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Review: Synology DS-101 Disk Station

Closing Thoughts

I was impressed with the maturity of the DS-101's software and documentation, and that the box worked well and had complete instructions. The user-interface was well thought out and - despite the couple of glitches I found with Safari - I found it easy and intuitive to use. Native support for OS X was a plus, and the fact that it could act as a print server for all of the machines on my network was appreciated, as was its FTP server capabiliites. The additional features, such as the USB Copy button and the backup utilities, were well enough done, but not that important for the way I use these products.

I was disappointed that the box was not user-extendable, with my personal interest being to install an iTunes server and personal web server. But customization by users is not part of Synology's product plans right now and hacking interest will probably be limited by the DS-101's relatively high cost and limited availability.

But I see the DS-101's main negatives as its high cost and limited availability. With an anticipated U.S. street price of $210, it's more than a 120 GB Linkstation, which I found for as little as $212 as I write this, way more than an NSLU2 (around $75) and significantly more than the $160 Kuro Box.

Note: Just before this review posted, Synology told us that they will also start shipment of the DS-101 with 120 GB drive installed for $280.

Synology says that the DS-101's superior software and features justify the higher price - which could be true for the time being. And the Kuro Box really can't be directly compared, given that it's geared more toward VARs and folks who know their way around Linux configuration files. But more BYOD NAS competition is on the way, including NETGEAR's SC-101 Storage Central, and a NAS Drive kit from ADS, so it will be interesting how long Synology will be able to hold their high price point.

And, at least currently for U.S. buyers, that high price comes with the added challenge of finding one to purchase. According to Synology, their distribution network is currently more developed in "Canada, Europe and most Asian countries". But they've lined up Synnex as a U.S. distributor and e-tail availability through PC Mall should begin sometime in March.

The bottom line is that the DS-101 wins hands-down when compared to the Kuro Box. But consumers will have to judge for themselves whether or not better software and documentation and the ability to BYOD is worth the DS-101's premium price.