Lots of impressive features, but expensive for a single-bay NAS enclosure
Single-disk network-attached storage (NAS) devices lack the data-protection features of multi-disk models, but appeal to those with smaller budgets. The Synology Diskstation DS112j enclosure can take a single desktop or laptop Sata hard disk. It's usually best to go for desktop hard disks as these are cheaper and, unlike laptop disks, go up to 4TB in size.
The case splits lengthwise to allow the hard disk to be installed, which is easy to do. It has two USB2 ports, plus a Gigabit Ethernet connector. It runs almost silently and uses only 12 watts of power. Buyers should be careful not to get confused with the almost-identical DS112, a pricier business version with more memory (256MB instead of 128MB), a faster processor (1.6GHz versus 1.2GHz) and USB3 ports.
The Synology Assistant utility guides the user through the setup procedure. When complete, the Assistant also provides an easy way to connect to the DS112j and open the web configuration interface. The Diskstation Manager (DSM) 4 management software is accessed through your web browser. There is a Quick Start wizard to help with basic tasks such as creating shared folders and enabling the various add-on packages. It's all incredibly easy to navigate and use, but we found it wasn't quite as responsive as it is on Synology's more expensive models – almost certainly due to the lower hardware specifications.
As Synology uses the same software on all its devices, the DS112j has all the software capabilities of more expensive models, including the numerous add-on packages. So besides the main applications for sharing media files and downloading Bittorrent files without using any computer, it can also be used to run a small website or monitor footage from network video cameras, for example. Lots of extra free packages are available, plus smartphone apps for Android and iOS. Synology Data Replicator 3 software is included for backing up files from connected PCs.
There's a lot to like about the DS112j, but it's not great value as the two-disk DS212j is only £40 more expensive, while the Zyxel NSA-310 is a cheaper single-disk NAS. Nevertheless, the DS112j still deserves praise for being outstandingly capable and easy-to-use.
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Although it is easy to use and manage and has an excellent range of applications, the DS112j is just a too expensive for a single-disk enclosure
Cool and quiet; easy to configure and use; many advanced features
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