The Buffalo MiniStation ThunderBolt is a Bus-Powered Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive available in 500 GB or in 1 TB (1000 GB) storage options. It is available for $173.99 for the 500 GB model or $196.49 from B&H. Thunderbolt is a new technology that Apple has integrated with their computers. It is Apple’s retry at FireWire (this time without the licensing fee). It is regarded as faster than USB or FireWire and will provide amazing speeds for backup and storage. Let’s check out Appl… I mean Buffalo’s hard drive.
I made that mistake of thinking that this product was an Apple product. Yes, this drive is just that good aesthetically. The product looks like a product that Apple would make. It is clean, smooth, easy to hold, light and thin. It’s texture feels like that of a unibody laptop from Apple. On the bottom it has a light that reminds me of the light that the plastic MacBook has though this product is much more durable. I feel as though if I were to drop this product, it would not even dent. The colors on it again remind me of an Apple product. The white reminds me of the white MacBooks and the silver reminds me of the silver on a MacBook Air or Pro. If you were to remove the branding, you would think it was made by Apple, and we all know that Apple makes beautifully designed and well-made products. Therefore, in terms of aesthetics, this product is right on. It’s the most well-designed portable hard drive I have seen and Apple should stop making the Time Capsule external hard drive and sell these instead.
Truth be told, I have not actually owned a product that used the ThunderBolt connection before so therefore I did not have a Thunderbolt cable. Luckily, Buffalo had me covered there, they supplied the cable for me. Not only did they supply a cable but they supplied a short cable, which some may say is a bad thing but I view it as a good thing. Information between computer and external hard drives transfer faster when they are connected by shorter cords. Therefore, the already fast ThunderBolt was made faster by using a short cord. I have had no problems with the speed of the drive at all. The first time I backed everything up it took about 30 minutes while a USB 2.0 drive took about an hour and a half. Therefore, the claim that it is two times as fast as USB 3.0 is misleading. While ThunderBolt can be two times faster than USB 3.0, that is at the highest point. Also, the drive inside the enclosure does not handle fullest ThunderBolt speeds. However, despite this, I did see a significant speed increase over USB 3.0 and USB 3.0 was pretty fast too. The drive, with it’s small profile went right underneath the iMac and I never really see it, so it is out of the way and always connected. If you don’t have a lot of space, you can still fit it somewhere in tight corners. It contains huge amounts of space while taking a little amount of physical space. It does not have a second ThunderBolt port to be able to daisy chain so you must make it the last thing on the chain, if you already have another product that can not be daisy chained, you will have an issue. Despite that though, the drive definitely is a great machine that can store a lot of data so if your Mac is running low on space, this is the drive for you.
-Best aesthetics for a portable hard drive
-High capacity for storage
-Fast USB 3.0 and ThunderBolt
-Small and compact
-A bit pricy
-Can not be daisy chained
Ways to improve
The only way I could see to improve is to add the ability to daisy chain as I know that some people like to chain multiple drives together to create a super drive or to be able to connect multiple devices together. It would not be a bad plan as people who wanted to create a “super hard drive” out of a daisy chain of these hard drives would buy multiple hard drives from them, the company would make 10 sales from one consumer rather than one or none.
To conclude, this could be an Apple product. It’s sleek design and fast transfer of data make it an ideal drive, that is if you can mind the price and the lack of daisy chain ability. It is recommended most to those who have USB 2.0 and ThunderBolt since with this drive you will see a significant speed increase. This external drive earns a 4 and a half stars from me. Great job Buffalo!
Thanks for reading,
Images Courtesy: Buffalo