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Synology DS213air review: NAS with WiFi

It's versatile, but is it any good?

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Introduction

It's perhaps a step too far to say that Synology is synonymous with NAS devices, but it's definitely one of the most popular brands on the market. Synology makes very innovative software, and its products range from low-end entry-level models for a modest price to advanced multi-disk models aimed at the business market. The Synology NAS device we are reviewing today is a little different again, for the DS213air is equipped with a WiFi module.


The DS213air has a white chassis, a colour that Synology typically reserves for its entry-level models that carry the "j"-suffix. When you look at the price tag it's also clear it's not the most high-end model. The standard DS213 costs an average of £250, and this DS213air costs £252, so we're definitely dealing with an entry-level model in Synology terms, only the two-disk DS212j is cheaper at £170.

Synology DiskStation DS213air

Hardware-wise these three models do resemble one another. The DS212j has a 1.2 GHz Marvell Kirkwood MV6281 processor and 256 MB DDR3 RAM. The DS213air has an 1.6 GHz MV6281 with 512 MB DDR3 RAM. The D213 has the same processor as the DS213air, but in the latter it runs at 2 GHz. The DS213 has a more deluxe chassis with hard disk trays, a front USB port, and a memory card reader. The DS213air has a more basic plastic cabinet in which you have the screw the disks into a metal frame. Not as advanced, but also not a problem if you're not planning on moving those disks.

Synology DiskStation DS213air

Generally we like the hardware choices Synology makes, but we're not equally happy with the DS213air that way. The wireless MiniPCIe module is a basic model called the AR5B97 from Atheros, and is single-band with a speed of up to 150 Mbit te halen. That means you really shouldn't expect so much from the wireless performance of the NAS. We had expected more since it's kind of the selling point of this NAS.


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