When is a NAS drive not a NAS drive? Perhaps when it doesn’t include any onboard storage.

In every other respect though, the Synology USB Station 2 ticks all the boxes for a regular NAS drive, and plenty more too with so many facilities, even though all its storage sits outside the box on USB flash sticks or USB hard disks. With two USB ports on the rear of the Synology USB Station 2, you can either connect two separate storage drives, or optionally connect USB printers.

It’s a compact white and grey plastic box about the size of a hamburger, but somewhat squarer. Inside the Synology USB Station 2 is a small 800MHz processor with 128MB RAM, which runs Synology’s latest operating system, DiskStation Manager 3.0 (also known as DSM 3.0).

With the help of DSM 3.0’s comprehensive OS-like graphical interface, accessed through a web browser, you can set up a multitude of access possibilites for your storage.

Synology DSM 3.0

Synology's latest firmware for its NAS devices, DSM 3.0, looks more like a modern Linux operating system. It's easily accessed through a web browser

Setup is quite straightforward. For Windows, a program on the supplied CD helps you find the device on your network the first time, after which you configure through your web browser. For Macintosh, there’s a similar app, or you can find the NAS in Safari with the help of the NAS’ Bonjour zero configuration broadcasting.

Folder shares can be set for individuals, or you can simply allow universal read/write access for any guest you cares to connect to the server over the network.