The Buffalo MiniStation Lite lives up to its name: it’s one of the smallest drives out there, and its inky black exterior and gentle curves lower its profile further. It’s very light, too: it’s a cliché, but you really can tuck it into a pocket and forget it’s there.
That’s not to say it’s a drive that hides away. The Buffalo logo lights up when the drive’s powered on, giving the drive a cool, futuristic look, and a blue access light glows in the opposite corner.
There’s nothing else to speak of in the way of controls or accessories – it’s a minimalistic package – but you do get some interesting software in the bundle. Besides the obligatory basic backup package, there’s also a disk caching tool that promises to speed up transfers, and a RAM drive client – potentially useful, especially now machines with 4GB and more are becoming commonplace.
To pack 640GB into such a small drive, we deduce that Buffalo has used a hard disk with a high areal density, which generally means fast transfers.
And so it proved in our tests. With a sustained transfer rate over USB 3 of 84MB/sec writing and 87MB/sec reading, this is one of the fastest portable drives we’ve seen.
Sadly, the price isn’t terrifically economical, and is more expensive than most portable USB 3 drives, and, predictably, twice what you’ll pay for some desktop models.
All the same, the diminutive style of the MiniStation Lite, coupled with strong performance, goes some way to mitigating the price.