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Buffalo Ministation USB 3.0 review


It comes with plenty of software but slow performance means the MiniStation isn’t a particularly great-value disk

Review Date: 7 Jun 2011

Price when reviewed: £70


Reviewed By: Tom Morgan

Our Rating 2 stars out of 5

Buffalo’s MiniStation portable drive is reasonably compact considering it holds a 500GB 2½in hard disk. Its glossy finish picked up fingerprints almost instantly and we weren’t too confident of its durability in the event of a slightly knock or bump.

Like most other portable hard disks, the MiniStation has a 5,400RPM spindle speed. The resulting file transfer speeds won’t take full advantage of the extra bandwidth provided by USB3. This was clearly evident in our file transfer benchmarks, as it was among the slowest of the USB3 disks we’ve tested. Large files were written at a leisurely 44.2MB/s and read at a slightly faster 55.7MB/s. Small file writes were disappointingly slow at just 17.7MB/s, although reads were much more reasonable at 49.3MB/s.

Buffalo Ministation USB 3.0

A small consolation is that Buffalo bundles a whole suite of programs with the MiniStration, designed to speed up file transfers and protect your data. They range from the very useful to the slightly obscure, but there are certainly some highlights. The Backup utility and Secure Lock Mobile program protect your data by creating automatic backups and encrypting them to stop other people from gaining access. A RAM disk utility is a slightly less useful inclusion but it may prove handy if you need to access several large files frequently, such as when editing high definition video.

Considering it costs more than other 500GB portable disks but doesn’t offer better performance, the MiniStation isn’t particularly great value at roughly 12p per gigabyte. The Iomega Prestige Mobile costs £10 less, has a better software suite and is much faster when transferring files.

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