Buffalo MiniStation 500GB
The Buffalo MiniStation Slim is a wonderfully discreet and petite external hard drive. It’s just 8.8mm thick and Buffalo claims it’s the world’s thinnest external hard disk.
The MiniStation Slim is pretty, too. Our review unit’s aluminium chassis had a classy matt black finish, and Buffalo also manufactures the drive in red and metallic grey. It also feels surprisingly sturdy for a device that’s so small, with no perceivable flex in its panels. There’s no superfluous detailing either, just a USB3 port and a small activity light on the rear panel. It weighs just 140g, too, making it easily portable, and we’re confident that it’ll withstand the rigours of daily use.
Unfortunately, the Buffalo MiniStation Slim’s good looks and slim profile aren’t matched by its file transfer speeds, especially when compared to the admittedly larger Western Digital My Passport USB3 2TB. The Buffalo’s large-file write benchmark result of 28MB/s pales in comparison to the Western Digital’s 91.2MB/s, and its 32MB/s score is a long way behind the 106MB/s scored by the My Passport.
Sadly, it’s no quicker when handling small files: the Buffalo wrote and read small files at 12.6MB/s and 21MB/s respectively, scoring 16.6MB/s overall. The Western Digital scored 23.7MB/s and 32.1MB/s respectively in the same tests.
The slow performance can partially be explained by the drive used within the MiniStation Slim. Buffalo wouldn’t confirm the exact drive used, but the firm narrowed it down to two options: Seagate’s Momentus Thin and Western Digital’s Scorpio Blue. They’re both mobile 2.5in drives, and neither has a thrilling specification. Both spin at the slower 5, 400rpm speed; the former has 16MB of cache and the latter makes do with half that amount.
The Buffalo MiniStation Slim currently costs £58 inc VAT, which translates to 12p per gigabyte. Other slim drives, such as the Samsung M3 1TB with double the capacity, cost a similar amount, making the 500GB MiniStation Plus seem like poor value.
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