Synology DS216play NAS review: Great media streaming and 4K transcoding for the price

The $249 dual-bay, DS216play is the least-expensive NAS box available featuring hardware-assisted 4K h.264/h.265 transcoding that we know of. And unlike its arch-rival, the QNAP TS-251A, said transcoding delivered smooth video to all types of devices. It’s a neat future-proofing trick (few users work with 4K at the moment), and Synology’s DSM operating system and app library also let you employ the DS216play in a vast array of roles.

Design and performance

The $249 the DS216Ply will set you back is inexpensive for a dual-bay Synology box. That low price tag doesn’t show in the STM STiH412 CPU with 4K transcoding support or the 1GB of system memory, but it does make itself known in the lack of amenities, such as front USB ports or a quick-copy button. Also, you must disassemble the case to install drives (it ships unsecured to save you a step), which reside in static bays, not trays. It’s workable, but much less convenient than sliding a tray in and out.

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