The $249 dual-bay, DS216play may be the least-expensive NAS box available featuring hardware-assisted 4K h.264/h.265 transcoding that people know of. And unlike its arch-rival, the QNAP TS-251A, said transcoding delivered smooth video to all or any types of devices. It’s a neat future-proofing trick (few users use 4K right now), and Synology’s DSM operating-system and software library also enable you to employ the DS216play in a vast selection of roles.

Design and performance
The $249 the DS216Play sets you back is relatively economical for a dual-bay Synology box. That good deal tag doesn’t show via the STM STiH412 CPU with 4K transcoding support or the 1GB of system memory, nonetheless it does make itself known in having less amenities, such as for example front USB ports or a quick-copy button. Also, you need to disassemble the case to set up drives (it ships unsecured to save lots of you a step), which have a home in static bays, not trays. It’s workable, but significantly less convenient than sliding a tray in and out.

Jon L. Jacobi
The Synology DS216play’s performance didn’t impress.

The port selection is satisfactory if not overwhelming: gigabit ethernet, a USB 2.0 port, and a USB 3.0 port, all on the trunk.

Alas, although it does a bang-up job transcoding 4K UHD (2160p) video, the DS216play is otherwise a somewhat weak performer by today’s standards; it’s only a tad faster than Seagate’s Personal Cloud. It beat out the arch-rival QNAP’s TS-251A by about 10MBps when writing, nonetheless it was a much slower reader. The performance is a lot more than sufficient for streaming to 1 (2160p) or a few devices (1080p), though backup times will be on the slow side.

Operating-system, interface, and apps
An enormous upside to the DS216play–all Synology boxes, for that matter–is the nifty windowed operating-system-in-a-browser and a cornucopia of applications. Said programs let you do from serve websites (including content management) and email, to having a USB camera for video surveillance. Just about everything useful that is developed for the Linux operating-system has been ported, making Synology boxes a fantastic choice for smaller businesses and enthusiasts.

Synology’s windowed browser interface is filled to the brim with convenient applications and utilities.

Media software abound, including iTunes and DLNA servers, these on-the-fly video transcoding up to 4K UHD (2160p), and also the capability to stream compressed audio tracks files up-sampled to CD-quality 44.1kHz/16-bit via the awesome third-party music server from Roon. Roon is pricey, nonetheless it makes a noticeable difference in sound quality. Synology includes its applications that enable you to play video, show images, and pay attention to music directly from a browser, with versions also designed for Android and iOS devices. Plex can be open to cover anything Synology’s programs don’t.

Synology
The DS216play is quite Spartan in terms of ports.

For backup, data synchronization, and interfacing with online storage services, Synology is second and then QNAP. Not merely does the business have its Cloud Sync iphone app with clients for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, the DS216play can hook up with Azure, DropBox, Google Drive, One Drive, and in regards to a dozen other lesser-known storage repositories. Our only complaint, the one that won’t affect the common home user, is that it won’t back up via FTP, because so many NAS boxes will. That’s sort of an IT thing, but it’s still an odd omission.

You can certainly access the DS216play, plus your files, remotely via Synology’s QuickConnect web portal. You may even, of course, utilize the traditional public IP/router configuration method.

Conclusion
The DS216play is pretty somewhat slower than many like-priced, and even substantially less-expensive NAS boxes. But it’s fast enough for the common user, and it’s a lot more versatile, with media features for days, a great deal of small-business apps, and 4K UHD (2160p) transcoding that truly works. Sweet.

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Synology DS216play dual-bay NAS box (unpopulated)
Synology’s DS216Play NAS is a middling performer, but there is no better NAS box designed for streaming multimedia features and 4K transcoding. Synology’s rich iphone app environment allows it to also function in a bunch of SOHO roles.

Pros
Hardware-based 4K UHD (2160p) transcoding
Broad software capabilities
Interfaces with numerous online services
Cons
Static drive mounting requires openin