Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt Review - An External with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt
1 August 2012
Conclusion: The first Thunderbolt peripherals were primarily aimed at the very high end, as they were usually either RAID or JBOD solutions, with either a number of HDDs or SSDs and first generation Thunderbolt controllers. For the vast majority of customers, single drive solutions with much more modest price points were what everyone has been waiting for, and I strongly feel that the Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt is one such drive.
Excerpt: Buffalo's speedy MiniStation portable hard drive complements MacBooks nicely and includes both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 interfaces on the same drive, but it's not significantly faster using either interface versus the other. Unless you really need both connections, a USB 3.0-only drive at about half the price is a better value.
Pros: Speedy performance over both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt interfaces, Cables for both interfaces included in the box
Cons: Twice as expensive as many non-Thunderbolt USB 3.0 drives of same capacity
Summary: While its dearth of bundled applications and restart-heavy setup process leave room for improvement, the MiniStation Extreme offers unmatched transfer speeds. Moreover, its $169 price makes the Extreme even more appealing when compared to some of the latest offerings from Buffalo's competitors such as the Seagate GoFlex Turbo ($179), LaCie Rugged Mini ($189), or Iomega eGo ($199).
Pros: Wrap-around USB cable, Shock-resistant up to 2 meters, Extremely fast file transfer speeds
Cons: Mediocre preloaded utilities, Frequent restarts required during setup
Summary: We prefer the well-designed apps included with the Western Digital drive, and both the LaCie and Iomega drives felt better constructed. However, the $125 Buffalo MiniStation Stealth gets good marks due to its generally fast speed and intuitive backup app.
Pros: Fastest file transfers yet, Easy to back up files, Included encryption and Turbo Copy app, Blue activity light is easy to see
Cons: Not the sleekest design, Setup program requires frequent restarts, Backup app looks a bit dated
Excerpt: The Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt is another entry in the growing list of devices which use the newish Thunderbolt port. If you've got a recent MacBook Air then you'll have Thunderbolt connectivity, but if you have a PC then things are a bit trickier.
Conclusion: The MiniStation Thunderbolt performs well, but like all Thunderbolt drives it is very expensive and many people may prefer to opt for a more affordable USB 3.0 drive instead. However, it’s a good option for people who require a fast, portable drive that they can carry around with their laptop.
Pros: Fast and compact portable drive, with Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 interface
Excerpt: Thunderbolt drives are still pretty expensive but they are starting to become more common now, so hopefully the arrival of drives such as Buffalo’s new MiniStation Thunderbolt will help to bring prices down.
fast and compact portable drive, with Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 interface