I thought I broke it. But I didn’t. Phew.

The Buffalo MiniStation DataVault is a tiny little 160GB 5400 RPM hard drive that is completely powered by mini USB and features full disk encryption/password access for a nice touch of portable security.

It really is small. It’s not much larger than a first generation iPod.

Getting back to the first paragraph, Buffalo advertises that the HDD is suspended on shock absorbers in the case, protecting it from … stuff. Clearly, the best way to test this was to transfer a bunch of big files onto it and then start shaking it like a bottle of water with one of those Crystal Light On the Go packets poured in.

Then I dropped it on the ground. Not hard. Just so.

Then Explorer froze and crashed.

I pulled the plug, restarted Explorer and plugged the drive back in. Vista warned me that the drive was improperly turned off last time and offered to do a scan to check things out. It turned up clean and about half the files had transferred onto the disc. I transferred a bunch more to and from the drive and it seemed to work fine. I’ll let the reader be the judge there.

The best thing about the drive is that it’s truly plug-n-play. I plugged it into a USB port and it was asking me for the password in seconds. I also like that it draws all its power from USB and doesn’t require another one of my vital AC sockets.

As far as performance goes, HD Tune averaged about 28 MB/sec read and about 27 write, which is above average for a USB drive.

We test drives with HD Tune Pro 3.10.

The drive comes pre-loaded with Memeo backup software and Firefox and Thunderbird portable with a taskbar app to launch all the portable programs you want to load onto it. (Big fan)

It seems like a good drive and a great bargain at under $100.

Just in case, Buffalo does give a 3-year manufacturer warranty.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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