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Synology BeeDrive Review: More than just a pocket-sized SSD

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As files become bigger and bigger, smaller laptops usually come with limited internal storage. With that, owning an external hard drive or even portable SSDs is becoming necessary for most people. Not only will these help save space on your laptop, but you can also bring your files wherever you go even without your laptop.

But aside from laptops, one other device that easily runs out of storage space is your phone. This is especially true if you have a lot of photos, videos, and apps stored on your phone. While there are external storage devices that can connect to your phone, whether it’s Android or Apple, imagine if you can transfer these files wirelessly instead.

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That’s what Synology wants to offer with their new BeeDrive portable storage device. It acts like an SSD, but at the same time, you can transfer files from your phone wirelessly to the device itself. At the same time, it works as a backup and even provides data protection to prevent accidental deletion or overwrites.

Seems practical and perfect right? But it does come with a hefty price tag. For reference, our review unit comes with 1TB of space, and it already costs PHP 8,899, while the 2TB version retails for PHP 14,799.

In this review, we’ll talk about whether you should consider the Synology BeeDrive as your next portable storage device.


Design and Construction

The design of the Synology BeeDrive is relatively simple; even the contents of the box itself. You get the device itself, the instruction manual, a USB-C to USB-C cable, and even a USB-C to USB-A adapter for those that have devices that don’t use USB-C just yet.

The BeeDrive itself is quite compact and lightweight and features a minimalist design. You get the BeeDrive logo at the top center and an LED light at the bottom corner. Arguably it’s one of the smallest portable storage devices I’ve seen next to a USB. Thanks to its size you can even fit it in your pocket, and it won’t take up space like a traditional external hard drive or portable SSD.

While it is light and made of hard plastic, the BeeDrive does feel a bit fragile. Then again, you shouldn’t really drop any portable storage device in the first place since your files might end up being corrupted. So while it can fit in your pockets, I recommend keeping it in a backpack or some other case just to protect it.

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The BeeDrive is quite easy to use since it works just like any portable storage device. Just plug it into your PC, and you’re good to go. It also comes with an installer if you plan to use it as a backup, to sync files, or for transferring files between your phone and the BeeDrive.

You do need to set up a Synology account to fully maximize the BeeDrive and to use the BeeDrive app, and thankfully it’s easy to do. You can even do so by using your Google account.

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In the app, you can check out various parameters of the BeeDrive such as storage space, what kind of files are inside, and the status of the Drive. It also shows you when you last backed up your PC, the last time you synced files, and when you last transferred files from mobile.

But even if you don’t set it up, you can still use the BeeDrive like a regular portable storage device. The transfer speeds are very fast too. From my experience, I was able to average around 150mb/s when transferring from my desktop’s HDD. Meanwhile, the speed does go up to around 520mb/s when copying data from my M.2 SSD.

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This means even if you are copying large files such as A-Roll and B-Roll files for movies, it shouldn’t take too long. The same can be said when backing up files from your computer to the BeeDrive.

But perhaps the best use for BeeDrive is for backing up the files on your phone. After installing the BeeDrive app on your phone, you can automatically sync all your files, photos, and videos. You can even choose not to sync videos if you have a lot of them on your phone to save space on the BeeDrive.

Transferring files from the phone to BeeDrive wirelessly is quite fast too. But, it’s not as fast as the wired connection. Wirelessly backing up 120GB worth of photos and videos from my phone to the BeeDrive took roughly an hour.

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Although I suspect it could be faster if my phone didn’t automatically lock every few minutes. Yes, you do have to keep your phone unlocked and on the BeeDrive app in order for the backup to happen. Do note the BeeDrive also has to be plugged into a PC or laptop in order for the wireless transfer to begin. It’s not a fully wireless drive that can connect to Wi-Fi.

What’s great about using the BeeDrive with your phone is that the file sync and backup are one-way. Meaning even if you delete the files and photos from your phone, you can still have them on the BeeDrive. For comparison, it’s unlike iCloud which is a two-way sync. This means if you delete something on one device it disappears from all other devices as soon as the next sync happens.

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I’ve been using the BeeDrive as my main portable storage device for the past few days, and it’s perfect for me. It works as a portable SSD and as a backup for my phone which is slowly running out of storage space.

As for the price? As we mentioned earlier, this 1TB version of the BeeDrive costs PHP 8,899 (PHP 14,799 for the 2TB variant) which is rather expensive if you compare it to one of the more popular portable SSD’s out there (like the 1TB SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD). But then again, this is not your typical portable SSD. Far from it.

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For the added price you do get the convenience of being able to wirelessly transfer data from your phone to the BeeDrive itself. At the same time, you also have Synology software allowing you constantly back up your PC and sync specific files between your computer and the BeeDrive.

If you don’t need the convenience of Synology’s app and even the wireless transfer feature for smartphones, then this might not be the portable storage device for you. But if you want to make life easier, then you can’t go wrong with the Synology BeeDrive.

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