives failed. This is not meant to discourage the OP or anyone else, only one should be very careful about backing up personal stuff. Things like the OS, software &c can be reinstalled, and the like. Most personal stuff cannot. Take proper backups preferably offline and online even if you have a RAID array).


Destroy Erase Improve
Staff member
But we use NAS for general purpose as well, not just for backup.

Sent from my GM1911 using Tapatalk


I have been doing the above, although on a much smaller scale and with less budget, with a ROCK64. I have been looking to get a new drive but they are pretty expensive right now in India.

what drives do you use ? WD Red, Seagate Ironwolf, Seagate NAS or Toshiba NAS ?


Super Moderator
Staff member
That is why RAID exists.
Already answered above by @maheshn Anyway one thing you get when getting online cloud storage with big providers like google,amazon & microsoft is multi level redundancy.The least you will get is multiple hdd within same data centre holding your data with the basic consumer plans. Enterprise/business plans also have another level of redundancy in the form of a different data centre(located physically far away) also holding a copy of the data & this keeps on increasing with plan tiers.


I'm looking to upgrade my NAS setup, I m thinking of getting WD Purple/Seagate Skyhawk drives instead of Red/IronWolf.
Red/IronWolf costs about 40% extra. As far as I can tell, every promotional material I can see regarding purple/skyhawk, it says meant for continuous write operations and minimal read operations.
Do you think it would really impact my read performance that much ? All forums and posts I can see on the internet, I'm getting mixed results, some say it wont impact as its the same platter as reds but some say they would.
Anyone can shed some light on this ? Mostly going to store high res movies on it, and playback from kodi on pc/laptop via network. Single source of read operation.

Earlier, I was using a 2.5 inch Red drive sourced from US. Since I was using a powered USB hub without proper back channel current prevention, Its not a good idea. Drive got damaged maybe because of it (or not)

Now I want to kick it up a notch and go 3.5 inch with their own power.

Going to pair them with this :

@whitestar_999 @Desmond David @Xtreme
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Super Moderator
Staff member
Why not simply get regular seagate barracuda 4TB ST4000DM004 model especially if you are going to pair them with a dock?


Why not simply get regular seagate barracuda 4TB ST4000DM004 model especially if you are going to pair them with a dock?
Regular HDDs arent meant for long term usage. Plus Purple/Surveillance drives have 3 Year warranty compared to Regular drives. Running at 5400 RPM is actually an advantage because they generate less heat and power. I dont have any cooling in mind, so purple/survellance would be better i think.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Regular HDDs arent meant for long term usage. Plus Purple/Surveillance drives have 3 Year warranty compared to Regular drives. Running at 5400 RPM is actually an advantage because they generate less heat and power. I dont have any cooling in mind, so purple/survellance would be better i think.
I am running my regular 5900rpm(4tb 7200rpm are barracuda pro which are much more expensive) DM004 hdd non-stop for weeks for more than 2 years now without any issues mainly because my pc almost run 24*7 seeding torrents.

Below hdd bought in Sep 2017


Super Moderator
Staff member
hmm so you are saying its better to go with regular seagate ?
As far as usage is concerned I doubt any typical user can match my usage as you can see above & if a regular hdd can handle my usage then it can certainly handle your usage as nas/dock storage.


The Power of x480
Staff member
The first post is as close as being an advert for Synology as it could be. Still the post serves a lot of crucial information about a NAS system, and probably not removed on account of OP been given benefit of doubt.
So @Xtreme, how have the decade been for you? Did you start working for synology or the device is "this good" that it forced you to write after such a long time!?
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