Designed for home use, the Synology DiskStation DS419slim ($329.99) is small enough to take along on the road, but don’t let its diminutive size fool you. This four-bay network-attached storage device is packed with powerful hardware and offers plenty of features, including dual LAN ports with link aggregation, Synology’s excellent DiskStation Manager operating system, and a huge catalog of Synology and third-party apps. It’s an excellent choice for a personal NAS, but if you require lots of storage, its bigger and more expensive sibling, the DiskStation DS1019+, is still your best bet.
Small and Mighty
If the DS419slim looks familiar, that’s because it uses the same tiny black enclosure as the DS416slim that we reviewed back in 2017. At 4.7 by 4.1 by 5.5 inches (HWD) it’s small enough to fit in your hand and light enough (23 ounces without drives) to carry around in a small travel bag. The front of the device has six LED indicators, including two LAN activity LEDS (one for each port) and four drive activity LEDs (one for each drive).
There’s also a USB 3.0 port for connecting to external drives. On the left side of the enclosure is a Status LED and power button, and around back are four removable, hot swappable drive sleds, a secondary USB 3.0 port, two gigabit Ethernet ports that support link aggregation, and a power jack. One of the DS419slim’s limitations is that it only accepts 2.5-inch drives, whereas other NAS models typically accommodate 2.5- and 3.5-inch drives. The other limitation has to do with capacity: The DS419slim maxes out at 20TB (total storage). Granted, that’s more than adequate for most home users, but if you’ll be storing lots of video, music, and other large blocks of data, you may want to consider a model such as the DS1019+, which can accommodate up to 140TB of storage when used with an expansion unit. No matter which device you choose, you’ll have to provide your own drives.
The DS419slim is powered by a Marvell Armada 1.33GHz dual-core CPU and 512MB of RAM. RAID capabilities include Basic, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6, RAID 10, JBOD, and Synology’s own Hybrid RAID (SHR). The drives use the ext4 file system and are kept cool by a single 60-by-60-by-10-millimeter fan, which is extremely quiet.
The DS419slim uses the same DiskStation Manager (DSM) NAS operating system as other Synology devices, including the DS1019+ and the DS418Play. It has a Windows-like desktop with icons for Control Panel, File Station, Package Center, and Help. Off to the right is a System Health window that shows you your current CPU and RAM usage. You can use the Control Panel to assign user rights, create shared folders and user groups, configure network-security settings, see which services are running, and enable QuickConnect, which lets you access the NAS from anywhere. In File Station, you can read, search, and move files, modify file structures, edit file attributes and privileges, and share file links.
The Help menu offers tutorials and lets you search for specific help topics. Tap the Main Menu button in the upper left corner to access the Storage Manager utility, which is where you create and delete volumes, monitor drive health, create a storage pool, and configure hot spare drives.
The Package Center contains more than 100 downloadable apps to help you take full advantage of the DS419slim’s many capabilities. There more than 40 Synology branded apps, including those for backup, media server, RADIUS, VPN, Mail, and Proxy Server, along with Synology’s Surveillance Station, which lets you use the NAS to manage your IP cameras. There are also more than 60 third-party apps available including WordPress, Tomcat web server, Apache Server, TV Mosaic (a personal video recorder app), and a host of other development tools, backup applications, collaboration apps, and content-management applications.
Our review unit came configured with four Seagate 480GB Ironwolf 110 solid-state drives, and as was the case with the DiskStation DS119j and the DiskStation DS218j, the DS419slim was easy to install. I started by connecting the NAS to my router using the included LAN cable, powered it up, and using a connected PC, typed http://find.synology.com in my browser address bar. The NAS was immediately recognized and I clicked Connect. This launched a screen where I was prompted to create an administrative account and password. After a few seconds I read through a quick tutorial and the setup was complete. Next, I created a Quick Volume and configured it using SHR RAID, which gave me a total storage capacity of 1.28TB. I had to wait several hours for the drives to pass a parity check, after which I created a shared folder for testing the device’s file-transfer performance.
The DS419slim delivered relatively quick file-transfer speeds in our testing, in which we use a 4.9GB folder containing a mix of music, video, photo, and office document files to measure NAS read and write performance. Its score of 87MBps on the write test was faster than the four-bay Asustor AS1004T and the four-bay QNAP TVS-463, but not quite as speedy as its bigger, more powerful five-bay sibling, the DiskStation DS1019+. The DS419slim also scored 87MBps on the read test, once again beating the Asustor AS1004T and the TVS-463, but not the DS1019+.
It’s worth noting that the DS419slim was tested using much faster 2.5-inch solid-state drives as opposed to the traditional platter-based 3.5 SATA drives used in the Asustor, the QNAP, and the DS1019+ devices.
Excellent Personal or Home Office NAS
Despite its small size, the Synology DiskStation DS419slim is a powerful home and personal four-bay NAS that can be pressed into service in any number of ways, including as a backup, media, or mail server, or as an IP camera management system. It’s a fast performer and a cinch to install, and it runs cool and quiet. It’s a great choice for a personal or home office NAS, but keep in mind that it will only accept 2.5-inch drives and has a maximum storage capacity of 20TB. If you think you’ll need more storage somewhere along the line, consider our Editors’ Choice, the five-bay DiskStation DS1019+. It’s almost twice the cost of the DS419slim, but it can handle up to 140TB of storage and offers advanced features including two M.2 NVMe SSD slots and embedded 4K video encoding.