The Buffalo MiniStation Metro is a 500GB portable hard drive that hopes to offer a little bit of pazzam into the usual hard drive proceedings with a glossy case and a in-built USB cable that folds out of sight. But does it perform? We plugged it in to find out.

To say there is lots to the MiniStation Metro would be an overstatement, it's of a medium size comparable to most hard drives on the market. It certainly isn't going to win any awards for being the smallest on the block. That thickness, which is actually the width of a USB socket is down to the "BumperBody Shock Protection" system not just an urge to build big.

While the plastic shell doesn't look like it could withstand a good bashing (it's not rugged or metal) the idea is that if you drop the drive it will be protected by small shock absorbers surrounding the hard disk.

The plastic shell is well-built with a plastic flexible cable that wraps around the top and slots neatly into place on the side. The move, which actually seems to have dictated the thickness of the drive does mean you will always have a USB cable to hand and if you're looking to travel with this unit means the bottom of your bag isn't going to be cluttered with cables.

Plug the drive in and the USB 2.0 connection offers fast transfer and power. There is an additional USB cable extender if the in-built one isn't long enough (it's about 15cm) and speeds are as good as other drives on the market. We transferred a number of files to and from and were happy with the performance (it took 35 seconds to transfer a 900MB file).

Bundled on the drive, rather than an accompanying CD for Windows users are two bits of software, a Hardware Disk Encryption package and E-Z Logon that lets you lock your drive so people can't access the data. Both are basic, but do what they set out to do.


The new Buffalo Ministation Metro will come in three colours: black, red and white, and come in sizes up to 500GB giving consumers plenty of options when it comes to storing their data.

It's stylish, well as stylish as a hard drive can be, and gets the job done. Travellers will like the no cluttered cable approach.