Having a NAS at home is become more and more of a normal thing. It’s a great private storage solution, and it becomes easy to share media and files among devices in your household. The Synology DS720+ is a good NAS offering if you’ve never set up a NAS before – it’s simple to use thanks to Synology’s straightforward OS, and if you want to upgrade things at a later date, you have some great options at hand.
For slightly more advanced users, there’s enough here to keep them interested as well. Flip over the base to install M.2 drives to improve read/write speeds, or install some of the more advanced apps such as Docker to run virtual machines right off your NAS.
The DS720+ excels at being a central point for all your data and backups across a multitude of devices, and sharing files across your network as well as on the go is very easy to do. For users who’ve run out of storage on popular file storage services, Synology’s own apps allow you to backup files, photos, and more with easy syncing methods. Apps such as Plex are also easy to set up, and you’ll be organizing and streaming your entire media library in record time.
If you’re in the market for more than two bays or want something with faster network connectivity, then there are plenty of other options from Synology that you can cast your gaze at. But if you’re in the market for a straightforward NAS that you can safely tuck away in the corner of your home, then this is definitely one to consider.
Price and availability
The DS720+ is priced at AED 1,970 and is available through DataCare.
That’s a considerable investment to make for a home NAS, without even including the cost of hard drives. The DS720+ is more of an investment rather than a simple off-the-shelf network storage solution. At this price point, it’s important to remember that you’re not just getting a file repository, but also a media server, backup server, and countless other options – depending on what apps you install on it. Yes, it’s expensive compared to other storage solutions on the market, but there’s also a lot more on offer here.
There’s nothing really unique about the DS720+’s design – it looks like any other NAS from Synology’s lineup. At the front you have the LED status indicators, power button, and a single USB port.
You’ll also see the drive bays, which are easy to slide out and are also tool-less for installing 3.5” drives. Just pop the drive into the bay, snap on the side guides, and slot it back into the NAS.
At the rear are dual RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet ports with failover support, another USB port, and an eSATA port. The dual Ethernet is great for anyone setting this up in an environment that will utilize the failover feature, but for normal home use a single Ethernet connection will suffice.
We’re not too bothered about this NAS not having 10GbE ports since there are other more advanced models from Synology that would be a better pick. One thing we would like Synology to consider for future models is to utilize a Thunderbolt or USB 3.2 port for faster transfers to an external drive, or even to connecting to other Synology products instead of through the eSATA port.
Turn the NAS over to the bottom and you’ll find two slots here, which can be used to add two M.2 SSD drives to improve the read and write cache of the NAS. If you install only one drive, then only read speeds are affected – depending on your use scenario you can completely omit installing any cache drives in here, but the option to do so on this model is a good feature to have. It’s also important to point out that the read/write cache really only serves as a massive improvement if you’re using traditional HDDs. If you’re using SSD drives in your NAS, then we’d suggest omitting the M.2 cache drives altogether.
The DS720+ is powered by an Intel Celeron J4125 CPU, with 2GB of DDR4 RAM built in. You can upgrade this further with a 4GB RAM module, and it’s fairly easy to do so by sliding out the drive bays and popping the new memory module into the side slot. But unless you really need the extra RAM for running VMs or running more complex apps, the 2GB will work out just fine.
Synology has pretty much perfected the installation process for any of their NAS. Just slot in your drives, connect your LAN and power, and boot it up.
You can access the web interface directly to go through the easy setup process, which downloads the latest OS version, formats your drives, creates a volume and shared folders, and then plops you into the user-friendly interface. We’ll say it again – Synology’s DSM interface is the most comfortable to use and understand, and even novice users will be able to navigate around and learn what each of the key features are.
We opted to install Plex on this NAS, as well as Docker for running some simple Ubuntu-based network services. Both of these can easily be installed via the Package Center, which offers a healthy selection of applications and beta software for you to install and start running in a few clicks.
There’s also Synology’s own offerings to apps such as Google Docs or Photos, so if you prefer to work with these instead, they’re easy to install and set up. So if you don't want to pay for extra storage for Google Photos as an example, you can switch to Synology Photos instead to manage your image library. You can also enable remote access to your NAS, so you can access your files easily via a PC or your mobile phone.
The performance of the DS720+ will of course depend entirely on the kinds of drives installed in it, as well as whether or not you utilize the M.2 cache drives. For a straightforward, single-drive setup for a home user, the DS720+ does very well, and also leaves room for future expansion and improvements.
We clocked in read/write speeds in Windows of around 100-120Mb/s, which is pretty decent for this NAS. Again, your performance may differ depending on what drives you’re using, but for a single-disk setup this is still very usable for home users. Plex streaming was also excellent, with files taking one or two seconds to scrub through a timeline before resuming again. We watched a mix of FullHD and 4k content through Plex, and all of it was delivered flawlessly to our streaming devices.
Using an M.2 cache drive in the DS720+ proved to be of little difference for our file copying tests, so our advice is you can skip them if all you’re doing is backing up your files at home or streaming content to various devices.
Should I buy the Synology DS720+?
Buy it if…
You want a great home NAS
The DS720+ offers excellent backup and media sharing options, making it the perfect NAS to set up at home.
You’re not worried about storage
If your storage needs are in the realm of 4TB or less, then this NAS will fit the bill. You can slot in larger drives at a later date, or even splurge for Synology’s drive expansion module if you’re setting this NAS up for business use.
Don’t buy it if…
You need faster speeds
For those wanting faster network speeds and more bays, you’ll be much happier with some of Synology’s more advanced offerings.
You’re not ready for the investment
The DS720+ is a pricey investment to make, so if you’re in the market for something cheaper, then consider other basic options from Synology instead.