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Buffalo MiniStation Slim 500GB External Hard Drive

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A discreet and petite drive, but poor performance lets it down

Buffalo’s MiniStation Slim is a wonderfully petite external hard disk. It’s just 8.8mm thick and Buffalo claims it’s the world’s thinnest external drive.

The MiniStation Slim is pretty, too. Our review unit’s aluminum chassis had a classy matt black finish; Buffalo also manufactures the drive in red and metallic grey. The MiniStation feels surprisingly sturdy for a device 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 140g, making it easily portable, and we’re confident it can withstand the rigours of daily use.

Buffalo’s MiniStation Slim is a wonderfully petite external hard disk

Buffalo’s MiniStation Slim is a wonderfully petite external hard disk

Sadly, the MiniStation Slim’s good looks and slim profile are let down by its file transfer speeds, especially when compared with Seagate’s Wireless Plus 1TB, which can also connect to tablets and smartphones over Wi-Fi. The Buffalo drive’s write benchmark result of 28MB/s pales in comparison to the Seagate Wireless Plus’s 100MB/s, and its 32MB/s score is a long way behind the Wireless Plus’s 109MB/s.

It weighs 140g, making it easily portable

It weighs 140g, making it easily portable

It’s not quicker when handling small files. The Slim wrote and read small files at 12.6MB/s and 21MB/s respectively, scoring 16.6MB/s overall. The Wireless Plus scored 30MB/s and 45MB/s respectively in the same tests.

This 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 21/2in drives, and neither has a thrilling specification. Both spin at the slower 5,400rpm speed; the Momentus has 16MB of cache and the Scorpio makes do with half that amount.

The Buffalo MiniStation Slim currently costs $80 including VAT, which translates to 9.4p per gigabyte. Seagate’s Wireless Plus, currently $255 including VAT, costs 17p per gigabyte. Other slim drives, such as Samsung’s M3 1TB cost a similar amount, making the 500GB MiniStation Slim seem poor value.

This slow performance can partially be explained by the drive used within the MiniStation Slim.

This slow performance can partially be explained by the drive used within the MiniStation Slim.

We like the design and build quality of the MiniStation Slim, but the benchmark results and comparatively high cost per gigabyte mean we can’t recommend it. With only a few millimeters between this drive and rivals that are cheaper and sure to be quicker, you’d be better off buying any number of alternatives.

Specifications

§  Price: $80

§  Ratings: 2/5

§  Web: www.systo.co.uk

§  Capacity: 500GB

§  Formatted capacity (NTFS): 465GB

§  Interface: USB3

§  Spindle speed: 5400rpm

§  Warranty: Three-year RTB

§  Part code: HD-PUS500U3-EU

§  Details: www.buffalo-technology.com

 

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