Synology recently launched a new Network Attached Storage (NAS) solution aimed at home users and small businesses that want to create a secure private cloud or data backup hub. It features a compact design, an efficient ARM processor, and Synology’s powerful DiskStation Manager (DSM) operating system. If you’re curious about what it has to offer and whether it’s a good fit for your specific needs, read this review:
Synology DiskStation DS223: Who is it good for?
This NAS is an excellent choice for:
- Those who need a NAS for automated system backups at their workplace
- Home users and small businesses that want to build their own cloud storage service
- Users who wish to create their home-based multimedia storage and streaming platform
- Small businesses that work collaboratively on media projects
- Storing home or office surveillance footage
Pros and cons
There are many things I like about the Synology DiskStation DS223:
- The device is compact, with easy access to the main components
- DSM is excellent: modular, regularly updated, easy to use
- Lower power consumption and noise
- Three USB ports and a useful Copy button
- Supports most apps from Synology
There are a few downsides to consider as well:
- No SD card slot
- No Plex media server support
Synology DiskStation DS223 is an entry-level model for home users and small businesses in need of an affordable NAS for tasks like storing and streaming multimedia content, setting up a collaboration platform, data backup and synchronization, or surveillance purposes. It does its job well, without generating much noise, and keeps energy costs low. It also offers access to most of Synology’s apps and features from its wonderful DSM platform. If you want a solid NAS product that fits the needs presented above, Synology DiskStation DS223 is a great choice.
Unboxing the Synology DiskStation DS223
Synology DiskStation DS223 comes in a relatively small cardboard box with a sticker on the front outlining the main advantages of the model you just bought and a picture of the device.
On the back of the box, you have some technical details and a list of what you find inside the box. When you open the packaging, you see the DiskStation DS223 inside a protective pouch, as shown below.
When you’re done unboxing everything, you get the following items: the NAS itself, its power adapter and cord, a network cable, the quick installation guide, and a pack of screws and other necessary accessories.
Synology’s packaging shows that the company’s devices are oriented toward prosumers and professionals. There are no bells and whistles; you get the accessories and information you need to start setting up the DiskStation DS223.
Hardware specifications and design
DiskStation DS223 is an entry-level 2-bay network attached storage (NAS) solution designed for data storage and sharing. It’s a compact unit of 165 x 108 x 232.7 mm (6.49 x 4.25 x 9.16 inches) in height x width x depth. It also weighs just 1.28 kg (or 2.82 lbs) without any drives inside. The front cover improves the looks of this NAS by hiding the drive bays. On it, you see the model name DS223 printed discreetly. On the front, you also have several LEDs for things like the operation Status of the unit, the LAN connection, and of the two disks that you can plug into the DS223. There’s also a USB 3.2 Gen 1 port for connecting USB memory sticks and other storage devices and a Copy button beneath it, which, when pressed, copies all the data on the storage drive to the DS223. Finally, you have the Power button here as well.
When you remove the front cover, you see the two 3.5-inch drive bays, which can be individually locked with the included keys. They support toolless installation for 3.5-inch drives, while the included screws allow the installation of 2.5-inch drives as well. The drives can be configured in Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR), Basic, JBOD, RAID 0, and RAID 1, depending on the needs and the number of drives installed. Naturally, the drives are hot-swappable. According to the official specifications, you can install and access up to 36 TB of storage using the two drives. Enough to build your own cloud storage service for your family or small business. If you look carefully toward the bottom of the DS223, you see the system fan, which has a size of 92 mm x 92 mm or 3.6 x 3.6 inches and generates a noise of up to 14.6 dB(A). It helps cool a Realtek RTD1619B quad-core processor running at 1.7 GHz and 2 GB of DDR4 RAM.
On the back, the system fan takes up most of the space. Alongside it, you find the Reset button, two USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, the Ethernet port working at 1 Gbps, a Kensington security slot, and the Power port.
On the bottom of the DS223, there are four rubber feet that hold it steady even on slippery surfaces, a couple of ventilation holes, and a sticker with information about the NAS.
Synology DiskStation DS223 has a power consumption of roughly 17.3W when the drives are operating and about 4W when the drives are hibernating. In today’s energy market, this is quite economical.
If you want to read this product’s complete specifications, you can download the Data Sheet from this page: Download Center - DiskStation DS223.
Setting up and using the Synology DiskStation DS223
Synology DiskStation DS223 doesn’t include any storage drives when you buy it. Instead, you have to purchase them separately. I installed two 4 TB Seagate Skyhawk hard drives for this review and used Synology’s Hybrid RAID (SHR) technology.
In terms of supported file systems, you can choose between Brtfs and ext4 for the internal drives. For external drives, the NAS is also compatible with other types of file systems.
Once you plug in the drives, the setup is straightforward: plug in the AC cable, connect the NAS to the router using the LAN cable(s), and power up the device. Then, open a web browser on a PC connected to the same network as the DS223 and access http://find.synology.com/. The NAS is automatically detected, and the setup wizard is loaded.
The setup wizard then asks you to choose a device name, set an administrator password, and decide whether you want to install the standard recommended apps for your NAS. You are then asked if you wish to create a Synology Account that you can use to remotely connect to your NAS via the internet and set up your own private cloud storage service.
The latest version of the DiskStation Manager (DSM) operating system created by Synology for its NAS products looks great and is well organized. In addition, the user interface is friendly and easy to use, even if you are a beginner.
As always, Synology offers a modular approach for its software platform. You can use the Package Center to download and install all the tools you need to personalize and use the DiskStation DS223 the way you want. However, by default, you get some packages and tools to help you set up the NAS as a storage hub for your home or small business network.
If you want to secure the data stored on the DiskStation DS223, you can install an antivirus and activate two-step verification for all the accounts that can access the NAS.
There are many things you can have Synology DiskStation DS223 to do for you:
- Private cloud storage service - you can create your version of OneDrive or Google Drive. You can also back up data from a public cloud service (like Google Drive) using Cloud Sync.
- Multimedia server - set the DS223 to store and download pictures, music, and videos, and then use it to stream that content to your network’s devices.
- Video surveillance - store video footage from your networked surveillance cameras and access it whenever needed. There are two free IP camera licenses included with the DS223. For more cameras, you need to purchase additional licenses.
- Backup server - set your NAS to create backups of the PCs connected to the network.
- Web server - you can install Apache, PHP, Node.js, Perl, and Python and use them for your web development projects.
- Web-based collaboration platform - install multiple tools for building a web-based collaboration platform: a chat service, a team calendar, Office productivity apps, a mail server, etc.
- You can also set it to work as a Proxy Server or VPN Server.
The support documentation is easily accessible and detailed. The DSM Help module is installed by default and provides you with information about all the important features, tutorials, and videos showcasing the potential of your NAS and how to set it up.
I enjoyed using the DiskStation DS223 for the main purpose advertised by Synology: as a storage hub for all the devices in my home network. The configuration was easy, and everything worked well. I also enjoyed the USB 3.2 Gen 1 port on the front and pressing the Copy button to get all my data copied automatically to the DS223 without any other intervention on my part. It’s a neat little feature that makes life easier.
A minor negative is that the DiskStation DS223 has no SD card slot. Therefore, if you’re a photographer, backing up your pictures might not be as fast as you’d like. Speaking of negatives, another aspect that may disappoint a minority of users is that DS223 has no Plex media server support. Besides these two aspects, there’s nothing to fault with the DiskStation DS223.
Lastly, I wanted to see how fast network transfers are to the DS223 and back. Therefore, I used LAN Speed Test to make several transfers and recorded the average speed. As shown in the chart below, I downloaded data from the Synology DiskStation DS223 with an average speed of 816.5 Mbps and uploaded data to it with an average speed of 750.25 Mbps. While these are not the fastest speeds I’ve seen when using a NAS, they are fast enough to cater to the needs of their intended audience.
You may get even better results with faster storage. However, consult the list of compatible drives before purchasing them.
Overall, I’m happy with my testing experience and think that DiskStation DS223 is a solid choice for home users and small businesses, delivering what most people need in a slim package with a low power consumption.
What is your opinion of the Synology DiskStation DS223?
Now you know more about the Synology DiskStation DS223, its features, strengths, and limitations. However, before closing this review, I would like your opinion about the DS223: Do you like what it offers? Do you plan to buy one? Are you considering other models or brands as well? Also, if you own a Synology DiskStation DS223, do not hesitate to share your experience with other readers interested in this model.