Synology DS710+ 2-bay All-in-1 NAS Server
The DS710+ arrived in a professional looking plain brown cardboard box printed with the Synology name and logo graphics. Details of the product contained within are located on several stickers dotted around the sides of the box, but Synology have avoided printing anything product-specific directly on to the box. Normally I'd take the view that packaging such as this wouldn't really stand out on retailers shelves, but considering that most manufacturers do everything possible to thrust their products in your face, Synology have been quite clever here by making the DS710+ stand out by not standing out.
The simple but effective approach has been continued onto the inner packaging where the main NAS box and accessories have been isolated from each other to prevent any damage during shipping. The accessories box contains items such as the mains cable, RJ45 cable, instructions manual and an installation CD all wrapped up in separate clear plastic bags, whereas the NAS unit has been lovingly wrapped up tightly in a thin polystyrene-type foam.
Overall the DS710+ packaging has a very 'enterprise' feel to it, and despite not being jammed with polystyrene blocks or filled with foam pieces, should still arrive at your door in pristine condition. Now on to the appearance...
Having reviewed a few Synology NAS boxes now on Overclock3D and every single one having been white, it was quite a surprise to see the DS710+ outfitted in black. A quick look at Synology's website seems to reveal that this is a colour normally reserved for the high-end products that mean 'business' (in more than one sense of the word) so hopefully the 710 is going to push out some decent performance figures today.
Starting with the front of the unit there's the obligatory power button and a reset switches just in case the system goes a bit Pete Tong. Sitting between the two buttons is a standard USB2.0 port that can be used to hook up an external storage device or a printer should you want to share either device on the network. 5 LED's tower above the buttons providing visual status indicators for hard disk activity, eSATA activity, LAN activity and a general system status light.
At this point I was quite perplexed about where the hard disks needed to go as most NAS boxes tend to have their removable drive bays situated at the front of the unit for easy access. But not the DS710+, nope they're round the back....
Although this layout is far from ideal in terms of convenience when you're trying to swap out a dead hard disk without accidentally unplugging the NAS, I can only imagine that it had to be done this way due to design limitations with the motherboard used inside the DS710+. If I'm wrong, then Synology need a serious spanking as the only other reason could have been for aesthetics - which should always come at the bottom of the priority list when designing a SOHO / SME product.
A collection of ports is positioned to the left and below the removable caddy area. From top to bottom these are a VGA output (which doesn't seem to do anything), two USB2.0 ports, a Gigabit LAN connection, a PS2-like power connection and an eSATA port for expanding the capacity of the DS710+ by using a (as yet unreleased) DX510 hard disk unit.
The hard disk caddies themselves are formed almost entirely from plastic, which does make them feel slightly tacky. But not to the point where you feel that the quality of the unit has been compromised. Removing them entirely from the NAS gives us our first look at what's to come over the next page.