Summary: The Lightning Cable failed very shortly after being put in service. Fortunately the USB 3.0 Cable still worked, else I would have returned it, however, this has turned me off from Buffalo branded hard drives. I'll stick with OWC from now on...
Summary: I installed a Sandisk Extreme II 480GB SSD into this ministation. With some patience it's not too hard to open the ministation and swap the drives. The ministation will run warm to the touch with this SSD installed. The ministation COMES WITH a very short 17" long thunderbolt cable. After installation, I ran Black Magic disk benchmark.
Summary: I received the Drive in less time than expected. And would do business with this company again. As for the drive, all I had to do was plug it into the computer and it started working perfectly. Very satisfied.
Summary: Other reviewers have already gone into minute detail about the technical specs, so I'll be brief and simple. This surprisingly small HD easily backed up my Macbook Pro. Setup was painless... plug it into a port and it works. No software to install, no instruction booklet necessary. The first backup took a looooong time, and be warned... if you choose to encrypt the drive, it could literally take all night.
Summary: [EDIT:] The BUFFALO MiniStation 500 GB Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive has failed. I have adjusted the review rating to reflect my poor experience with the defective product, and the lack of an acceptable avenue for resolving problems. I have bought and used dozens of drives over the years, and I know failures occur with every manufacturer (I have never come across a total failure myself), so maybe I just got a dud.
Premium performance, build quality, and aesthetics
6 June 2013
Summary: The Buffalo MiniStation 500 GB Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 drive is one of only a few Thunderbolt drives out on the market right now. Thunderbolt drives can theoretically reach twice the speeds of USB 3.0, but you'll have to pay a premium for those theoretical speeds. I took a look at the Buffalo Thunderbolt drive to see if the portable hard drive was worth the premium.
Excellent hardware marred by sub-standard drive speeds/upgrade difficulty
William Grose "Tzu Crazy", Amazon
6 June 2013
Summary: This BUFFALO Technology MiniStation is a shame. A really great shame. Why? Because it's theoretically a great product. The build quality is great, the USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt cables included are a great touch (especially given how expensive Thunderbolt cables currently are). So what's the problem, then? So in my testing via Thunderbolt on a 2011 MacBook Air, the slow-spinning Samsung 5400rpm disk inside the enclosure is a huge bottleneck (I didn't even hit 100MB/s).