TODO alt text

Buffalo MiniStation Extreme review

A shock-resistant external hard drive with large capacity

Our Verdict

For

  • Very fast via USB 3.0
  • Strong wrap-around USB cable
  • Shock resistant casing

Against

  • Bulky
  • Included software not great

Like its stable mate, the Buffalo MiniStation Plus, the MiniStation Extreme is a small, though not particularly light, USB 3.0 external hard drive.

When we say small we're of course referring to the drive's physical dimensions, not its capacity. Within its small frame lies a whopping 1TB of disk space - more than enough for most people's needs. When we say not particularly light, this is because of its shock-resistant casing.

But how well does it perform? When plugged into a standard USB 2.0 port the disk manages read and write speeds of around 30MB/s. Plugged into a USB 3.0 port, however, the write speeds leap to an average of 85.73MB/s, with read speeds a very good 94.87MB/s.

Very handy LED lights on the front of the drive let you know which port you've plugged the Buffalo MiniStation Extreme into - green for USB 2.0 and Blue for USB 3.0.

If you stick it in a USB 3.0 port and it insists on glowing green, make sure you've downloaded and installed the latest USB 3.0 drivers for your motherboard. As out tests show, it really is worth using in the newer, faster USB ports.

The Buffalo MiniStation Extreme also comes with a host of programs we've come to expect from Buffalo devices. As with the Buffalo MiniStation Plus, these programs don't add much, and after installing it can be a pain to completely uninstall them from your system, with folders left all over your system's hard drive.

The Buffalo MiniStation Extreme works perfectly well without these programs, and we recommend not installing them.

As for the shock-resistant casing we mentioned earlier, it includes US Military-grade shock protection and shock absorbers that surround the hard drive. It certainly feels very robust, and Buffalo states it can withstand falls of up to two metres. So it might not survive being dropped out of a window, but it'll be fine being knocked off a table, or put in a bag and forgotten about until someone chucks it across the room.

Verdict

It's not indestructible, but the Buffalo MiniStation Extreme makes a nice change from some of the dangerously flimsy external hard drives we've tested. It's fast, too, once you ignore the programs that come with the external hard drive.

Tech Specs

Product TypeHard Drive
Product FamilyMiniStation Extreme HD-PZU3
Drive InterfaceSATA
Brand NameBuffalo
Drive TypeExternal
Storage Capacity1 TB
Host InterfaceUSB 3.0
Height18 mm
Width89 mm
Depth128 mm
ColourBlack
Product SeriesHD-PZU3
ManufacturerBuffalo Technology (USA), Inc
Product ModelHD-PZ1.0U3B-EU
Product NameMiniStation Extreme HD-PZU3 Hard Drive
Product LineMiniStation Extreme
Manufacturer Part NumberHD-PZ1.0U3B-EU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.buffalo-technology.com/home/
Marketing Information

MiniStation Extreme is a rugged portable hard drive equipped with a unique wrap-around USB cable and secure hardware encryption. With USB 3.0 support and backward compatibility with USB 2.0, it works with nearly any PC or Mac and provides interface speeds up to 5 Gbps. MiniStation Extreme features US Military Standard shock protection with a ruggedized chassis and specialized bumpers designed to absorb and transfer shock away from the hard disk due to accidental bumps and drops from up to 2 meters. The convenient integrated wrap-around cable hugs the body to ensure you're always ready to connect while on the go. Simply plug it into any available USB port on your computer and instantly add capacity or store files to take on the road; with 256-bit AES hardware encryption, you can rest assured your data is safe, wherever you go. Store, back up and transport your content safely and securely.

Weight (Approximate)230 g