Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC

Military grade rugged portable hard drive

Going by the name, a buffalo is described as “something that intimidates”. No doubt the animal called buffalo is intimidating in appearance, to some extent. The same can be said for the Buffalo Mini Station Extreme NFC external portable hard drive. It comes with such features that allow it to do extreme tasks only drives of its kind can do. Now, to the business of the day, here’s a review of the Buffalo Mini Station NFC 1TB drive. We’ll look at the features of this great device and its flaws.

Design

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The Mini Station Extreme is designed to accommodate all the goodies you’d need for the smooth day to day usage of your device. You shouldn’t expect it to look as large as the buffalo animal itself. At a glance, the drive which is coated in 2 colors looks bulky. However, it is not as bulky as it appears. It’s coated in black and charcoal gray colors only. It doesn’t give it a premium look, to say the least.

Buffalo Technology took time to make a very rugged external drive. This is quite unlike the Transcend Storejet 25C3N which shares quite a handful of similarities with the Mini Station Extreme. Both are lightweight; the Mini Station weighs just 0.66 lbs. This lightweight nature makes it very much portable and easy to carry about.

One remarkable striking feature of the drive is that it comes with a permanently attached USB cable. Additionally, Buffalo Technology included an extension cable in the packaging, in case you need it. The advantage of having a permanently attached USB cable is that it saves you the stress of looking for your USB cable every now and then. There’s a groove around the body of the drive where the cable fits in snugly – knowing its safe there.

Aside from that, the Mini Station extreme NFC drive supports USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 and is compatible with Windows and Mac OS. Below are some of the top features of the drive:

  1. Military grade ruggedness (which is dust, water, and shock resistant)
  2. NFC technology
  3. AES encryption technology
  4. Integrated USB cable.
  5. Preformatted for Windows, can be easily reformatted for Mac.
  6. Handy applications for data management.

Let’s take a look at the drive’s technical specifications.

ProductBuffalo Mini Station Extreme NFC
Weight0.66 lbs
Dimensions5.55 x 3.54 x 0.83 inches
Storage Capacity1TB, 2TB HDD
USB TypeUSB 3.0 (downward compatible with USB 2.0)
Connection InterfaceSATA 3Gbps
Warranty3-year limited warranty
CompatibilityWindows Vista and above
Mac OS X 10.8 and above

For the frequent on-the-go user of portable hard drives, the Mini Station Extreme NFC’s abilities will be sufficient. Earlier on, I made mention of one of its features; the military spec ruggedness. The drive is as rugged as advertised. During the review, the drive dropped from the table to the floor – a height of about 4 feet. Of course, I prayed a silent prayer that the ruggedness better be true – it was. The IP53 standard rating covers both shock, water and dust resistance. However, this doesn’t warrant the careless handling of the device. Obvious, the drive is designed to withstand some level of exposure to the elements.

Performance

Performance wise, the Buffalo Mini Station Extreme NFC handles just fine. Apparently, the data transfer speeds, in reality, don’t add up to what Buffalo Technology advertised. On paper, the drive records speeds of about 5Gbps on USB 3.0 and 480Mbps on USB 2.0.

Copying our 1.5 GB test file took just roughly 12 seconds. Quite impressive, but not as fast as the Transcend Storejet 25C3N. This might be as a result of our test system – who knows?

Usability

The Buffalo Mini Station Extreme NFC sports state of the art features that make other drives green with envy. The NFC capability is a quintessential example. This feature allows you to connect to other NFC enabled devices. However, to use the NFC feature, you must install the LockAndGo software. This software and others can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website.

Out of the box, the Mini Station Extreme NFC comes unlocked. To lock, the LockAndGo software must be used. It’s with the LockAndGo software that you can activate the NFC feature. Additionally, you’ll also be able to activate the encryption feature of the drive. This is dependent on the activation of the NFC feature. The Mini Station Extreme NFC sports a 256-bit AES encryption technology. This provides security for your precious data stored on the drive.

After the initial setup, you’d be able to lock and unlock the drive with ease. To the side of the drive is the NFC card. When the drive is plugged in, a simple tap on the NFC card unlocks it for use. In the event that you lose your NFC card, you can still unlock your drive with the password you choose at setup. However, if you decided to turn off the password feature during setup, you’ll have yourself to blame. Did I mention that you can separate the drive and the NFC card and send it to someone else who has just the password? That’s a cool way of sending encrypted information.

Away from the NFC feature, let me mention that the drive comes with the ModeChanger feature. The ModeChanger allows you to do a plethora of tasks. From the interface, you can easily format the drive for Windows or Mac. Out of the box, the drive is formatted for Windows. To use it on a Mac, it should be formatted.

The Mini Station Extreme NFC is compatible with Windows Vista and above as well as Mac OS X 10.8 and above. One of the downsides of the drive is its lack of support for operating systems like the iOS and Android OS which are becoming increasingly popular. In comparison to its competition, the Transcend Storejet 25C3N supports all the aforementioned operating systems and even the Linux OS. If you intend to use your drive on more than one OS, well, you already know which one to choose.

Buffalo Technology backed the Mini Station Extreme NFC drive with a 3-year warranty. This is a year longer than that of the Seagate Backup Slim Plus which comes with just 2 years warranty.

Final Verdict

The Buffalo Mini Station Extreme NFC is one drive I’ll recommend to anyone looking forward to buying a 1TB or 2TB hard drive that can withstand the day to day bumps that kill nonrugged hard drives slowly. It can withstand a handful of environmental elements given that it’s a rugged drive. If you’d prefer more speed and more ruggedness, the Samsung T5 SSD is a pretty good choice worth considering.

8.4 Total Score
Good choice

If you need Military grade ruggedness - this is your drive

Durability
10
Performance
6.5
Features
10
Price
7
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PROS:
  • Shock Protection
  • Hardware Encryption
  • Military grade ruggedness
  • NFC technology

CONS:
  • Lack of USB 3.1
  • Lack of support iOS and Android OS

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