Buffalo MiniStation TurboUSB review

Price when reviewed

The Buffalo MiniStation is the cheapest drive on test this month and, not surprisingly, it’s also one of the smallest at 120GB – the same as the LaCie. Due to the way manufacturing costs break down, this makes it one of the most expensive in terms of pence per gigabyte, although, of course, it’s a false economy to buy a bigger drive than you need.

Buffalo MiniStation TurboUSB review

Despite the Buffalo’s low price, it was also one of this month’s fast performers, with test results up alongside our recommended Maxtor. Put like that, it looks like a bit of a bargain.

Sadly, we felt the Buffalo was let down by its design, which looked cheap and felt bulky. In reality, it’s nearly as small as the Maxtor and almost as light as the Toshiba. But its boxy design does it no favours, and the grey strip around the middle looks fussy rather than sophisticated.

It was the same story with the soft, round light that glows green for power and orange for disk activity. It does the job perfectly well, but next to the competition it looks decidedly drab.

Finally, we weren’t convinced by Buffalo’s approach to supplemental power. Most portable drives ship with a mini-to-dual USB cable, so you can hook the drive up to a second USB port if one port isn’t supplying enough power. Buffalo has opted instead to supply a separate USB-to-coaxial power cable – an unnecessarily complicated solution.

The Buffalo MiniStation offers a fair amount of high-speed storage for a low price, so don’t write it off. But we feel it lacks the elegance to take it to the top of the pile.

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