Synology DS118 Single Bay Diskstation Review

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At A Glance
Product Synology Single Bay NAS (DS118)   [Website]
Summary Single bay NAS powered by quad-core Realtek SoC with single Gigabit Ethernet and two USB 3.0 ports.
Pros • Performance comparable to the top-rated DS218play
• 4K Ultra HD real-time transcoding
• Using the same chassis as the DS116 NAS, the DS118 NAS is  compact, has low power use, low noise and comes in a discreet size.
Cons • If you have used NAS in they past the DS118 will not exactly blow your socks off. For it’s size and price tag, it is an excellent NAS, but more designed with first time NAS users, micro users or those on a tight budget in mind.
So i’ve had the DS118 set up for a few weeks now. The migration was super simple. Just took an old drive and put it in the new DS118, and booted up. I then used the website to find it on my network and it did the rest of the work for me. I had to log in to account in settings, but other than that everything just pretty much worked. You would want a decent hard drive so I’d recommend purchasing from one of the more known providers, WD or Seagate and get a NAS specific hard drive. A NAS specific hard drive is built differently to your standard PC hard drive, as its built to run 24/7, plus some other technical reasons I’m sure.

As far as the DS118 itself goes, i am very happy so far. The DS116 had the fastest processor that I had seen from the “affordable” Synology options, so we expected it to be pretty fast and was mostly disappointed with performance on heavy tasks. Bulk media conversion was a large task for it, and i would frequently see the CPU maxed out while doing this. The DS118, however, never really maxes out doing the same tasks. I suppose it is programmed to do these tasks multi-threaded and the quad core opposed to dual core works better, but I have found it to be much more snappy with media tasks. Even just viewing pictures and videos on Photostation seems faster.

The DS118 is like virtually every other Synology NAS out there. It runs the latest version of Synology’s class-leading DiskStation Manager operating system and is full featured, again, except for the bits that don’t work on ARM (i.e: BTRFS support). There’s two USB 3.0 ports, for plugging in additional hard drives to ingest new files, or even back up the contents of the NAS and a single Gigabit Ethernet port. 

It is small and quiet (the only thing I ever hear from it is the HD ticking under heavy use). Never gets warm to the touch and the LED lights are bright, but not offensively so. I was concerned about getting a single drive model, but for my use it worked out quite well.

Even though it has an ARM CPU, performance is more than adequate with the DS118 fully saturating a Gigabit Ethernet connection when copying files to and from a desktop computer. 1GB of DDR4 RAM also means there’s a bit of headroom for running a couple of apps (Synology calls them packages) in the background.

The DS118 is able to do hardware transcoding of video (4K @ 60fps, 10-bit H.265 and below), so even if your playback device  doesn’t support the video file format, you’ll be able to watch the content perfectly when using Synology’s Video Station app.  Once video station app is installed and set up to find your movie folder, it will index all your movies for you, with all the meta data you could possibly want, including movie covers/posters. It makes watching/browsing your movie database so easy and look so professional. Sometimes the metadata can be incorrect or you may want a different image, so there is an inbuilt feature to search the web for your movie, using keywords and you can manually adapt the data to suit. Initially it takes some time for this indexing to finish but once it does, boy does it look great!

If you’re familiar with Synology NAS units, the DS118 pulls no surprises with the brilliant and familiar DiskStation Manager. It’s a perfect single bay device for someone without huge storage needs, but wants a lower end, reliable and easy to use storage device, that will also handle a few simple home server duties.

Listed below are more detailed specifications of the DS118.

Versatile, powerful and compact storage server
Synology DS118 comes with a new 64-bit quad-core processor, delivering excellent data transfer speed and 10-bit 4K H.265 video transcoding on the fly.

CPU – Quad-core 1.4 GHz
Memory – 1GB DDR4
Performance – Over 113 MB/s and 112 MB/s sequential reading and writing
Eco-friendly – 9.4 W / 4.22 W Access / Hibernation power consumption

Ultimate file management and sharing
File Station is a web-based, fast and secure management tool built to allow easy, drag-and-drop operation without requiring any complex setup on Mac or PC. Advanced search and filtering tools allow for easy organization and sharing of files with just a link. Supports SMB, FTP, AFP, NFS, WebDAV, compatible with any environment.

Synchronize files across your devices
Cloud Station Suite provides real-time data synchronization across all your devices, such as computers, mobile devices, and other Synology NAS whenever a file is modified. “Intelliversioning” keeps the most important file versions to better utilize storage space.
Cloud Station Sharesync – Cloud Station Drive – Cloud Station Server – DS Cloud

Easy file access with QuickConnect
Access files on your Synology NAS over the Internet without the hassle of setting up port forwarding rules, DDNS, or other complicated network settings. QuickConnect allows you to connect via a simple customizable address (e.g. https://customID.quickconnect.to), so that you can instantly access media and work files on any Windows/Mac/Linux computer, laptop, or mobile device without additional charge.

4K Multimedia Server
Access and stream your favorite 4K content anywhere, anytime. DS118 supports 10-bit 4K H.265 online transcoding via Video Station and DS video, allowing 4K videos to be converted and played on your computers, mobile devices, or other media players that don’t support Ultra HD formats.

Powered by Synology DSM

Surveillance Station
Complete surveillance solution for recording, monitoring, and management.

Desktop Backup
Simplified backup solution for your Mac, PC, and mobile devices.

Public Cloud Integration
Backup and synchronize data easily between your public cloud accounts and your NAS.

DSM UI
Award-winning operating system with an intuitive user interface and powerful capabilities.

Security
Comprehensive built-in security tools are constantly updated to tackle evolving threats and protect your devices.

Multimedia
Complete multimedia solution for management, streaming, and playback.

Closing Thoughts

The DS118 is not an inexpensive NAS.  With the exception of RAID capabilities, the DS118 shares the same features as the DS218play including a hardware encryption engine, a 4K Multimedia Server that supports 10-bit H.265 online transcoding, Public Cloud Integration and low noise and power consumption.

I’m blown away with the DS118’s performance, interface and capabilities.

 

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