Gadgets | Technopolis

An external drive that beats all-comers on size, weight – and price

An external drive that beats all-comers on size, weight – and price

An external drive that beats all-comers on size, weight – and price

Image: Hugh Threlfall

September 11 2011
Jonathan Margolis

I had a wobbly moment in China the other day, when I realised I’d created or altered about 100 documents on my MacBook since leaving home, and that if it were lost, stolen or crashed, I’d never undo the chaos. The thought occurred that while my home backup arrangements border on the paranoid, on tour I’m deeply vulnerable, especially on this trip, as the room safe in my hotel wasn’t bolted down in any way, just languishing on a shelf. What was needed was a small and portable terabyte hard drive to act as a time machine abroad. Then it would matter less if the MacBook – or the entire safe – were pinched.

I’d been sent a couple of portable external drives lately (one by Seagate, one by Hitachi) but, at 320Gb and 500Gb respectively, they were useless for me as I need more. Half an hour on Amazon turned up this fantastic little 1Tb drive by Buffalo, a company I’d never heard of. It was waiting for me when I got home. My new travel companion, the MiniStation beats the pants off the rest on size, weight and, oddly, on price too. It’s USB powered, so needs no adapter. And even on the online Apple store, similar drives seem to be bigger and heavier. There’s now an identical-looking Plus version, which is also shockproof.