Synology BeeDrive Pocket Backup Cloud SSD Drive Revealed

The Synology BeeDrive Backup Hub – A New and Unusual Move by the Brand

I have been a follower of Synology for more than a decade professionally and close to double that personally, but when I first saw news of the BeeDrive being revealed in China – I was understandably confused! Synology is arguably the top dog in the world of turnkey NAS. They have an exceedingly well-populated NAS server portfolio, a very well-established storage media range, Several high-class routers and recently added surveillance cameras into the mix too! Nevertheless, when I saw the official Synology BeeDrive External USB SSD, I was very confused! Synology has diverged from its traditional NAS lineup in an attempt to provide a convenient, easy-to-use, and very user-friendly remote cloud alternative solution for personal data storage. This USB Direct Attached Storage (DAS) device arrives with either 1TB or 2TB of storage capacity and supports a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) connectivity. The main focus by Synology here seems to try and eradicate the complexity of a NAS backup drive for a handful of devices, whilst trying to replicate the ease of use and ‘set up and forget’ mentality of small-scale cloud backup services – Ultimately, the BeeDrive aims to make data backup as simple as it gets. With several unique features, it enables users to back up local data with ease, minimizing the need for a NAS or commercial cloud platform (though obviously, they will almost certainly scale it in eventually for longer time storage with a proprietary BeeDrive DSM app no doubt). Initial desktop support is available for Windows OS, with macOS to follow soon, along with compatibility for iOS and Android mobile operating systems at launch. The BeeDrive does not rely on proprietary backup file formats or predefined OS in the way the data is stored, making it even more versatile as it can be used as a cross-platform storage tool. Plus, it facilitates simultaneous backups from both a computer and a mobile device at once, upto 5 devices. So, right now, it sounds like a USB-sort-of-NAS. But isn’t it just an external SSD?

Model BeeDrive 1TB SSD

BeeDrive 1TB SSD

Price $129 (Check Amazon) $199 (Check Amazon)
Connection USB-C
Connection USB-C
Port USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gb/s
Size 65x65x15mm
Weight  43 Grams
Extras USB A-C Cable / USB C-C Cable
Warranty 3 Years
Features Local PC Backup

Local Mobile Backup / BeeDrop

5 Device File/Folder Sync (Simultaneously)

5 Revisions per File

Drive Status and Backup Logs

Incremental / Stop-Start Backups

HEIC to JPEG Conversion Viewing

What Makes the Synology BeeDrive Different from a  Regular External USB 3.2 Gen 2 SSD?

The Synology BeeDrive offers much more than just being an external SSD. While it does share the high-speed data transfer rate and portability of a standard USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C SSD, its unique features differentiate it somewhat:

  • Automated Data Backup: The BeeDrive can automatically back up selected folders from your computer and photos from your mobile devices. This makes it much more than a simple storage device, turning it into a comprehensive data backup solution.

  • BeeDrop: This unique feature allows for easy transfer of files from your phone to your PC over Wi-Fi. This is something not typically found in a standard external SSD.

  • File Sync: Unlike a regular external SSD, BeeDrive can automatically sync specific folders between different computers. It supports both bidirectional and one-way syncs.
  • Real-Time Backup and Versioning: The BeeDrive offers real-time backup of targeted files and folders, maintaining up to five versions per file. This means that you can recover previous versions of your files if needed, a feature usually not available in standard external SSDs.
  • Concurrent Backups: The device allows for simultaneous backups of a computer and a mobile device. Moreover, it supports up to five concurrent device backups.
  • OS Compatibility and Software: The BeeDrive is compatible with multiple operating systems (Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android) and comes with software designed to simplify the user’s data management. This also extends to Photos where supported local OS have preferred formats that are less compatible wth other OS’ (eg HEIC to JPEG)

  • Local Storage + Remote Backup, without Subscription: Unlike some cloud storage services, BeeDrive stores your data locally on the device, with no subscription fees. This contrasts with a regular external SSD, which is simply a storage device without any associated services.

However, it’s worth noting that while the BeeDrive is rich in features, it doesn’t currently support encryption, a security feature that some other external SSDs offer for local storage. This may be a consideration for users who prioritize data security, but as it stands, all traffic to/from the device would appear to be local only.

What IS the Synology BeeDrive? Who Needs It Exactly?

This is a very, VERY good question! If you own a Synology NAS, then what makes this better? And if you don’t own a NAS but DO own an external drive, what makes this superior? Well, as you would expect from Synology, it comes down to the software. With real-time backup capabilities over the local area network AND locally over the 1,000MB/s USB connection, the BeeDrive also maintains up to five versions per file and automatically resumes incremental backup processes when plugged into a host USB device. Additionally, the device ensures that all data is stored in its original format, accessible from any computer with a compatible OS. When backing up mobile content, the BeeDrive operates intuitively (comparable to Google Cloud and iOS Photos) to backup to the local connected BeeDrive. As soon as the device and mobile phone are on the same network, it begins to back up your photos and videos, auto-incrementing based on the current state of the files and the content of your camera roll. It also supports concurrent backups from up to five client devices in original, JPEG, or a combined format. The BeeDrive doesn’t require a subscription plan; your data remains local, stored securely within the device. One of its unique features is BeeDrop, akin to Apple’s AirDrop, which lets you transfer files, photos, and videos from your phone to the BeeDrive over Wi-Fi. However, unlike AirDrop, you are not restricted to a single OS.

The BeeDrive also allows customized local folder-level backups in file syncing. You can synchronize specific folders between different computers, with support for both bidirectional and one-way syncs. It comes with a USB-C-C cable and a USB C-A adapter, so you are not necessarily restricted to USB-C, offers a 3-year warranty, and with regard to pricing the 1TB model is expected to be priced at approximately $129, while the 2TB model is projected to be around $199. Once again. it’s worth noting that the BeeDrive does not currently support encryption, which might be a concern for users prioritizing security. This largely designates the BeeDrive mainly for personal use. Synology originally designed BeeDrive with simplicity and ease of use as the starting point, but if s successful, we will likely see improved functions such as encryption be added to the software in the future.

Synology also explained that the goal of BeeDrive at this stage is like a bee, collecting and saving important data on various devices for individual users. As the data stored on BeeDrive gradually accumulates, the long-term goal in the future is to use computing power, and even introduce AI automatic classification (much like Synology Photos and AI recognition), file pinning/streaming and other functions to create a personal exclusive data center to help users manage scattered and Huge amount of important information. It’s a bizarre little device and a little left field for a brand so deep in the work of networking storage, but much like the previously mentioned Apple Airdrop-like functionality and lower friction setup, there might be a market for a storage device of this scale in 2023. We anticipate this device rolling out in June 2023.

BeeDrive 1TB SSD

BeeDrive 1TB SSD

$129 (Check Amazon) $199 (Check Amazon)

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      26 thoughts on “Synology BeeDrive Pocket Backup Cloud SSD Drive Revealed

      1. It is useful also for technical users in my opinion. Being computer literate doesn’t mean that someone is automatically willing to lose time doing tedious configurations processes. Someone enjoy this, someone else simply don’t. It’s probably true the opposite actually, meaning, technical people can really understand the value behind the software in terms of simplifying your backup flow for both complexity and time/effort. I’m one of these people, who also travel a lot, having a NAS for me would mean either improve my home internet connection ($$$) or bring the nas with me (dear god no plz, what’s the point of having a nas then!?). The only feasible alternative for me is cloud + external portable hdd/ssds. If i can have a smart external sdd (because this is what it is) that simplify things, i’m really happy to pay the price. Another important aspect is that working into an IT company i’ve company laptop and i sold my personal one ’cause i found myself not using it anymore. With such a solution i can work-around limited disk space i’ve on my company machine (we have budget for laptops, we can’t just slap 16tb hdd into it) and also avoid leaving there personal stuff coming from my phone. I’m basically planning to use the laptop just as a router/raspberry, to allow my phone to send data directly to the bee drive.
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      2. Is there already a way to back-up the BeeDrive to a “real” big Synology NAS? The BeeNas is very handy for backing up (massive amounts of ) photos of several Iphones (from tecnical and non-technial users) and centralise them, but the data should go also to a Big nas. Ideally not via a direct USB connection. thx.
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      3. I’m missing the part about syncin this to the nas. Moving off iCloud is difficult for a few reasons, not the least of which is losing easy editing / access. It would be great if this device, or the nas, had control over timings to back up and remove, or ways to star items for retention on iCloud.
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      4. ALL HAIL THE SEA CHICKENS OVERLORDS!!!

        On a slightly more serious note – probably not a device a serious NAS user would buy but it’s nice to see them branching out to a more casual type of user.
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      5. I can see the additional benefit for someone currently making backups with an external SSD-drive, but I doubt that person can see the benefit for himself.
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      6. Regarding iOS back-up and alike – we have that capability now. As soon as I am within my wifi range my iPhone does a versioned and encrypted backup to a Synology NAS, along with any of the family iOS devices. No iOS app needed, it is all native. All you need on the ‘server’ side is a device somewhere on your network running iMazing. Simple.
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      7. Oh yeah, Synology has been leaning hard into fitting 10Gbit USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports on their NASes… or not at all. So you need a client in order to import at full speed and that only works with dedicated software that is unique to Synology. I guess we now know why Synology has been adding additional USB controls on DSM. Most of them have been latent for now but we all know where the next vendor-lock is coming.
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      8. If this doesnt auto sync with DSM and my NAS as a portable, deep six, that I can hide in moms closet as an offsite last resort 6 month backup option … then … whats the point? Just being made and sold by Synology as a USB drive isnt really their lane, there are better, cheaper options for single backup solutions.
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      9. I reckon they should slightly alter the design… If they allow you to add your own HDDs to maximize storage, and maybe throw in a cheap server and network interface into the box, so you don’t have to bring your own, I think they’ll be onto a winner for network backups.
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      10. Yeah, I’m also having a hard time trying to understand the use cases for this here. While some of the features are nice to have, they have been available as part of the major operating systems for years – or at least can be arranged separately for free or for very cheap – and for that price you can find much better deals of larger drives from reputable brands such as SanDisk. Having some of that stuff automated is nice for the computer illiterate folk out there but again, none of this is rocket science and anyone motivated enough to actually keep a backup probably can figure out Time Machine or Windows Backup so I wonder who exactly is the audience that Synology is targeting with this.
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      11. Waste of time and money. The software is and has been built into the PC and Mac for years, plus you can purchase a larger capacity and cheaper ssd online. what void is Synology trying to fill? Thanks, but no thanks. ????????
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