Buffalo Dualie 500GB review

This space-saving dock come external hard drive has many tricks up its sleeve

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Our Verdict

An excellent combination of form and function, but it needs a price drop


  • An excellent concept
  • Saves space
  • Attractive, robust design


  • Expensive

The Buffalo Dualie is a portable hard drive and a docking station for your iPhone or iPod.

It connects to your Mac via USB, enabling you to sync or otherwise manage either device while it's in the dock. But as it's also mains-powered, you can recharge your phone or audio player even when your computer's switched off.

Behind the dock sits a 500GB HDD (supplied). Connecting through the rear dock's USB outlet, the drive can be removed and carried around just like any other portable drive.

When used outside the dock, USB and FireWire 800 connections are available, with no power supply required. The Dualie even has two extra USB ports on the back, giving you a hub to connect further USB peripherals.

At the time of going to press it was launching as an Apple store-exclusive, but it might be on sale elsewhere by the time you read this.

The Dualie looks the part, with both the dock and the hard drive sporting a brushed aluminium and rubber finish. Your iPod touch or iPhone looks right at home there. It's perfectly compact too, taking up only 10cm by 10cm on your desk.

In our QuickBench tests, the drive proved admirably speedy with the front dock bare, but docking an iPod or (especially) an iPhone slows it down by up to 25%. It's best to make sure only the hard drive is docked when transferring large files.

It's a little expensive too, but if you wait for the inevitable price drop, it's an excellent addition to any Mac owner's desktop.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeHard Drive
Product FamilyDualie Portable
Drive InterfaceSATA
Brand NameBuffalo
Drive TypeExternal
Storage Capacity500 GB
Host InterfaceUSB 2.0, FireWire/i.LINK 800
Country of OriginJapan
Product SeriesPortable
  • USB 1.1
  • Plug n Play
ManufacturerBuffalo Technology (USA), Inc
Product ModelHD-PA500IBU2D
Product NameDualie Portable HD-PA500IBU2D Hard Drive with iPhone/iPod Dock
Product LineDualie
Manufacturer Part NumberHD-PA500IBU2D
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.buffalo-technology.com/home/
Marketing Information

The Buffalo Dualie is a compact portable hard drive featuring a stylish, contemporary chassis and a bonus desktop docking station with support for Apple iPhone and iPod. Designed for an array of Mac and PC users, Dualie offers 500 GB of storage capacity and multiple connection methods, including USB 2.0 and FireWire 400/800 for fast data transfers. Store, transport and back up thousands of music, movie, photo and data files in one convenient, portable location. Its space-saving design provides 500 GB of external portable storage and a dock connection for your iPod or iPhone, eliminating unnecessary cables and clutter from your workspace. With the bonus docking station, Dualie allows you to sync and charge your iPhone or iPod, connect the hard drive to your computer for additional storage or backup and attach two additional USB devices over a single USB connection on your computer, all from one convenient solution.

Package Contents
  • Dualie Portable HD-PA500IBU2D Hard Drive with iPhone/iPod Dock
  • Power Adaptor
  • 1 x FireWire 800 Cable
  • 1 x FireWire 800 to FireWire 400 Cable
  • 2 x USB 2.0 Cables
  • Adaptors for the iPhone 3G/3GS, iPod Touch 2nd Generation, iPod Classic and iPod Nano 4th Generation
  • Quick Setup Guide
  • Warranty Statement
Limited Warranty1 Year