Synology DiskStation DS415play review

A NAS that hits the media centre sweet spot

Synology DS415play
This NAS produced some reasonably impressive performance figures in our testing

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We liked

The video transcoding capabilities are the main selling point and there are lots of buyers who want this feature, plus the extra storage capacity and RAID capabilities of a four-bay NAS. That said, at around £390 inc VAT (around $650, AU$700), the DS415play is far from inexpensive, plus you have to factor in the cost of disks. But then that's only about £100 more than the two-bay DS214play for which you get double the capacity.

As with all Synology appliances the DSM operating system is another major bonus, making the NAS very easy to manage with the added benefit of being able to host a variety of add-on applications. Secure remote access to your files via the cloud is another nice feature.

We also liked the ultra-quiet fans, although fanless NAS products are starting to be released which set the decibel bar even lower.

We disliked

Built to the usual Synology standards the pop-off door over the disks is a little vulnerable and some kind of lock would be worth having. We would also like to see specific instructions included in the box on how to install the Media Station app and enable transcoding, rather than having to hunt around for this important information.

A Wi-Fi interface would be a welcome addition and an HDMI port for direct streaming to a flat screen TV rather than having to use the network. The DS415play also lacks the quick copy button and SD Card slot found on the smaller two-bay model.

Final verdict

A media centre solution first and a general purpose NAS appliance second, the DS415play is the ideal compromise for buyers wanting to stream music and HD video over the LAN and who also need the storage space that a four-bay NAS can provide. Bigger and faster NAS boxes are to be had, and cheaper alternatives too, but this one looks to target the media centre sweet spot and, as such, should do well.