Synology DS420J Review: Affordable Home & Office NAS Solution

Synology has been making Network storage for a long while and has been launching devices that are actually useful and make a worthy upgrade when you compare its product from the previous versions. NAS has become quite popular these days for backup solutions. Most NAS systems start with Single or dual-drive systems. When the storage collection and media storage requirement grows, the next logical step is to use a 4 bay drive storage solution like Synology DS420J which we are testing for quite a time.

4 Bay Nas system allows for greater storage capacity along with more resilience against hard drive failure and fewer chances of data loss. As a J Series machine, the DS420j is aimed at those that want those good things, but at an affordable price.

Synology DS420J: Design

The design of DS420J is similar to the previous DS418J. Synology has taken the same design as the previous iteration disk station. I totally liked the design of the DS420J because it has all the things required for the smooth functioning of the NAS. Since the design inspired by a previous generation NAS device, It clearly indicated the reliance of the design and its merit since it has been tried and tested already.

The only weakness of the design, addressed by the newer enclosure used in the DS418J, is that while flashing LEDs on the front would indicate a drive number that might have failed, how that relates to the internal trays at the back isn’t obvious.

The lights are mounted horizontally and the drives stacked vertically so unless you refer to the documentation or do it yourself, you won’t realize that drive one is at the topmost part and not at the bottom, and you could easily pull the wrong drive out from the system.

Since Synology has been using the design for a long time, Many other NAS manufacturer has copied the same in their NAS system. The front and floor are plastic, the top, sides, and rear are all thin pressed metal sheet. There are two 80mm fans on the rear to eject heat and plenty of slots for cool air to enter & for that airflow to work.

All the ports and connectivity options are located at the back. The power supply unit is a laptop-style block that thankfully does not contribute any heat inside the DS420J NAS system. It isn’t a necessity to fill all four bays, although if you want a resilient system, you need at least two drives of the same capacity. Synology DSM can expand the defined volumes should you add more drives, and you can even sequentially swap out drives of larger capacity if you are prepared to let the system reorganize between each drive swap.

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And, for those that want a fresh start, it is possible to secure the contents to external storage, make major changes to the drive layout and then move the data back. The elegance of this honed hardware solution combined with the maturity of the DSM operating system is a major factor in why Synology is the market leader in home NAS solutions.

Synology DS420J: Features and Usage

After using various DIY NAS and other open-source NAS systems, I found that Synology DS420J is the best Home NAS Solution available right now. DS420J is one of the fastest and silent NAS systems with easy to use user interface and a huge knowledge base to help you in case you are stuck somewhere.

Synology NAS Operating system - DSM - Synology DS420J
Synology Disk Station Manager

In addition to speed, the Synology DiskStation DS420J offers a variety of backup and syncing options, plus it has mobile apps for media streaming, file management, and more. It also supports a wide range of third-party apps, such as Plex, BitTorrent Sync, and GitLab. You can use the DS420J as a home and office backup device, a media streamer, a mail server, a website-hosting device, a BitTorrent box, or a video-surveillance recorder—nearly anything you can do with a Linux computer while consuming about as much electricity as a couple of LED bulbs.

Synology Package Manager
Synology Package Manager – Showing List o f Application installed

One of the best features of DS420J is silent operations. Synology DiskStation DS420J works very quietly. This is one of the number of features that sets it apart from other similar data storage systems. DiskStation DS420J has been built to operate quietly even at full power making it an excellent choice for using it at home & office.

The streaming capabilities of the Synology DS420J are impressive. I was able to simultaneously stream 1080p Blu-ray movies as well as audio tracks smoothly. This makes it ideal for people who will be using the unit to watch or stream movies or listen to music. I had even tried using it for the Plex media server and I was amazed to see my hosted content on TV, Mobile, and iPad in the home as well as from remote location.

You can also use the shared folder feature through which you can share the folder with multiple users to keep their files or create multiple shared folders for each user and provide access to it. This can be time-consuming but you can also create a common folder for two or three users and rest would have the read-only access.

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Synology DS420J: QuickConnect Support

Synology Quickconnect Login Page
Synology QuickConnect Login Page – Access your NAS from Anywhere without having static IP.

This is one of the best features that I liked about the Synology. I am having internet connection behind a NAT. In simple terms, there are multiple computers sharing the same IP Address. I am not able to use the DDNS or Synology.me to connect to NAS over the internet. I am surprised but in spite of the problem of double NAT, I am able to access Synology NAS from the internet via QuickConnect. QuickConnect makes you access the DSM from anywhere in the world and makes you feel as if you were on the Local network. QuickConnect auto identifies the network you are on and according creates a tunnel to Synology NAS and helps you connect and manage. It lives up to its name.

Installation and Performance

As with other Synology NAS drives, the DS420J is easy to set up and configure. After installing Single Seagate 4TB SATA drives, I plugged the NAS into my router and typed http://find.synology.com into a browser address bar using my host PC, which was connected to the same router. The drive was immediately recognized, and I hit Connect, and then Set Up. I was prompted to download the latest version of DSM and waited approximately ten minutes for the software to install and for the DS420J to initialize. I created a server name, user name, and password, hit Next, and the device installation was complete.

I then created a volume using the Storage Manager utility and configured the drives for SHR-1 (Synology Hybrid RAID with 1-disk fault tolerance) using the Btrfs file system, which yielded a total storage capacity of 3.8TB. This part of the installation takes time, as the operating system performs a mandatory disk-parity check, which can take a while, depending on the size of your drives and the RAID configuration. The good news is you can use the device while the check is being performed in the background; the bad news is that performance takes a big hit as CPU usage spikes (around 80 percent), and the disks are taxed during the process. In my case, it took a little more than four hours to complete the check.

Synology Drive – Your Personal Cloud Drive

Synology has introduced Synology drive which helps you store your files in your personal Network-attached storage from anywhere and access from anywhere. The Synology drive is pretty easy to access with seamless integration with QuickConnect. You don’t need anything other than Synology drive package installed on your NAS and you are ready to go. You can share the files to anyone with a shareable link so that person with the link can access the file and that’s not all you can set whether the person will be able to download the file or has view-only access. You can even set an expiry for the link so that post expiry the link is no longer active. That’s not all, You can even combine it with Synology office so that you can create, Edit and update office docs and spreadsheets on the go. You can even use the Synology drive and office to collaborate together.

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Synology Drive
Synology Drive & Office
Synology Office
Synology Office

The ongoing pandemic of Covid-19, I was allowed to work from home and since I am into the blogging and eCommerce industry, I am often required to share files with the Ecommerce marketplaces for new product images and data. I had used Synology drive and shared a 4GB file with them which was accessible just like any other file would be on Google drive. It was just that the file was hosted on my Synology DS420J. Synology drive also has a windows client which enables you to sync files in realtime to the NAS without you having to do anything. I have my laptop’s D Drive completely backed up on the NAS so that I can access the file from Mobile, Tablet anytime and anywhere I want. The main benefit is here that you don’t have to pay up for the heavy subscription fees for monthly rentals to any third party service provider and you don’t have any limits on the usage.

Synology Network Attached Storage 420J Review
  • Design
  • Performance
  • Features
  • Price
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Conclusions

If you’re looking for an easy way to share your photos, music, and video files with your friends and family, the Synology DiskStation DS 420J will get the job done. It has four drive bays and can accommodate up to 60TB of storage, and it offers numerous RAID configurations to help protect your data. With Synology’s robust catalog of apps, you can press it into service in any number of ways, such as a full-blown media server, Audio Station, Plex Server, a BitTorrent server, a mail server, or an IP camera surveillance station.

If you are running a small home office you can definitely go with Synology DS 420J as it would make things simpler in terms of sharing files, giving permissions and run various applications and have data in a centralized location.

Sachin Agarwal

Sachin Agarwal, a social media fanatic, and a self-proclaimed geek is currently working as an E-commerce Executive with Future Group - HomeTown. While boys of his age have gone through several breakups, Sachin’s relationship with Technology is still going strong.Sachin has been offered countless treats by his friends for getting their Laptop/Computer issues sorted. He breathes technology and that is the reason why he is a Tech Advisor to everyone who knows him. Indian Tech guys is a perfect platform for the Sachin of Technology to share his knowledge and reviews with the world.

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