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Synology Network Video Recorder NVR216 Review

  • 06 min read
  • 30 Dec, 2015
Synology Network Video Recorder NVR216 Review
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The Synology Network Video Recorder NVR216 is a compact surveillance solution perfect for offices and retailers with limited space. The NVR216 includes a HDMI port which can be used with an external monitor or TV without the need for a PC. The NVR can hold up to 2 storage drives internally and capable of expanding up to a total of 7 drives with the inclusion of the DX513 expansion unit.

Out of the box, it supports over 4,000 camera models. In addition, the NVR216 also supports ONVIF. The number of camera licenses and cameras that can be monitored depends on the NVR216 version you get (4 channel vs 9 channel). Our review is based on the 9 channel model with a supported camera and an unlisted camera which supports ONVIF.

Additional images courtesy of Synology:

CPU CPU Model: Embedded NVR SoC
CPU Architecture: 32-bit
CPU Frequency: Dual Core 1.0 GHz
System Memory 1 GB DDR3
Storage Drive Bay(s): 2
Maximum Drive Bays with Expansion Unit: 4
Supported Drive Types: 3.5" SATA III / SATA II HDD & 2.5" SATA III / SATA II HDD
Capacity Maximum Internal Raw Capacity: 16 TB (8 TB HDD x 2)
Maximum Raw Capacity with DX213 Expansion Unit: 32 TB (8 TB HDD x 4)
Maximum Raw Capacity with DX513 Expansion Unit: 56 TB (8 TB HDD x 7)
Maximum Single Volume Size: 16 TB
External Ports 2 x USB 2.0 Port
1 x USB 3.0 Port
1 x eSATA Port
1 x RJ-45 1GbE LAN Port
Video Output HDMI X 1
Audio Input 3.5 mm Stereo Audio Jack x 1
Audio Output 3.5 mm Stereo Audio Jack x 1
Size (Height x Width x Depth) 165 mm x 100 mm x 225.5 mm
Weight 0.9 kg
NVR216 (4CH Version) Maximum Channel Number 4 (including 4 Free License) 
Total FPS (H.264)* 120 FPS @ 720p (1280x720), 4 Channels
120 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080), 4 Channels
50 FPS @ 3M (2048x1536), 4 Channels
30 FPS @ 5M (2591x1944), 3 Channel
Total FPS (MJPEG)* 90 FPS @ 720p (1280x720), 4 Channels
40 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080), 4 Channels
10 FPS @ 3M (2048x1536), 1 Channels
10 FPS @ 5M (2591x1944), 1 Channel 
-OR-
NVR216 (9CH Version) Maximum Channel Number 9 (including 9 Free License) 
Total FPS (H.264)* 270 FPS @ 720p (1280x720), 9 Channels
90 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080), 9 Channels
50 FPS @ 3M (2048x1536), 5 Channels
30 FPS @ 5M (2591x1944), 3 Channel
Total FPS (MJPEG)* 90 FPS @ 720p (1280x720), 9 Channels
40 FPS @ 1080p (1920×1080), 4 Channels
10 FPS @ 3M (2048x1536), 1 Channels
10 FPS @ 5M (2591x1944), 1 Channel
Video Compression Format MJPEG
MPEG-4
H.264
Audio Codec PCM
ADPCM
G711
G726
AMR
AAC
Noise Level 19 dB(A) 
Scheduled Power On/Off Yes
Power Supply Unit / Adapter 60W 
AC Input Power Voltage 100V to 240V AC
Power Frequency 50/60 Hz, Single Phase
Power Consumption 14.14 W (HDD Access)
5.09 W (HDD Hibernation)

Review Configuration

As outlined in our other article, this is the configuration which will be used to test our surveillance equipment. The D-Link DCS-2330L is listed as a supported model whilst the DCS-4602EV PoE camera is not. The DCS-4602EV is however ONVIF compliant.

NVR216 Installation

Installation of the NVR216 hardware was pretty straight forward and no different to other Synology NAS units we have reviewed. If you are connecting to an external display, you will also need a keyboard and mouse. On first boot you are guided through the software setup process.

On first boot you are guided step by step through the setup
On first boot you are guided step by step through the setup
The NVR216 is setup with the latest updates
The NVR216 is setup with the latest updates
One of the first tasks during the setup process is to assign a user and password
One of the first tasks during the setup process is to assign a user and password
Setup progress
Setup progress
One click away from login
One click away from login
You have the option to start installing Surveillance Station now
You have the option to start installing Surveillance Station now
The NVR216 is ready for login
The NVR216 is ready for login
You can install Surveillance Station via the packages later if you didn't install during the setup process
You can install Surveillance Station via the packages later if you didn’t install during the setup process

Surveillance Station

The Synology Surveillance Station lets you manage your camera environment through a user friendly interface. You can access the software via a web browser on any device on the same network or directly if the NVR216 is connected to a monitor via HDMI. Adding both cameras was a straightforward process.

Surveillance Station Home Screen
Surveillance Station Home Screen
Adding a camera via a setup wizard
Adding a camera via a setup wizard
Auto search will detect any supported cameras on the network. Note that the DCS-4602EV was not listed here as a supported camera
Auto search will detect any supported cameras on the network. Note that the DCS-4602EV was not listed here as a supported camera
The DCS-4602EV is however found on autosearch for ONVIF compatible cameras.
The DCS-4602EV is however found on autosearch for ONVIF compatible cameras.
Camera particulars are entered and the connection can be tested before continuing
Camera particulars are entered and the connection can be tested before continuing
Addition recording options that are available including archiving of footage
Addition recording options that are available including archiving of footage
Both cameras have successfully been added to the Surveillance Station
Both cameras have successfully been added to the Surveillance Station

Once the cameras were added and confirmed working, other aspects of the Surveillance Station were explored. I initially encountered a number of issues in trying to get the plugins to play nice with web browsers running on OS X El Capitan and used FireFox on a Windows 10 machine but later resolved the issue by downloading and reinstalling the Safari plugin.

NVR216 Safari Plugin Required
NVR216 Safari Plugin Required
Surveillance Station running fine on OSX with Safari after plugin installation
Surveillance Station running fine on OSX with Safari after plugin installation
Viewing live footage on the Surveillance Station
Viewing live footage on the Surveillance Station
Using the timeline view option on the Surveillance Station
Using the timeline view option on the Surveillance Station
Displaying the list of recordings stored on Surveillance Station
Displaying the list of recordings stored on Surveillance Station
Playing back an older recording
Playing back an older recording

DS cam

DS cam is a handy little mobile application Synology have released for iOS and Android that lets you access live feeds and recordings. It also supports push notifications and 2-way conversation if the camera supports it.

DS cam for iOS
DS cam for iOS

 

Logging into the NVR216
Logging into the NVR216

 

Listing of configured cameras on the NVR216
Listing of configured cameras on the NVR216

 

Live view of all cameras
Live view of all cameras

 

Listing of all recordings available for playback
Listing of all recordings available for playback

 

Playing back an older recording on the iPhone
Playing back an older recording on the iPhone

Final Thoughts

The Synology NVR216 is an easy to install, compact and sleek little unit that businesses would find extremely useful if they were wanting to install surveillance equipment. Adding and managing cameras was extremely simple via the supplied Surveillance Station software. We did run into browser compatibility issues on the Apple OS but a quick flick over to Windows and it seemed to be fine. There is of course the option to manage the environment via a direct connection to an external display which removes any of the dependency issues with the desktop.

Overall, we were happy with the unit’s performance and it was definitely worthy of inclusion in our little surveillance setup.

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