Following the introduction of its Disk Station DS-409+ NAS, which earned an “Outstanding Product” mark in our review last month, Synology has introduced a slimmed-down version based on 2.5-inch laptop hard drives. Measuring only 4.7 inches by 4.1 inches by 5.6 inches, the DS409slim occupies roughly half the desk space of its bigger brother, while still offering four drive bays for up to 2TB of storage capacity.

Despite the compact size, its hardware specifications are nothing to scoff at. These include a 1.2GHz Marvell processor, 128MB of DDR2 RAM, one Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 2.0 ports, and one eSATA port. The snap-in disk tray requires minimal effort to install and replace disks, which are hot-swappable and can be set up in a variety of configurations including JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 6. It also features DLNA certification and support for UPnP to let users stream multimedia files to compliant set-top boxes and consoles.

Synology has added even more features with its Disk Station Manager 2.1 software, which supports cross-platform data sharing, scheduled power settings, several backup alternatives, and even lets you turn the DS409slim into a 24/7 BitTorrent, FTP, or HTTP download center. Unfortunately its price will probably deter a good number of home users from adopting this neat storage solution, which should be available immediately for about $400 without hard drives.