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Synology BeeStation review: a personal cloud to backup photos from family devices

Today, Synology is releasing the BeeStation to the market. While the device was available in Asia earlier this year, this marks the first time it's available to the entire world. Specifically, this is referred to as model BST150-4T, but we'll call it the BeeStation for the remainder of the review.

So what is the BeeStation? At its most basic, it's a single hard drive inside of an enclosure that, once setup, allows you to access the data from anywhere in the world, but keeps all of your data self hosted. Think of it like a personal Google Drive. In addition to normal files, the BeeStation focuses heavily on pictures, and has some AI capabilities to help categorize photos automatically.

While you can do the same thing with other Synology NAS devices, the BeeStation aims to make the entire process simple by removing a lot of configuration options you'd get with the various DiskStation models.


The BeeStation has modest specs, sporting a single 4TB hard drive, 1 GB of DDR4 RAM, and a Realtek RTD1619B processor.

Picture of the back of the Synology BeeStation showing the Ethernet jack power and USB ports

The device has a single 1GbE port, a single USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port (5Gbit), and a single USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 port (5Gbit).

CPU Realtek RTD1619B
Memory 1 GB DDR4
Disk Capacity 4 TB (Synology HAT3300)
Network 1 RJ-45 1 GbE
USB Ports 1x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbit), 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbit)
Size (H/W/D) 5.8 x 2.5 x 7.7 inches / 148.0 x 62.6 x 196.3 mm
Weight 1.8 pounds / 820 grams
Warranty 3 years
Price $199

There's a power button and a reset button on the back, and a single activity light on the front.

Noticeably missing is a Kensington lock, something that's been standard on NAS devices for many years. I suspect that, being a dedicated home device, Synology didn't see the need to include one.

Photo of the bottom of the Synology BeeStation

The BeeStation does not include a user-replaceable hard drive as the device has no exposed screws. This makes for a sleek look, but means that users cannot upgrade the system themselves. I'm not sure what this means when the drive dies, but I assume Synology will end up shipping a new unit if still under warranty.

Hardware Installation

The BeeStation was designed to be easy to set up and start using immediately. As such, the hardware installation is a breeze as there's nothing to do other than connect an Ethernet cable to the RJ-45 port, connect the external power adapter to the device, plug it into the wall, and push the power button. The hard drive comes pre-installed, so there's nothing else for the user to do.

Initial Setup and Configuration

As with the hardware installation, the initial setup of the BeeStation is extremely easy. Simply scan the included QR code with your phone and follow the steps provided on the screen. All of the setup work is handled automatically, mainly due to the fact that you have no control over the disk layout, don't need to install any packages, and you can even login with a Google account if you don't want to create a new one specifically for the BeeStation.

After the initial setup is done, you can access the device at any time by going to and logging into the Synology account you created during setup.

Configuration screen on the BeeStation showing how to enable local user and SMB

Of note, given this is a cloud-based device, your main access will be via the cloud. However, in the System Settings section, you can enable a local account that can be used in case the BeeStation loses Internet access. This is also required if you want to use SMB, the only filesharing option available on the device.

Also, since this is technically an IoT device given its "access anywhere" capabilities, some may decide they want to put the BeeStation on a separate network segregated from their other systems, which is something you can easily do with the Synology RT6600ax router, for example.

The final step you'll probably want to do is to invite friends and family members to use the BeeStation. Doing so is as easy as clicking the "Invite User" button, and then either sending them an invite link manually, or letting the system send them an email. When they receive the link, they're required to create a Synology account (or link it through their existing Google or Apple account), and then are prompted to download the BeePhotos and/or BeeFiles app.


Unlike a typical NAS device that you can configure to provide services like Plex, Docker containers, and the like, the BeeStation is designed to provide most functionality through applications, specifically BeePhotos and BeeFiles. Note that for this review, I was testing the apps on Android.


If you've ever used Synology Moments or Synology Photos before, you'll feel right at home in BeePhotos as they appear to be the same application with only a few minor tweaks. There's both a web and mobile version, and while both are similar, you'll obviously need the mobile version to automatically send your photos to the BeeStation. You can configure when the backups are conducted (e.g.: only when charging, only when on WiFi), as well as what you want to backup.

Once the files are uploaded to the BeeStation, the device scans the images and groups them. The default groupings I saw were People, Subjects, Places, Tags, Videos, and Recently Added. Within a group, the device uses AI to try and identify similarities, such as faces as specific Subjects, such as Animals and Cats. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like Synology has added the ability to identify your own pets, for example, and instead lumps them all together. This is unfortunate, since it does a good job picking up people's faces.

Screenshot showing merging faces in Synology BeePhotos

Speaking of identifying people, although it finds the faces well, it does a terrible job of grouping the faces together. You can manually do this on the web by selecting "Merge People," then selecting all of the faces that should be lumped together. However, there appears to be a bug in the mobile app because, while you can select the faces, there's no final "Merge" button after you do so. This was one of a few differences between the web and app, something I have to believe Synology will fix over time.

A cool feature is the ability to create Conditional Albums. With this, you can make virtual albums based on who is in the photo, where or when the photo was taken, keywords, and the like. It doesn't make a copy of the photo, but is instead a way to group photos together. For example, maybe you want an album that contains all of the pictures of your children that were taken at Grandma's house on Christmas. With a few clicks on the web, you can do that, and then share the album with friends and family. However this is another instance where the web version has functionality that the app does not as there's currently no way to create a Conditional Album within the Android app.

Screenshot showing how to share an album in Synology BeePhotos

Finally, you can share any album you want by clicking the album and selecting "Share." You're given a link you can send to anyone you want, and you can optionally add a password and an expiration date.


This app basically makes the BeeStation your own personal DropBox, without the onerous terms of service of online fileshare companies. You can upload and download files via your mobile app, or can download the BeeStation application on your desktop and have a specific folder sync to the BeeStation.

Screenshot of Synology BeeStation configuration on the Windows desktop

Unfortunately, at least for now, you're limited to only a single path on your desktop PC. It might be nice to have multiple folders sync to separate locations on the BeeStation in the future. That said, I get the feeling based on the lack of BeeFiles features in general that the company is tailoring the device towards photo management and that the general files are more of an afterthought at this point.


While the BeeStation does what it says it will do very well, there are some limitations.

I went into this review thinking the BeeStation would be a great way to centralize my family's photos from our various mobile devices, giving us the ability to see everyone's photos in one place. Unfortunately, the product does not currently have that option. While you can invite up to eight friends and family to use the device, everyone has their own space on the BeeStation, and nobody can see anyone else's files. I was hoping that, while on our recent trip to Disney World, I could have all photos sent to a Disney album that I created using the Conditional Albums, but the closest you can get is to have each member create a password-protected album and share it to the Internet. While this is a great standard setup, the option should exist to allow sharing between family members on the device.

Picture of the Synology BeeStation from 45 degrees up showing the top and the beeStation logo as wel

The BeeStation only has a single drive, so if when it crashes, you'll end up losing all of your data and the system will be down until you get it replaced. Unfortunately, backups can only be sent to either Synology's own C2 cloud, or to a disk connected via USB. There's no option to, for example, send the data to another Synology NAS in your house, which is a big omission in my opinion.

While the BeeStation allows you to stream video files that you've uploaded, there's no dedicated video app and there's no video transcoding to help reduce the size of the files. That's not a big deal in my opinion, since the device isn't being marketed as a video streamer, but it's worth noting.

It's strange in today's day and age that the web version of the BeePhotos application has more features than the mobile version. Not being able to create Conditional Albums or to Merge people together seems strange, although for the latter, the merge option exists but is missing the final "Done" button to complete it.

I'm hoping that, since this is still a version 1.0 product, Synology will continue to update the product to make it more feature-rich.


The BeeStation is an interesting device that fits a specific niche, and it does a lot of stuff right. The system is probably one of the easiest devices I've ever setup in my life, and is something that anyone, regardless of technical skills, would be able to implement. It's also easy to have photos automatically uploaded and be able to share those albums with friends and family via password-protected links so that grandparents can see what's going on in their grandchildren's lives, for example. The BeeStation is unobtrusively small and nearly silent, so can be placed anywhere, although it is lacking WiFi capabilities so has to be near a switch. There's very little to configure and is very close to just plug-and-play.

Unfortunately, it's not exactly the product I expected when I went into the review although the foundation for a great product is there, and all of the shortcomings can be easily addressed with software. The lack of backup options to anything other than an attached disk or Synology's C2 is a major failure, but I'm told the product team is looking into adding this. The biggest issue, in my opinion, is that the device can't be used as a central repository for family photos. Barring sending all photos (since you may not want everyone seeing some... sensitive... photos if you're into that sort of thing), you should at least be able to have family albums, like when on vacation, that everyone can contribute to. Finally, if you're technically savvy, you're probably better off installing Synology Photos on a Synology NAS device instead. While it'll be more expensive and a little more work to set up and manage, it'll also have more functionality.

Considering the BeeStation is a new product, I suspect the team at Synology will be looking at the reviews and reader comments to help them decide what features are worth prioritizing in the device going forward. At only $199, it's a good product for a personal cloud if the noted limitations aren't an issue for you.

    Synology BeeStation
    Easiest setup ever Great concept for family sharing Small footprint and almost silent operation Synology Photos and Files in an appliance Easy to share files and photos with people
    Backup only to external connected drive or to C2 No hard drive redundancy and can't field replace No way to centrally manage everyone's files App missing features of the web
    March 6, 2024


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