Performance Analysis

Transfer speeds over 1Gbps Ethernet were generally very good with Intel's NAS performance tool pitching the DS216play near the top of the graphs in most tests and first place slots in the file copy read speed - just - and also with the photo album test. There's little to be concerned about here, although one issue we did pick up on was a comparatively slow writing speed in some tests - it was slower than the DS215j and DS715 in the file copy test here and in a couple of other tests too.

Synology DS216play Review Synology DS216play Review - Performance Analysis and Conclusion
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Just as our own manual file test that we ran to cross-check the results demonstrated exceptional read speeds, it also showed the DS216play to have mediocre performance when writing folders filled with mixed small files. This could, of course, be down to changes in the OS, which has been tweaked since we reviewed the aforementioned models so we can't pin too much on these results. Power consumption sat at 16W idle and rose to a peak of 19.4W under load.


The fact the DS216play can transcode 4K video, albeit in fairly limited circumstances, is quite an achievement and takes another bite out of the argument that using a small PC is still best if you want maximum flexibility and capability when it comes to streaming and transcoding video. However, that's mostly what the DS216play is about - it's otherwise a comparatively underwhelming upgrade compared to the DS214play, which in addition, offered a front USB port and flash card reader, a one-touch copy button, additional USB 3 port and eSATA port. Thanks to its Intel Atom CPU, it also supports Plex, whereas the DS216play currently does not.

Synology DS216play Review Synology DS216play Review - Performance Analysis and Conclusion
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However, the pricing of the two units does reflect this - the DS214play currently costs around £230 and the DS216play undercuts this by a significant amount at around £200. Thankfully, then, Synology does realise it's offering less in some areas compared to the DS214play and has priced the new NAS accordingly. As such, it doesn't represent a compelling upgrade from the DS214play, which is your best bet if you need the extra ports and features and guaranteed Plex support (albeit without the ability to tap into any hardware-based transcoding still). However, if 4K on-the-fly transcoding is going to be useful to you, then the DS216play is a great choice.

One final thing to consider is offline transcoding - as we mentioned earlier this looks set to be a feature included in the new version of Video Station that comes with DSM6.0. We're not sure yet if this will be a feature available to all of Synology's NAS enclosures or more importantly if they'll all be able to deal with 4K videos offline as well. If they are, then the DS216play might become a little more niche as most of us probably don't need to be able to watch a new video instantly and could wait for it to be transcoded offline before dishing it out to our mobile devices. Even then, though, the DS216play will be able to do this in a shorter time.
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  • Speed
    30 / 35
  • Features
    29 / 35
  • Value
    26 / 30

Score guide
Where to buy

Overall 85%
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October 14 2021 | 15:04