While we all understand the attraction of a NAS solution, they can be expensive options. Synology has today eased the burden on your wallet with the announcement of the USB Station 2, a bring-your-own hard disk NAS device that you can pick up for around £85.
Rather than offering integrated hard disks, the USB Station 2 has two USB ports into which you can plug in external disks up to 2TB is capacity. It will then share them over your network via the integrated Gigabit Ethernet port, making for a simple to set up and cost effective NAS solution that will stream pretty much anything via DLNA to devices such as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
The USB Station 2 is also a far less boxy affair than the normal highly functional designs that Synology traditionally offers, but then it doesn’t have to accommodate hard disks or do any of that complex, asking for trouble, RAID stuff. It’s also low powered, drawing just 5W, so kind and caring to the environment.
It’s powered by an 800MHz processor and has 128MB of DDR400 RAM, so should be reasonable fast. The clever stuff comes courtesy of Synology’s recently updated DiskStation Manager 3.0 software, which offers the aforementioned DLNA capabilities and can also act as an iTunes server.
It can also act as a USB print server, and contains a Bit Torrent client for download 24.7 without needing a PC turned on – and eMule integration too. (Does anybody still use that?)
Other tricks include being able to hook up USB speakers for direct playback of your music, and an iPhone and Android app, DS audio, that will let you stream your music over the Internet to your handset – a great option if you don’t fancy coughing up for a Spotify Premium subscription.
If you’ve got an external disk doing nothing then you could turn it into quite a useful home or small office storage option for not too much cash. What's not to like?