The USB Station 2 doesn't have as many advanced features--such as the Surveillance Station, Photo Station, or the ability to handle RAID configurations--as do full-size NAS servers from Synology, like the DiskStation DS410. Nonetheless it has plenty of other features and also supports Apple's Time Machine.
The two features that you wouldn't expect to find in a NAS of its size, but that you will find here, are the ability to stream digital content to all UPnP- and DLNA-compliant streamers, and a Download Station that allows for PC-less downloading.
The USB Station 2's Download Station allows the server to download files from the Internet by itself and to download files from Web sites that require authentication (such as RapidShare). It also supports BitTorrent file-sharing services. You can manage your download anytime from anywhere via the local network or the Internet. This is an excellent feature for those who want to download large files, as no computer needs to be running, other than the NAS server itself, during the downloads.
If you want access to the NAS server's storage via the Internet, the USB Station 2 also has a feature called File Station. Before you can access it via the Internet, however, you'll first need to set up a dynamic domain name system (DDNS) connection. The USB Station 2 supports a long list of free DDNS hosts, and you can even register for an account from within its Web interface.
Once set up, the File Station allows you to access data from the NAS server's share folder over the Internet. You can download a single file or a whole folder to the remote computer, and you can also upload files to the NAS server. Multiple users can use this feature at a time, from different locations.
The USB Station 2 uses Synology's Disk Station Manager, which offers an excellent Web interface; it works very much like the interface of an operating system, such as Windows or Linux.
To our disappointment, the USB Station 2 didn't deliver when it comes to performance. We tested it with multiple USB external hard drives, and its performance was consistently below our expectations with just 55.1Mbps and 99.6Mbps for write and read, respectively.
To put this in perspective, the DiskStation DS410, a full-size NAS server from Synology, scored 279Mps for write speeds and 422.6Mbps for read speeds.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
Synology backs the USB Station 2 with a two-year warranty from the date of purchase. Phone tech support is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. At its Web site, you can find Synology's forum, download software and the latest firmware, and get more information about its products from a Wiki page.