DS215j – Synology’s two-bay DiskStation entry into the j series for 2015 – is externally very much the same beast as its predecessor, the DS213j. Though this is to be expected, given that Synology has honed the j series chassis for small office and home use into a rather lovely design that is unlikely to change any time soon. This isn’t a hot-swappable DiskStation, so rather than remove a front panel to access the drive trays, you instead slide off the whole left side of the casing to access the interior.
Our main worry here was the lack of proper support for enclosed hard disk drives. A small metal ledge supports about half of a 3.5-inch HDD at the connected end, with the rest hovering in mid-air, and there’s no support on either side of each drive either. It’s a little concerning given the fact that the HDDs pull weight slightly to the left, so there must be some level of stress on the rear connections – even with the two supporting screws on the top and bottom of each drive minimising the wobble.
HDDs inserted and the case backon,however,wewerepretty impressed with the specs and general performance of the DS215j. The single-core 1.2GHz processor of the DS213j has been replaced with a Marvell Armada 375 dual- core 800MHz CPU. There’s no improvement on the 512MB DDR3 RAM, but the processor upgrade gives DS215j an edge on the DS213j – Synology’s claim of a 20 per cent performance boost at 111MB/s read and 87MB/s write held up in our tests. Another welcome upgrade
is the addition of a USB 3.0 port to replace one of the DS213j’s two USB 2.0 ports, which means you can now get USB transfer speeds up to ten times faster.
In terms of usage, Synology’s DiskStation Manager software continues to impress. DSM 5.1 makes it easy to set up and manage multiple users, shared folders – including encrypted ones, which barely impact on read/write speeds – and, of course, host ll your multimedia content by installing the dedicated Station software via DSM’s Package Center app.
Download Music Station onto your DS215j, for example, grab the companion DS Audio app for your iPad or iPhone, and you can then access your collection on the go through a mobile interface designed to fit nicely with iOS – and the DS215j’s floating point unit will transcode audio into MP3 for faster streaming. The supporting suite of apps, as well as the fact the DS215j is a DLNA-certified media server, make it incredibly simple to back up and access your favourite files. The price drop from £186 to £138 is just one more compelling argument for a purchase.