Buffalo MiniStation Extreme USB 3.0 Hard Drive Review
by Stuart Davidson - 27th August 2012
Buffalo MiniStation Extreme Review
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of portable hard drives on the market. Some are all about style, others extreme capacity but for most people it is how robust their mobile storage is that should matter. One company looking to provide reliable data transfer is Buffalo who have created their portable hard drive to US Military specification for ruggedness... so today we perform some drop tests to see if it can live up to those claims. Ever wondered if your drive can survive being dropped out of a 2 storey window?
Buffalo package their MiniStation Extreme in a box which allows us to clearly see the drive. Included with it is a software suite called "Buffalo Tools" which allow us to get the most from our device. These include file encryption (256-bit AES) a backup utility, Turbo PC EX for enhanced file transfer speeds and a Ramdisk Utility for creating a virtual hard disk.
Shown above is the MiniStation Extreme, in black with grey and red models also available (500GB/1TB). Buffalo bundle a USB extension cable and like the drive it is USB 3.0 capable. A cable neatly tucks away at the side of the drive when not in use and underneath it is a LED which lights up green when connected to USB 2.0 and blue when using 3.0.
The dimensions of the drive are 89x128x18mm, with a weight of 230g.Here are the speeds we recorded via USB 3.0 for the MiniStation Extreme, well in excess of the 30-35MB/s speed of USB 2.0.
The MiniStation Extreme is designed to take drops from average use, for example falling out of a bag or sliding out of our hand. There are various protection elements included such as a rugged plastic and rubber casing, rubber pad inside and suspension grips around the drive.
Shown above are our various drop tests, we performed multiple drops of each type and then, as can be seen, tried to read the drive in Windows. The good news was that even after being dropped from a second floor window, twice, the data could still be accessed and read although the casing was a little bashed up.
If we had one criticism of the drive it was that the USB cable could be more secure. It is fully removable and when dropped has a tendency to fly off and become loose but this is a minor issue in an otherwise good product which rounds off a decent set of features with a 2-year warranty.
NOTE: Buffalo do not guarantee that the drive is indestructible. It is drop proof so keep this in mind when planning to throw it in the washing machine, accidentally, or setting fire to it.