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Synology DiskStation DS414j Review



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  • Good build quality
  • Simple setup
  • Intuitive software
  • Well priced


  • Performance uninspiring
  • No tool-less drive installation

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £275.00
  • 1x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
  • AirPlay, DLNA, TimeMachine Support
  • Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR)
  • 4x SATA HDD bays

What is the Synology DiskStation DS414j?

The j-series is Synology’s budget friendly range of NAS and the DS414j is its next generation of affordable four-bay devices. Having seen the likes of Western Digital’s MyCloud EX4 jump into this sector with great success, the pressure is on for Synology to show its experience and specialisation still makes it top dog.

SEE ALSO: Synology EDS14 review


Synology DiskStation DS414j – Design

While it is all change under the hood (more on which shortly), on the outside the DS414j looks much like its predecessors. This means it ditches the more minimalist and stylish looks of more expensive models like the DS414, but it is by no means an unattractive design. 

The plastic fascia does jar somewhat with the metal chassis, but the inclusion of the latter is somewhat surprising for a NAS of this price (and takes a leaf out of Netgear’s book with the ReadyNAS 102). Synology has also built in dual fans for redundancy – a feature usually reserved for more expensive models – and its simple LED indicators (one per HDD, power and Internet) provide at-a-glance information.

On the downside Synology does abandon the screw-less design we love in its
more expensive NAS. Finger friendly chassis screws are followed up by standard screws required to fit drives into their respective bays, but it still takes
just a few minutes to get all four drives inserted and once fitted they feel secure.

SEE ALSO: Netgear ReadyNas 314 review

Synology DiskStation DS414j – Features

The DS414j pulls off a number of firsts for the company’s j-series. Firstly it uses the new Mindspeed Comcerto C2200 dual-core communications processor. This has a pair of Cortex-A9 cores running at 1.2 GHz, which should provide plenty of power. More confusingly, however, is that this chipset is combined with just 512MB RAM. We recognise that this is common in budget NAS, but for a next generation four bay unit we were hoping to see 1GB. 

Where we do hit another first though is the DS414j becomes the first j-series to offer USB 3.0 and that is backed up by a USB 2.0 port alongside its Gigabit LAN. The aforementioned dual fans are also very welcome with just one working at any one time, but with the ability to switch automatically should one fail. 

The other talking point with any Synology NAS is its exceptional software. Like all modern Synology NAS, the DS414j ships with the same DiskStation Manger (DSM) 5.0 software that is shared with every model Synology sells – regardless of price.

SEE ALSO: Drobo 5D ThunderBolt review

DSM 5.0 is a class leading platform which apes the design of the Mac OS desktop and has natural language search, an array of third party apps and support for DLNA, AirPlay and Bluetooth media streaming. NAS content can be accessed both locally and remotely with iOS, Android and Windows Phone apps and there is native support for Apple Time Machine. 

Meanwhile the NAS uses Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) by default which allows for hot swappable bays and automatic volume expansion like Netgear’s X-RAID and Drobo’s BeyondRAID. Purists will also find support for Basic, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 and RAID 10 and with 6TB drives already supported for a maximum of 24TB of storage, on paper, the DS414j should provide your storage needs for many years to come.

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