Buffalo MiniStation Pro review

£68
Price when reviewed

A few of the drives on test this month offer physical protection features – the Transcend, for instance, is designed to handle a bit of abuse – but the MiniStation Pro from Buffalo is different in that it offers extensive software-based security measures.

The drive will automatically encrypt the data stored on it so that if the disk is lost or stolen, your private and potentially sensitive data will be protected from prying eyes. It uses AES 128-bit encryption and a password to protect access.

While it may be secure, the Buffalo isn’t the best looking or most practical drive we’ve seen this month. At 23mm it’s one of the thickest portable drives on test here and, aside from the stylish Iomega eGo, it’s also the heaviest in this group at 225g. Both of these factors could prove to be important if you’re going to carry your drive around in a pocket.

The included mini-USB to USB cable should be a neat addition – there’s a channel running around the side of the drive to clip the cable into, rather than leave it dangling awkwardly – but the overall impression is clumsy rather than stylish and neat.

Our tests also showed the Pro’s performance is nothing to write home about. The MiniStation was firmly in the lower half of the table, with the 50MB file taking 1.7 seconds to read and two seconds to write. It was a similar story with the 100MB file collection. The write test took 22.5 seconds to complete, and the read test 5.8 seconds – placing it in the lower half again.

But performance is not the reason why the Buffalo lags behind this month. It’s the price that really puts paid to its chances. At a whopping 39.5p per gigabyte, it’s 44% dearer than the next most expensive drive.

Specifications

Capacity 160GB
Cost per gigabyte 39.5p
Hard disk usable capacity 149GB
Hard disk type Mechanical
Spindle speed 5,400RPM

Interfaces

USB connection? yes
eSATA interface no

Performance tests

Write speed small files 4.0MB/sec

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