Saturday, September 23, 2023 β€’ Welcome to the πŸ’― Nonsense-Free Zone!
πŸ›οΈ Check out Today’s πŸ”₯Amazon logoDeals! πŸ›’

Synology BeeDrive Review: A Surprisingly Effective Little Backup Solution

Share what you're reading!

At first glance, the Synology BeeDrive portable SSD, first announced in May 2023, is an odd device. It has nothing to do with what Synology has been known for, a NAS maker.

But after spending my sweet time with it, I realize it's a perfect device for those needing a reliable backup solution, which is everyone, yet still on the fence about having a real network-attached server.

If you find yourself part of that demographic, get the BeeDrive today. At the current price of $199.99 for 2TB, the portable SSD is a steal for what it can do. Or you can opt for the 1TB version, which costs $80 less.

Synology BeeDrive Box Content
The Synology BeeDrive includes a USB-C cable and a USB-A adapter.

Synology BeeDrive: Much more than simply a fast portable SSD

Out of the box, the BeeDrive is as cute as a large button. It's a little square box with rounded corners, sharing the same design as the Crucial X6.

On the inside, however, it hosts an NVMe SSD and features USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) -- it's slated to be much higher performance than any SATA-based portable SSD.

And while the BeeDrive proved to be quite fast in my testing, speed is not its forte -- not the biggest one. But first, let's take a quick look at its hardware specs.

Synology BeeDrive TopSynology BeeDrive Underside
The front and back of the Synology BeeDrive

Synology BeeDrive: Hardware specifications

Synology BeeDrive Thumbnail
Synology BeeDrive
Capacity / Part Number1 TB / BDS70-1T
2 TB / BDS70-2T
Internal StorageNVMe SSD
Product ColorBlack
Dimensions2.56 x 2.56 x 0.59 in
(6.5 x 6.5 x 1.5 cm)
Weight1.52 oz (43.1 grams) 
Copy Speed
(up to)
1,050 MB/s
InterfaceUSB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
(10Gb/s)
Backward CompatibilityUSB 3.2 Gen1/USB 3.0 (5Gb/s), 
USB 2.0
CertificationsRoHS, FCC, CE, BSMI,
VCCI, RCM, KC, UKCA, BIS
SecurityNone
Power UsageUSB Bus Powered 
via a USB-C port
Package Content1x BeeDrive main unit
1x USB-C to C cable
1x USB-C to A adapter
1x Quick start guide
Desktop AppBeeDrive:
Windows 10 and later,
Coming soon on macOS
Mobile AppBeeDrive:
Android and later,
IOS 15 and later
Warranty3-year limited warranty
US Price
(at launch)
$119.99 (1TB) 
$199.99 (2TB)
Synology BeeDrive's hardware specifications
Synology BeeDrive PortSynology BeeDrive with cable
The Synology BeeDrive has a single USB-C port and a tiny white status light.

BeeDrive: The software that changes everything

Out of the box, the BeeDrive is preformatted using the versatile exFAT file system. Consequently, it'll work right away with virtually any platform, like the case of most portable SSDs these days.

You can reformat the drive into any file system, but considering how the drive is supposed to work, there's no point in doing that.

Connect it to a Windows computer, and you'll note that it's preloaded with the installer of the BeeDrive desktop application -- it's a file called "BeeDrive online installer."

And this piece of software changes everything. Effectively, it turns the BeeDrive into a robust backup solution beyond the simple additional storage space it is by default.

Presently, the software only works with Windows, but Synology told me that the version for macOS will be available "soon" via download.

It took me just a few minutes to install and run the software. There's a catch: you must register an account with Synology and log in before the software works. But this login account makes sense -- more below.

Synology and your privacy

Generally, using a piece of hardware that requires a vendor login account is never good -- your privacy is at risk.

On this front, the Taiwanese storage vendor offers this assurance:

"Synology will not collect your private data. We only collect the required device information and crash logs via Firebase to enhance user experience."

Here's Synology's privacy policy.

Once installed and configured, the BeeDrive desktop app automatically runs each time you sign in to the computer -- it's part of the computer's Startup list --, effectively turning the BeeDrive into an automatic, set-and-forget backup solution.

For a desktop computer, the BeeDrive software, which is lightweight and uses little system resources in my trial, offers two solutions for data protection: Backup and Sync.

BeeDrive for Desktop Backup: Simple and effective files and folders backup

The Backup portion of the software is straightforward: you pick a folder or folders on the computer -- or accept the default, which are the important folders of the current user profile -- and it will be backed up to the BeeDrive within a subfolder named after the computer, placed inside the "PC Backup" root folder.

Once the initial backup is completed, the ongoing backup will happen in real time as you make changes to the content.

But there's more. You can filter certain elements out of the backups by file type and file size; or exclude certain subfolders from being backed up. Additionally, you can choose to keep up to five backup versions.

All backup files are stored in their natural state in corresponding folders on the BeeDrive. Consequently, you can restore them by copying and pasting.

If you keep backup versions, each file's older states are hidden to prevent accidental alteration. Still, the restoring process, available only to a single file at a time, is also simple: Right-click on a file and choose "Browse previous versions" to have the option to copy one of the available versions to a new location.

Overall, the backup worked well in my trial with no issues. It's worth noting that BeeDrive doesn't have the option to image the entire system, but you can use it to store the image created by another backup software.

BeeDrive File Backup and Sync BeeDrive Backup Setup
The BeeDrive for Desktop software includes backup and sync functions. Both are well-designed and can retain up to five versions of data.

BeeDrive for Desktop Sync: An excellent offline alternative to Synology Drive

The Sync portion of the BeeDrive for Desktop software works similarly to that of Backup, with a few differences.

First, it doesn't allow for deselecting subfolders from a sync job. When you pick a folder, all of its sub-folders will be included. You can only filter out files based on file types and file size.

And secondly, it allows keeping folders between multiple computers synced up. It reminds me of Synology Drive, a popular app for Synology NAS servers that keeps data backed up and synced across multiple computers.

As a portable drive, the BeeDrive can only work with one computer at a time. So, Sync works like a backup function if you have just one computer. However, when you set the drive up with multiple computers, it syncs the data between them when moved from one machine to another.

Sync worked well in my trial, and the fact that it can only work with one computer at a time, which is generally a shortcoming, can be a good thing. It eliminates the chance of sync conflicts when two people edit the same file simultaneously. It also prevents the quick spreading of corrupted data across multiple computers.

Like the case of Backup, Sync can also retain up to five versions of data, and you can use both Backup and Sync for the same folder or folders on a computer.

BeeDrive mobile app: A practical mobile backup tool

The third thing you can do with the BeeDrive is to back up your phone's content to it.

BeeDrive App
The BeeDrive turns backing up photos and videos from a phone to the portable SSD a walk in the park.

For this to work, you must download the BeeDrive mobile app and sign in with the same account mentioned above -- this login account helps the app find the BeeDrive, so to speak. After that, the backup will work automatically when:

  • The phone is connected to your local network's Wi-Fi.
  • The BeeDrive portable SSD is connected to a computer within the network.
  • The BeeDdrive Desktop app is running on the computer. (It is by default unless you close it or remove it from the Startup list.)

The app is available on Android and iOS, and you can configure it to back up photos (and videos) directly to BeeDrive -- each phone will get its subfolder within the "Mobile Backup" root folder.

I tried this function extensively on several Android phones; it worked incredibly well.

During my testing, the app worked better on Android than on iOS, which I only tried briefly. Note that on iOS devices, each Live Photo will be backed up as two separate files: one for the still image and the other for the animation.

Besides the automatic backup function, the BeeDrive app also has the BeeDrop function, allowing you to send a particular file directly to the portable SSD.

The BeeDrive app is an excellent tool for those needing to quickly get the content off the phone in real time for further production. I used this for the phone used in this review.

On this front, it's a shame that the BeeDrive software won't work without the BeeDrive portable drive. You can't use it to transfer a phone's content to a folder outside the drive. And you can't use the desktop software to sync the "Mobile Backup" folder or any of its subfolders to a computer.

Overall, the BeeDrive software works well. That, coupled with the drive's excellent performance, makes the entire package a pleasure to use.

Synology BeeDrive: Excellent performance

I tested the 1TB version of BeeDrive for almost a week, including using it in real-world applications, and it exceeded my expectations.

Synology BeeDrive Portable SSD Write Copy Performance Synology BeeDrive Portable SSD Read Copy Performance
The Synology BeeDrive's real-world copy performance

Its performance was among the best of USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) portable SSDs, as you'll note in the charts. Secondly, the drive ran cool even during extended and heavy sessions.

And finally, the BeeDrive desktop software and mobile app delivered! Everything worked as expected.

But there was one thing I wished the drive were better: Its storage space. I used up the 1TB in just a matter of days.

BeeDrive: Could use some more storage space

Designed to backup and sync between multiple devices and computers, even the 2TB capacity will run out relatively quickly.

Hopefully, in the future, Synology will release a similar drive with higher capacities or, better yet, open up the Beedrive software to third-party hardware. After all, the software plays a big part in the BeeDrive portable SSD's success.

Synology BeeDrive's Rating

8.9 out of 10
Synology BeeDrive in hand
Performance
9 out of 10
Features
9 out of 10
Design and Setup
9 out of 10
Value
8.5 out of 10

Pros

Fast USB 3.2 Gen 2 performance

Robust and effective personal backup/sync solutions thanks to the well-thought-out BeeDrive for Desktop and mobile app

Compact, practical design; runs cool

Cons

No hardware encryption, no macOS support (yet), no option for system imaging, and users can't exclude subfolders from a sync; the iOS app could be better

The BeeDrive mobile app only works within the local network; the desktop app doesn't work with third-party hardware

Conclusion

At the core, the Synology BeeDrive is a fast, compact, and practical portable SSD. And that alone makes it an excellent buy. And then, the software tops it off with the cherry on top, turning it into a sophisticated yet straightforward and reliable data backup solution.

In a way, the BeeDrive is another testament, in addition to NAS servers, to the fact that the power of Synology lies in its software.

If you don't have a backup solution that you can count on, get a Synology BeeDrive today! After all, data backup is not something that can be left until tomorrow.

Share what you just read!

Comments are subject to approval, redaction, or removal.

It's generally faster to get answers via site/page search. Your question/comment is one of many Dong Knows Tech receives daily. Β 

  1. Strictly no bigotry, profanity, trolling, violence, or spamming, including unsolicited bashing/praising/plugging a product, a brand, a piece of content, a webpage, or a person (β€’).
  2. You're presumed and expected to have read this page in its entirety, including related posts and links in previous comments -- questions already addressed will likely be ignored.
  3. Be reasonable, attentive, and respectful! (No typo-laden, broken-thought, or cryptic comments, please!)

Thank you!

(β€’) If you represent a company/product mentioned here, please use the contact page or a PR channel.

4 thoughts on “Synology BeeDrive Review: A Surprisingly Effective Little Backup Solution”

Hate scrolling? Consider subscribing!
  1. Hey Dong, Thanks for the always detailed review. Can you tell me how this might interact with a diskstation?
    I’m curious if I back up via USB on desktop then plug this guy into a diskstation what the results are.

    Reply
    • It won’t do anything about a server at all, Nate, but you can sync it with a folder on the NAS when plugged into a computer.

      Reply
  2. Hi Dong,
    Another review dealing with modern answers. My wife hated using my Synology NAS (to store her photography), even after I demonstrated it was just a couple of clicks. Got her this, SWMBO’s happy with this & I’m delighted her stickies are out of our backup centre!
    Cheers from a very hot (44C) SW France, Vern

    Reply

Leave a Comment

πŸ“Œ