The DS107+ is compatible with Windows SMB system so, apart from using the Synology Assistant utility to create network drives, you can access the drive the way you would access another computer on the network via Windows' Explorer. This way, all shared folders on the drive are available as they are shared from a networked computer. This means any computer in the network can easily access the drive without having to use the utility.
The Synology comes with a few default shared folders including "public" and "Web," and as you start using other features, a shared folder for each is created. These folders can't be used interchangeably between features. For example, when you start the iTunes service for sharing music from the NAS directly to iTunes application running on your network computers, a new folder called "music" is created for storing your to-be-shared music. Music you may have in other folders cannot be accessed by this iTunes service. This goes the same for other features including FTP Server, Web Station, Photo Stations, and Surveillance Station. Each of them can only access data within their own designated folder.
This rigidity in folder names and locations might be a bit of a nuisance but once you've gotten used to it, it actually makes sense and helps organize your content better. Also each time you plug in a storage device, either to the eSATA or one of the USB ports, a shared folder will be created for that device automatically.
The Synology DS107+ has an almost embarrassingly long list of features. We can't touch on all of them in the space of this review, so we'll focus on a few we found interesting and potentially useful to the largest audience: Surveillance Station, Photo Station, and Download Station.
The Surveillance Station allows you to connect up to six network cameras to the Synology and is able to make recordings based on either schedules or motion detection. We tested this with the Panasonic BL-C1 camera, and the setup was a snap. The motion detection worked very well, and the quality of the recorded video clips was comparable with, if not better than, most conventional surveillance systems we've seen. Of course, this also depends on the cameras you want to use. The DS107+ has built-in settings for a long list of cameras it supports. Unfortunately, the DS107+ comes with only one camera license, meaning it only supports one camera out of the box. If you want to use more, you'll need to buy additional licenses from Synology, which cost $50 each. Still, this feature lets you create a decent, easy-to-manage surveillance system that costs less than other solutions on the market.
The Photo Station might be the most welcome feature of the DS107+. Each folder stored here can be viewed as a photo album, with thumbnails generated and organized automatically. In order to view this Web album, you need a user account for the DS107+, which lets you also rename the photos, edit captions, and write an introduction for it. The album can also be made available over the Internet. The Photo Station also has a blog function that allows for adding more contexts to the photos and or album. The Web albums it generates looked professional and well organized.
The DS107+ isn't the only network device that can download files on its own. We reviewed the Asus WL-700gE Storage Router that supports BitTorrent. While the Asus' self-download function is very cumbersome to work with, the DS107+'s Download Station brings this feature to the next level. The DS107+ can download multiple files by itself, and it's very easy to add or manage the download URLs within the Web interface. To make matters even more convenient, Synology includes a utility called Download Redirector that you can run on your PC. The app helps you add, organize, and control the download processes that take place at the DS107+. We really like this feature because it allows for downloading large files from the Internet without having to leave a PC on. Unfortunately, the DS107+ can't download files from sites that require authentication, which means it can't be used to download your purchased movie or music files from vendor sites that require you to log in before accessing the downloadable materials. In this case, you will need to download them with a PC and save them on the DS107+ later.
Another original feature of the DS107+ worth noticing is its capability to play music directly to USB speakers, and you can purchase a remote control for this function (another $39.95). The sound quality was decent and should suffice for small rooms and apartments. The DS107+ also supports both Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 as digital media adapter devices. You can browse and stream multimedia contents stored on the Synology Disk Stations to your stereo system and TV set using Sony PS3 or Microsoft Xbox 360.
The DS107+ did well in CNET Labs testing. It was among our top three on our write test with a score of 45.7Mbps. On our read test, it's our current champion at 52.8Mbps. The DS107+ also performed very smoothly throughout our testing process. It worked very quietly and didn't produce a lot of heat like most NAS devices.
In Mb per second (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
|NAS read test||NAS write test|
When doing multiple tasks at the same time (streaming music, recording video, and so on), however, the responsiveness of the DS107+'s Web interface reduced significantly, though it was still acceptable. Also, depending on the size of the photos, the Photo Station can take up to a few minutes to generate thumbnails for new Web albums.
Service and support
Synology backs the DS107+ with a two-year warranty. Its phone technical support is available Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST. At its Web site, you can find user forums, a Wiki page, product manuals, and firmware downloads.