One of the great novelties that the DSM 7 update brought with it, beyond backup enhancements and different business management options, it is definitely Synology Photos. The update with new features came just after the end of unlimited storage in Google Photos.
We have been testing the new Synology Photos ever since, as a replacement for Google Photos for backups and as a combination of private cloud with public cloud options to access and share our photos on and off our network. Is it worth it as a substitute for Google Photos? Yes and no.
Although the Synology application is quite interesting, before going to see what it offers, you have to take into account several things. The first, and most important, is the investment you require in hardware to be able to use it. You will need to purchase a NAS and associated disks, a cost that far exceeds that of cloud storage services for several years.
It is true that a NAS it is something more powerful than a kind of photo backup, and the options that Synology offers are impressive if you are a user of any of their systems. And we are not just talking about backups.
Therefore, using Synology Photos is more an interesting option for those who already have a NAS of the brand or for those who want to get one for different issues. Investing in a team of these characteristics just to make backup copies of the photos seems difficult to recommend, no matter how impeccable its application is.
And it is that indeed the new Synology Photos is a real wonder to make backup copies of our photos. Although with some buts. With Synology Photos we gain good options for backing up, sharing and accessing photos, but we lose all the editing options offered by systems like Google Photos.
Simple configuration and backups from mobile
Activating Synology Photos on the NAS is very simple, we will only have to download the app from the Synology package manager and do the same with mobile apps in both the App Store and Google Play. Then follow the steps, configure it and that’s it.
Here is one thing to keep in mind. Like iCloud and Google Photos, Synology Photos has its own library management. That is to say, that even if you already use a NAS you will not be able to use Synology Photos with your own folder layout, since the application automatically copies the photos uploaded to your photos directory within the shared folder system of the NAS.
That is, we will not be able to use our own distribution, and we will have to delegate all photo management to the Synology system. This means that the first time we use the service, the application will make a copy of all our photos on its own system. Therefore discarding the hierarchy of own folders for a typical one of year> month> day. We can always create new folders from the application itself, but the library is our own and has its own internal management system.
And ready. Once configured everything goes smoothly. The application will index and copy our photos and make the backup automatically. In itself, Synology Photos does not have much mystery: it allows a view in folder format or in the form of a timeline, identical to Google Photos or iCloud Photos. In this sense, those are the main options: view the photos, view their EXIFs, ordinances or share them. Nothing more.
No editing tools in Synology Photos, but with a great image sharing system
The sharing tools are quite comprehensive, allowing us to share albums with other users within Synology or launch public shared albums for our contacts who do not have a NAS. Including, as always, the usual with the company’s tools: an option to share entire albums publicly password protected. Also within the local network through AirPlay or Chromecast.
It also includes some automatic options, such as facial recognition, albums of people and places or automatic tags, but in our tests it is not as efficient in the people section as the aforementioned Apple or Google services. An interesting addition, but nothing to write home about.
The truth is that both backups and viewing photos is fast and efficient. Although there are some problems, even with the latest DSM updates, it is an interesting suite in terms of having a backup of photos, but advanced users will miss editing tools.
Automatic uploads from iPhone, iPad and Android apps
Another thing to keep in mind is for iOS users to back up files. HEIC can occasionally encounter an upload error when converting images is activated, but it is an infrequent error. And knowing that the originals of our device do not touch, we can always upload them again
Synology Photos is, in short, a good tool to replace Google Photos or iCloud as a backup system if we already have a Synology NAS, but for those who are not users of the company’s system. Maybe the price to pay is too high for a photo viewing, copying and sharing system, no matter how much the application is totally free.