Synology DS220+ NAS Review

Cool Buddy

Wise Old Owl
Before I begin the review, I would like to thank Digit and Synology for giving me this opportunity to review the NAS unit and also add the disclosure that the NAS unit was provided by Digit, in association with Synology, along with a 3.5” 1 TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive as a part of this contest.

Synology DS220+ is a 2-bay NAS unit. It comes equipped with a 2.0 Ghz Celeron J4250 processor with a boost speed of up to 2.9 Ghz and 2 GB of DDR4 RAM. The unit has an extra RAM slot which, as per official documents, supports up to a 4 GB module. Users have however reported using up to 16 GB modules for a total of 18 GB RAM on this unit with no issues.

Unboxing the NAS was hassle-free. Once you break the seal, the package opens to reveal the NAS unit wrapped in a fabric pack. The box also contains a 65W power adapter and 2 CAT 5e LAN cables. Surprisingly the power cable is sized for a 16A power socket, which seems rather unnecessary. I ended up using another power cable as I didn’t have any 16A sockets near my PC.

Connectivity wise, the NAS unit has one front and one rear USB 3 ports. It also has 2 Gigabit LAN ports. There is no wi-fi option though, which is slightly disappointing. This means the NAS unit needs to be placed close to the router. This may pose a challenge if the router is wall mounted, as it is common to do. On doing some reading, I found that USB Wi-fi adapters were supported earlier, but no longer is. Again, a bummer.



Setting up the hardware is straightforward. The drive bay cover is magnetic and the drive bay itself locks in place without screws. It is designed for 3.5” drives, meaning you can install it without any tools. The SATA and power ports at the back of the NAS unit line up automatically with the hard drive. The drive bay also supports 2.5” drives, but this needs to be secured with four screws (provided in the box). After this, just plug in a LAN cable and the power adapter and you’re ready to go.



Synology NAS runs on DiskStation Manager, or DSM, which is a custom built Linux distro. DS220+ ships with DSM version 6.2. However, DSM 7.0 is in release candidate stage and is available for download for DS220+. Initial reviews are positive and there are quite a few enhancements in it. For my review though, I preferred the stable DSM 6.2 release.

The setup is straightforward. Once the NAS was connected to the same network as my PC, I had to visit in my browser. The NAS was located automatically and I was redirected to the setup page. Here I had an option for manual install, presumably with more customisable options, which I chose to skip. The automatic setup took less than 3 minutes, even though it initially indicated an ETA of 10 minutes.


Setting up the storage proved a bit more challenging than I had thought. Usual PC setup involves partitioning a drive and installing the OS. DSM, however, asked me to create a storage pool. I was then asked to set up a RAID type, even though, having only a single drive, I was not interested in RAID. I was also asked if I wanted to configure the drives for higher flexibility or better performance before finally being asked to create volumes on the disk (which, I assume, are akin to partitions).

The accompanying explanations for the terminologies were vague and I figured it is not possible to understand what these terminologies mean without doing a little bit of self-study. In any case, I chose the default options on most screens and got the NAS running. The drive was then verified for bad sectors. This took around three and half hours for my 1 TB drive.


The two LAN ports can be set in link aggregation mode, which will double the speed of data transfer (a single client, however, cannot use both the ports simultaneously), or failover mode, where you can connect it to two routers and have it select the best one automatically. This is entirely optional though, and the LAN connection works without any manual set up as well.

For easy accessibility, DSM allows creation of a domain name with the tld .local. This can be used to access the NAS over local network. However, this was a bit of a hit and miss for me as it did not seem to work at all times. Not sure if this had something to do with port forwarding in my router.

Folder Sharing​

Folders are shared over the network using SMB protocol by default. There are additional options like AFP, NFS, FTP, etc. Shared folders can be created by using the File station.


Since there are various benchmarks for Synology devices already available, I did not want to replicate it. Besides, my home router does not have Gigabit ports and hence transfer rates were limited to 100 mbps.

The device has a fan at the back to keep the drives cool. This is important as NAS devices usually run 24x7. The fan does not make any perceptible sound when run in quiet mode. Hard disk temperature hovered around 37 degrees most of the time, which is good for a 7200 rpm hard drive

System RAM usage is pretty low. With no apps installed, RAM usage was only 25%, which means 1.5 GB RAM remains available. I was able to run 7 Docker containers (some are listed below) without any issues. Both the CPU and RAM seem enough for regular use. For power users, there is always the option to upgrading the RAM.


Synology’s app ecosystem is one of the reasons it is so popular. The apps are supposed to make common functions like backup/sync, audio/video streaming, and photo organisation very easy to use and layman friendly.

Note Station​

Note station is a note taking app which has an Evernote like feel, with notebooks, rich text editor with support for voice recording and images, etc. It even allows importing notes from Evernote. There is no export to Evernote option though. Both the web app and Windows app are fully featured with a layout similar to Evernote. The Android app, however, leaves a lot to be desired with its basic UI which looks pretty outdated.

Audio Station​

Setting up Audio station is as simple as installing the app. It automatically scans your drives for music and adds it to your library. There is no native app for Windows, only browser based, which is perfectly acceptable in today’s age.

The Android app is functional and allows you to play music both from Synology NAS as well as local storage, so that you don’t have to juggle between multiple music apps. However, the UI looks quite dated and didn’t really make me want to use it. That said, there were no problems playing my songs.

Video Station​

The Video Station app was easy to set up. Once installed, all I had to do was add a couple folders to my library for Movies and TV Shows. It indexed the folders and organised my library. However, I did have to provide it an API key for MovieDB for it to fetch all the information. Since MovieDB also provides a commercial API, it would have been nicer if it was already integrated in the app.

There is no native app for Windows, but the browser based app is more than capable of handling the streaming duties. The app does support transcoding in case the format is not supported by the browser. The Android app is only for browsing the library and playback is done through external app (VLC, in my case). This is both good and bad, depending on how you look at it. It doesn’t give a fully integrated library experience. However, I’m spared from juggling the settings of one more video player and can use my favourite video player where I’m already familiar with the UI.


Moments is the photo organiser for DSM 6.2. DSM 7.0 has however ditched Moments in favour of Synology Photos. Do note that the Photo Station available in DSM 6.2 is not the same application as Synology Photos.

Unlike Audio Station and Video Station, Moments cannot import photos from any location on the drive. This was a limitation I did not like as I generally want to be in control of how my files and folders are organised.

That said, Moments is one app I really liked, both their web interface and Android app. The Android app has auto-backup feature to backup photos on your phone. So you never have to worry about losing your photos again.

The photos are stored in folders by date taken. The Moments app displays them by default in timeline view, which is, photos sorted by date. It also does face recognition and shows photos containing specific people. You can add names to the identified faces. If your photos are geotagged, it will also display them by places. There is no maps view unfortunately. Apart from these, it allows you to create albums and add tags on your own as well.

Synology Office​

Without spending too many words on this, I wanted to mention this here because I quite liked the office applications. It feels very similar to Google Docs and has all the features for a basic user of Office products. To get a feel of this, I wrote this entire review on Synology Office. The documents can be exported into MS Office formats.

Backup and sync​

A very common usecase for NAS is to backup and sync your files from your computers and mobile devices. This feature is enabled by the Drive app.

The drive app is not the most intuitive and might take a little getting used to. Your shared folders don’t show up directly on Drive, you have to add your folders which you want to be available. Once you have done this, you can go ahead and set up your sync and backup tasks using the native apps for Windows and Android.

Setting up backup and sync tasks are relatively straightforward. It allows for both one-way backups and two-syncs. Once you have spent some time setting up your backup tasks, you can rest assured you’ll never lose important data again.


Support for Docker containers is a huge draw for users towards Synology NAS. Docker is available as a third party package in the Package Center. It integrates quite well with DSM and does a really good job of enabling all functions through the UI itself. However, if you’re already comfortable with Linux and Docker containers, you might want to install Portainer to manage containers, which allows more flexibility in the installation proces.

There are hundreds, or even thousands, of applications available as Docker containers. Which applications you want to install will depend on what all you are using your NAS for. I tried some applications which replicate common NAS functions. Admittedly, these duplicate the functions of apps already provided by Synology. However, if someone doesn’t want to get tied into the Synology ecosystem, these may be good alternatives.

The Apps I tried were:

Navidrome: Audio streaming with a Subsonic API. It has a decent web interface. Streaming on Android can be done with any app with support for Subsonic.

Jellyfin: This is a video streaming application with inbuilt transcoding support. It has a good UI and can be used with Kodi as well. It has an inbuilt player and can sync with Trakt to cloud sync your watched movies and TV shows via a plugin.

Photoprism: Photoprism is a photo and album organising app. This provides a few more advanced features as compared to Moments like auto-tagging photos with AI-based algorithms. Overall, it gives a bit more Flickr like feel with advanced features and will be liked by enthusiast photographers. Do note that Photoprism does not have a mobile app.

Cloud connectivity​

The ability to connect to cloud storage services was something I really liked. This was I can have my most important files easily available on my local network, while also being securely backed up on a cloud storage service. It supports Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Onedrive. Apart from this, FTP and WebDav can also be used to mount folders.

The Cloud sync app also allows syncing individual folders with cloud storage services. This app has a much larger list of supported services, including Sharepoint, Backblaze, S3, etc.

Apart from these, the NAS itself can be accessed over the web without any setup through Synology Quickconnect. It gives you a URL in the form of Synology QuickConnect<your quickconnect id>. This can be accessed regardless of how many layers of NAT your NAS is behind (meaning ISP NAT, home router, etc.).


The operating system is designed to be intuitive, using Windows like taskbar (albeit, at the top) and start button on the left. Navigating around seemed fairly easy and it did not take much time to get used to the UI. That said, the UI does feel a bit sluggish, which might simply be a side-effect of running a heavy UI inside a browser.

OS Features accessed primarily through three apps, Storage manager, Performance monitor, and Control panel. There are quite a few features related to managing the NAS. I will be mentioning some of the features which I found interesting.

Performance alarm: This allows you to set notifications if CPU/RAM/Disk usage by the system or any individual app exceed set thresholds. There’s no alarm for temperature though.

Task scheduler: Apart from creating usual scheduled tasks, it also allows creating power on/off timers. So if you don’t want to keep your NAS running 24x7, but also don’t want to keep switching it on and off, you can create a schedule and it will not only power off, but also power on automatically. The task scheduler can also run bash commands in the form of user scripts.

LED brightness control: This is very small feature, but I really liked it. It allows reducing the LED brightness, or turning it off completely. Given that the NAS is placed close to my bed, I liked that I could set the LEDs to turn off at night automatically. As an aside, this also led me to discover a similar feature in my router and now my bedroom has much fewer blinking lights at night.

HDD Hibernation: If the NAS is not being used for some time, it will hibernate the HDDs to save power. I think this should also extend the life of the hard disk.

Application aliases: The NAS lets me set up aliases for applications so that I don’t always have to log in to the main interface to access apps. For instance, I can directly access moments by typing in my browser after I have setup an alias.

DSM 7.0​

This section is being added after finishing the entire review.

As mentioned earlier, Synology has released Version 7.0 of DSM, which is currently in release candidate stage. I updated my NAS to this version. The update process was hassle free. I downloaded DSM 7 image on my computer, then selected the file inside the manual update option of DSM’s control panel. The update took around 15 minutes in which it also updated the packages I had installed.

The updated version brings some UI changes to make the UI feel more modern. The biggest improvement I felt was that it felt snappier than DSM 6.2. Apart from this, the icons have been updated to more colourful versions. I liked that they didn’t take the flat look route. I personally prefer the bevel and emboss effects on UI elements rather than the flat look of Windows and Google’s material.

The resource monitor in DSM 7.0 is more informative and the control panel seems a bit better organised. Since I was still not immensely familiar with DSM 6.2, I found options easier to locate in the control panel after updating to DSM 7.0. DSM 7.0 has replaced Moments with Synology Photos. In my limited usage time, I did not find any significant difference between the two. DSM also brought some security enhancements to quickconnect, enabling https be default with a certificate from Letsencrypt.

Overall, if someone is getting a new NAS at this point it’s worth updating at the beginning itself, to prevent breaking any apps in future (as was the case with Transmission for me).
Cool Buddy

Cool Buddy

Wise Old Owl

Review Summary and Conclusion​

What I liked​

  • Toolless installation of 3.5” hard drive
  • DSM looks and feels pretty much like Windows and I instantly felt at home
  • Synology Drive and Office are very much like Google Drive and Docs
  • The ability to set up timers for power on/off and LED brightness
  • App ecosystem, enabling all common functions through largely intuitive UIs
  • Docker support, enabling power users to run almost any Linux server application on the NAS

What I didn't like​

  • Doesn’t remember login state, so I have to log in each and every time. I set my browser to resume my session, but since it logged me out automatically, I would have to login to the main interface and refresh any other app tabs.
  • There is no mobile app for managing NAS. I am required to use the web interface for something as simple as shutting down the NAS or viewing the current CPU/memory usage. This would have been somewhat ok, except that the mobile web interface doesn’t work at all on Firefox for Android, which is my primary browser on Android.
  • All mobile apps have a dated UI and are in serious need of a UI refresh.
  • Though help content is available everywhere, they don’t do a very good job of explaining the features. The documentation can be made more beginner friendly.
  • Even though Synology sells expansion units, DS220+ does not support them. So if you wish to add more storage, you’ll have to replace the NAS unit.

Pricing, availability, and competition​

This NAS unit currently retails for about ₹32,000 and is available through and (at a higher price). For the hardware and features it provides, I would consider it slightly overpriced. However, when you consider the overall app ecosystem and the experience, the pricing does not seem too high. Keep in mind that there is no licensing for majority of the apps and you can use the latest version of any of them for as long as your NAS runs. So one can say that the NAS comes with perpetual licenses for all Synology apps.

Major competitors worth looking at are:
  • Asustor AS6302T, which is similarly priced and comes with an HDMI and S/PDIF ports.
  • Western Digital My Cloud Expert Series EX4100, which has 4 drive bays, again at a similar price
Cool Buddy

Cool Buddy

Wise Old Owl
Closing notes:
I decided not include any images in my review as it was getting quite long and I didn't want to leave out important information which may help people make decisions.
The NAS offers a lot of enterprise focused features as well, which I did not test because:
  • The target audience for this review will be regular consumers
  • I don't possess the understanding of many of those features
  • I don't possess the relevant infrastructure to test many of those features
There is a lot more you can than has been covered in this review. If you're interested in buying this NAS, please feel free to hit me up with any questions and I'll be happy to respond to the best of my ability.
Lastly, though the NAS was provided free of cost, I have kept my views unbiased and been critical where I felt the need for it. I hope the combined reviews on this forum after this contest will offer valuable insights to Synology for improving their products as well.

P.S.: In my answer to the contest, I had mentioned creating a print server on the NAS. I tried this and the printer was easily recognised by the NAS. However, despite multiple attempts, and following the steps exactly as described on Synology's website, I was not able to connect to it using my Windows PC. Hence I chose to leave it out of my review.
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