Buffalo MiniStation – Product Review

MiniStation Turbo USB Portable Hard Dive 80GB (other capacities are available)
Buffalo's MiniStation Portable USB 2.0 Hard Drive offers a compact lightweight storage solution which fits into your pocket.

Store, back-up and transport digital images, music and other files without taking up room on your PC's main drive. The combination of a tough armoured case and a shock absorbent inner floating structure offers unmatched protection for your data.

Shock resistant chassis design, auto installation and easy operation make the protable HD a true plug and play compact storage solution.


  • TurboUSB – up to 64% faster transfer speeds
  • Floating internal supports and a shock absorbing case protect again minor bumps and shocks
  • Includes two USB 2.0 data cables (30sm and 81cm) (ONE IS FOR POWER THE OTHER FOR DATA ACTUALLY)
  • Automatic setup – no drivers needed
  • pre-formatted for immediate use (FAT 32)
  • Supports USB 2.0 and 1.1
  • Leightweight, compact and portable
  • near silent operation
  • Secure Lock Ware protects your data from unauthorized access (SLW may ONLY be used in Windows environment)
  • Memeo Auto-backup software
  • Supported OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista & Mac OS X 10.3 or higher
Well, so much for the manufacturer's information, reproduced above.

I received this hard disc drive FREE upon attending the recent Insight Client Event held on February 22, 2008 at the Old Billigsgate, the old London Fishmarket. All the first 1,000 visitors through the door got one of those. While it is said that you do not look a gift horse in the mouth I nevertheless thought that a review would be in order.

Baffalo's MiniStation is indeed a very need portable hard drive and very compact indeed and it does work well (once I managed to get it to install) and opens a lot faster than my Targa USB hard drive and I am NOT using USB 2.0 even.

However, the installation really was not a simple plug and play. Instructions should have been provided as to the sequence of the plugging in of the device's USB cables, one which is for the data and one which is supplying the power to the unit, e.g. data cable before power lead, as most users would probably, like I did myself, first put in the USB power lead (yes, the drive is powered from a USB socket, so it needs at least two USB sockets free on the PC/Notebook and the power one, ideally, must not be through an unpowered USB hub) before plugging in the data cable.

Also, initially, the drive did not want to work at all in a Linux PC environment. In today's world where more and more individuals, businesses, schools and even governments are going the Linux PC, and general Open Source, environment route support for Linux right out of the box is going to be an absolute must.

Mind you, having said this, it probably refused to work because I had put in power lead before the data lead and once I did discover the fact of data lead before power lead on a Windows XP Pro PC, where the drive also did not want to work at first with the other configuration, it finally initialized fine in Linux Ubuntu and it that PC to which it, in my setup, now belongs to.

  • Very sleek case Great idea of cables being able to be wrapped around the body of the drive for storage when being transported, just like with the Logitech mouse I have only recently reviewed.
  • Great transfer speed, even in USB 1.1

  • Needs instructions as to sequence of USB cable installation
  • Needs better/faster Linux interoperability out of the box (though it works fine with Ubuntu at present and the initial installation problem may have been dues to the cable sequence).

All in all a very nice external storage drive that will – one – not break the bank and – two – not require to be carried by means of a small truck. I can very much recommend it.

Reviewed by Michael Smith (Veshengro), February 2008