Synology BeeStation Review: A General Consumer Focused Self Hosted Cloud Storage Device

I recently had the opportunity to review the Synology BeeStation, a simplified network-attached storage (NAS) device aimed at the general consumer. Diverging from Synology’s typical complex offerings for tech enthusiasts and enterprises, the BeeStation offers a narrow feature set that is mostly turnkey.

Check it out in my latest video.

Retailing at around $199 (compensated affiliate link) with no ongoing subscription fees, the BeeStation offers 4 terabytes of storage, packaged in a design that prioritizes simplicity. Setting it up is super simple; just plug it in, scan a QR code, and create an account with Synology. A direct ethernet connection is necessary, but it supports both wired and wireless connections once it’s on your network.

The BeeStation comes with dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. The Windows desktop app, for instance, creates a syncing folder on your computer that mirrors the storage on your BeeStation similar to how Dropbox, OneDrive and iCloud work.

There are two BeeStation mobile apps: BeeFiles and BeePhotos. BeeFiles allows users to browse the synced folder and upload new files. On Android users can edit files and have them save back to the BeeDrive but on iOS it’s view and download only. The mobile app also allows for some administrative functions like initiating backups, etc.

The BeePhotos app supports live photos, on-device AI facial and object recognition, and even raw files, offering a local alternative to cloud-based photo services. While not as feature rich as Apple Photos or Google Photos, the core functionality of those services is present.

The web interface of the BeeStation is equally intuitive, offering access to both files and photos. It provides additional functionalities like file versioning, backups, and the ability to sync or backup to cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. The USB backup feature is particularly important for safeguarding your data on the BeeStation against drive failures. USB drives can also be backed up TO the BeeStation.

I had no issues connecting to the BeeStation from outside of my network. This is even with a locked down router with UPnP disabled. It uses Synology’s QuickConnect technology for outside access through firewalls.

From an administration standpoint, the BeeStation supports up to eight users plus an administrator, which is fine for family use.

One important note is that the BeeStation largely depends on an active Internet connection to work. They do have a “local account” option which allows for accessing the drive on the local network without an Internet connection but does not allow the other users on the drive to access their files. There’s also an option to enable the SMB service for more traditional network access to the device, although with certain limitations compared to Synology’s more robust models.

There have been many attempts by many hardware makers over the years to come up with a simple self-hosted cloud solution. Synology’s effort here is one of the better ones I encountered. Under the hood it’s running the same software as their more robust product offerings but they’ve stripped all of the complexity away for every day users. I still recommend their other NAS devices for techies like me, but for the rest of the world this is a good solution that’ll save money on cloud storage subscription fees.

See my prior Synology videos here to get a feel for what their other products can do.

Disclosure: Synology sent me the product free of charge for this review ahead of its release. Synology is also an occasional sponsor on the channel (I have produced tutorial videos for them) but they did not sponsor this video nor did they review or approve my video before it was uploaded.