Synology has been around since the year 2000 and they are known for creating outstanding and high-quality NAS or network attached storage devices; they are also recognized for producing IP surveillance solutions, as well as various network equipment that can be utilized for personal or business use. We’ve tried out quite a number of their products and we can say that the company has been delivering products and devices with excellent features and notable qualities.

So today, we’re going to talk about one of Synology’s NAS devices which is the DS418PLAY. It’s one of the company’s latest NAS device for this year, and with its notable specifications and features, it could be the perfect 4K device for you. But before we get deeper into the NAS’ specifications, features, and details about its Moments Application, let us first check out what’s included in the box of this very promising NAS device from Synology.

Synology DS418play Review – Whats in the Box?

We expected that the DS418PLAY would come in the standard Synology NAS packaging and that’s what we laid eyes on when we received the box. It features a number of product-specific stickers informing us of the NAS model that we have, its internal hardware, the contents included in the box, as well as the details of the NAS unit’s capabilities. Other than these, there are no other important details regarding the DS418PLAY, so you can just go on and check out what’s inside the package.

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Once you open it up, you’ll find the DS418PLAY unit itself, and the other accessories that are present in the package include RJ-45 LAN cables x2, an external PSU, an instruction manual, the main power lead and screws for setting up the 2.5-inch drives (just take note that the 3.5-inch ones can be installed even without the use of a screwdriver or screws because of the Click & Load trays that are already pre-slotted in the NAS device.

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The Product

Synology DS418play Review – Another Home Run With Some Great Moments

Once we were done inspecting the DS418PLAY’s packaging and the rest of its contents, we went on to check out the NAS device itself. You will see that it comes with its own unique yet soft external bag, and we think that it’s really convenient that the company included this along with the device; the soft bag would be a great place to store the DS418PLAY when you need to bring it with you for whatever reason.

The DS418PLAY from Synology is already utilizing the latest 4-Bay Chassis 2018 Series which has already been featured in their DS-918+ and DS-418 NAS device. We’ve been really enthusiastic and excited about the new casing for this NAS unit since it’s a pinch smaller, has more ventilation, and there isn’t any more of the unnecessary features present such as the removable front panel; it’s really a good thing that Synology has adopted this casing style for the DS418PLAY.

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As for the trays, these are basically Click and Load bays which means that hot swapping is possible; this will allow you to change or remove your drives even when the NAS unit is in operation. This is another useful attribute of the DS418PLAY especially if you need the unit to be constantly working even when a replacement or bigger drive needs to be added to the system. However, you should still consider the configurations of your RAID before doing this.

The front portion of the chassis features a couple of LED lights that signify system access, drive health, network access, and a lot more. Also, there is a concealed 3.0 USB port located in the front area, right at the base. The USB port can be utilized for linking compatible peripherals, USB backup drives, or to make a generally static and locally-based external drive accessible.

The Synology DS418PLAY is a 4-BAY NAS solution that is integrated with a variety of useful features; this is all thanks to Synology’s DSM or the Disk-Station Manager operating system featured in each unit. This NAS device from Synology features an improved Intel Celeron – dual-core J-3355 CPU that runs at 2.0-GHz with burst efficiency of up to 2.5-GHz. Generally, the upgraded CPU will aid in transcoding 4-K videos easily, and this also goes for any other encryptions that you plan to do.

We liked the features of this device and of course, we’re going to share what these are. This is to give you more information on the DS418PLAY’s features so you’ll have a better grasp of what the device can offer you.

The DS418PLAY has a 4-K multimedia server that will allow you to access then stream your 4-K media content. The device supports 4-K H.264 / H.256 online transcoding through DS videos and Video Station; this will allow you to convert 4-K videos then play these on other smartphones, computers, as well as other media players that don’t usually support ultra HD formats. The NAS device also features the next generation file system which is great for data/file protection – something that we find really convenient and helpful in many ways.

The BTRFS file system introduces some of the most advanced storage technologies, as well as optimized snapshots that avoid the occurrence of data corruption. This feature also decreases maintenance overhead while ensuring high levels of data integrity; additionally, the feature also provides efficient and flexible data recovery and protection tools.

The DS418PLAY NAS also features the SHR or Synology Hybrid RAID technology to make managing your storage easier than ever. The technology is basically an automated RAID system that lets you easily expand and create storage volumes, as well as migrate RAID types without needing any RAID details. The Synology Hybrid RAID offers a single to double-disk redundancy to protect all of your data during instances of drive failures.

Synology also included Quick Connect to the device to provide you with easy file access. You can access all of your stored files on the DS418PLAY via the internet without having any troubles of arranging DDNS, port-forwarding rules, or other complex network settings. This Quick Connect lets you link through a customizable and secure address so you can readily access media and work data on any internet-connected device without any additional charges.

Product Specifications

CPU

  • CPU Model: Intel Celeron J3355
  • CPU Architecture: 64-bit
  • CPU Frequency: Dual Core 2.0 burst up to 2.5 GHz
  • Hardware Encryption Engine (AES-NI)
  • Hardware Transcoding Engine: H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), MPEG-2 and VC-1; maximum resolution: 4K (4096 x 2160); maximum frame rate per second (FPS): 30

Memory

  • System Memory: 2 GB DDR3L
  • Memory Module Pre-installed: 2GB (1 x 2GB)
  • Total Memory Slots: 2
  • Memory Expandable up to: 6 GB (2 GB + 4 GB)

Storage

  • Drive Bays: 4
  • 5″ SATA HDD
  • 5″ SATA HDD
  • 5″ SATA SSD
  • Maximum Internal Raw Capacity: 48 TB (12 TB drive x 4) (Capacity may vary by RAID types)
  • Maximum Single Volume Size: 108 TB
  • Hot Swappable Drive

External Ports

  • RJ-45 1GbE LAN Port: 2 (with Link Aggregation / Failover support)
  • USB 3.0 Port: 2

File System

  • Btrfs
  • EXT4
  • External Drives
  • EXT3
  • FAT
  • NTFS
  • HFS+
  • exFAT

How it Performs

Synology aims to enhance and further improve the performance, as well as the efficiency of their DS418PLAY NAS device with every upcoming software update. The two primary uses that we have for the DS418PLAY is its ability to actually transcode and store videos to a variety of video streaming devices; it’s also useful for storing and allowing easier access to our large photo collection.

Another thing that we really find useful with the NAS device is its Photo-Station service that is also associated with the DS Photo application. This allows us to access exported images anywhere in the world as long as we have internet access. We were able to share images with other people, giving them access to these in a Dropbox fashion; or, we can also show these images via smartphone or laptop in a finely-presented gallery.

The NAS device also lets us upload photos to our personal cloud which is very convenient since this is possible even if you aren’t in front of your computer or at home. If you’re usually out traveling with family or friends, this DS418PLAY NAS will be pretty much convenient for you.

The DS418PLAY also displayed solid Read & Write scores during our file transferring tests: here, we transferred a 5GB folder that contained videos, audio, office documents, and photo files between the PLAY and a host computer; both of which were linked to the same router via LAN cables. Moving data from our other Disk-Stations to the DS418PLAY was a bit challenging at first, mostly because we were worried of the outcome. Luckily, Synology made it easier and convenient to do such a thing so we were able to migrate data without any troubles or issues.

The Hyper Backup of the NAS device lets you easily and effortlessly create backups which allowed us to migrate data, settings, and all applications while simultaneously utilizing the DS418PLAY. If you ever need additional storage capabilities from a 4-Bay NAS, then you definitely can’t go wrong with the DS418PLAY.

How to Use

When it comes to Synology NAS devices, the DS418PLAY is really easy to configure so you don’t have to worry about the setup process. We installed our SATA hard drives then plugged the DS418PLAY to our router; after, we logged on http://find.synology.com via our host computer which was also linked to the same router.

We were expecting to wait for some minutes to an hour but to our surprise, the drive was immediately recognized; so from there, we clicked on Connect, Set Up, then we were prompted to download the newest version of the DSM. The software download just took us around ten minutes; this already included the installation process and for the DS418PLAY to initialize. We were just required to create a server name, username, and also a password. Hitting the Next button will complete the whole installation process then you’re done.

We continued to make a volume via the Storage Manager feature then configured the drives for  the BTRFS file system. This portion of the installation process actually takes time since the operating system starts performing a compulsory disk-parity check which can take quite some time depending on your RAID configuration and the drive size.

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Synology Moments Application

Synology Moments is the company’s new photo solution that lets you take advantage of the image recognition technique for a modern and more efficient browsing experience. Synology Moments lets you view your photos and videos stored on the Synology Drive using your Android device – this means you can access these files anytime and anywhere. We really liked that all of our photos were laid out in chronological order and were also organized into albums which were arranged by topics.

Features of Synology Moments

The application lets you easily save each one of your photos in a single and secure area on your DS418PLAY; here, you won’t have to worry about possible leaks of your personal files and data. You can also group or categorize your files according to topics since the Moments application features a deep-learning algorithm that instantly groups random photos together based on your usual subjects, places, and a lot more.

One of the things we really liked about the Synology Moments application is that you don’t have to really scroll through your entire folder just to find the file you want; you basically just have to type keywords on the search bar then all the relevant and applicable results will appear for you.  It’s a great feature since you can easily share your data with family, friends, or colleagues.

Lastly, you’ll also have an optimized browsing experience because of the Super Resolution that is available. This feature instantly determines your network conditions, so when these are unstable, hardware acceleration and deep-learning techniques on your mobile devices reorganize thumbnail details which give you seamless and continuous browsing experience.

Benefits of Synology Moments

Synology Moments features a new deep-learning algorithm which organizes uncategorized photos in one group. These will be arranged via location, subject, and even similar facial structures. It’s really interesting that Moments can almost accurately recognize facial structures so we tried this out and it worked pretty well: we have several photos of friends and we put together a photo of one of them when she had long and short hair.

The application was able to detect her facial features and put these photos together in one group; it also did the same with our other friends regardless of their hair color or style. Moments really has a good facial recognition feature so we’re giving Synology a thumbs-up for this. Aside from the facial recognition features, Moments also conveniently tags photos based on your subject: if the app sees flowers on your photo, it can label the image with garden, if there’s a lot of snow on the photo, it will label and categorize the file for you too.

With the app, you can also readily search and share your files with friends and family: you just need to type in the keywords then all the relevant files will appear for you. Additionally, you can also readily backup all the photos saved on your smart devices; you just need to regularly backup the photos by uploading these from your Android or iOS device via the Moments mobile application.

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How to Use Moments

Installing the application will also install other necessary components which include the Drive; also, the whole process is just as simple as installing anything else on the DS418PLAY. Once you’re done setting up, uploading your photos on the Moments app will be as easy as a click. The application from Synology works excellently on different file formats, as well as on RAW files – something that we really appreciate about Moments.

Additionally, the application also accepts videos and places it in a video category for your needs. Once uploaded, your DS418PLAY NAS device will analyze your files then automatically tag these based on your content. While the NAS device is going through your images, you can still search through the albums section to see (in real time) while the app categorizes all your files.

When it comes to the compatibility of the Synology Moments app, you can use this for both Android and iOS devices for free: just download the application via Google Play or the App Store, and you can also find additional add-on packages that can help expand the functionality and efficiency of your DS418PLAY. You’ll easily get to download, as well as install the packages designed for your needs, and these include packages for sharing files on your cloud, setting up VPN environments, sharing various photos from an online album, or even a special antivirus app to protect your system.

System Requirements

To be able to use Synology Moments software, you will need to have Internet Explorer 9 or later, Chrome, or Firefox if you’re using a computer. For mobile users, you will require Safari 8 or later for iPhones, Safari (iOS 7.0+ on iPad), and Chrome (Android 4.0+ on tablets).

Universal Search

When it comes to searching, Synology Moments supports searching for files saved in your Synology NAS such as images and videos; and even in indexed folders, you will still be able to search for the files that you need. For hotkeys, Synology Moments supports Ctrl + F to open the Search Now widget. Synology Moments also filters search results by file type while supporting full-text search with keywords, tags, and dates.

Supported File Types

For images, Synology Moments supports a wide range of file formats including JPEG, GIF, BMP, RAW (arw, sr2, k25, srf, dcr, kdc, crw, cr2, nef, ptx, mrw, pef, raw, raf, 3fr, mef, erf, mos, rw2, orf, dng), PNG, and TIFF. When it comes to video playback formats, the software supports 3G2, ASF, DAT, AVI, FLV, M4V, DivX, MP4, MTS, MPEG, MOV, M2TS, MPG, M2T, WMV, QT, XviD, and 3GP.

Languages

Synology Moments supports a wide range of languages including English, Japanese Deutsch, Korean, French, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Russian, Polish, Hungarian, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, Turkish, Czech, Traditional and Simplified Chinese.

Synology Moments Mobile App

moments1 Synology DS418play Review

Conclusion

With more RAM compared to the previous NAS models, this is definitely a huge leap for Synology’s PLAY series, making the product line better than ever. Synology has always been known for creating reliable and effective devices that are also very user-friendly for all: from their custom DSM operating system that makes setting up, configuration, and software installation easy, to the Hybrid RAID technology.

If this isn’t enough, the DS418PLAY also performs excellently as a media server since it can take advantage of the hardware transcoding to serve up to a total of two 4-K streams in case you need this.

If you’re searching for an easier way to share your files with friends and family, the DS418PLAY from Synology will definitely get the job done. Since it also features a total of 4-Bays, itcan readily accommodate up to a total of 48-Terabytes of storage; additionally, it also provides you with a couple of RAID configurations that can help safeguard your data. Overall, the DS418PLAY is an excellent NAS device, and along with the Synology Moments technology, we definitely recommend this to you.

Where to Buy

If you want to purchase the Synology DS-418play NAS you can do so for around $629AUD. Head on over to the Synology website for more information.

Synology DS418play Review
Design
Features
Performance
Usability
Value
4.5Overall Score