Buffalo Dualie Review
The Dualie, by Buffalo, is a fabulous desktop companion for anyone with an Apple iPhone or iPod. Essentially, it’s a stylish stand that mounts an included 500GB Portable Hard Drive as well as your iPhone or iPod for charging and syncing. With the Dualie, you just need one cable to connect both devices to your computer or laptop.
What’s in the Box
-Dualie Desktop Docking Station
-500GB 2.5″ Portable Hard Drive with USB 2.0 and Firewire 800 Ports
-iPhone 3G/3GS Adapter
-iPod Touch 2nd Gen
-iPod Classic 120GB
-iPod Nano 4th Gen
-2x Mini-USB Cable
-2x Firewire Cable
-8pin to 8pin
-8pin to 6pin
-1x DC Power Adapter for Docking Station
The Dualie Desktop Docking Station is what we like to call techie-elegant. It is aesthetically pleasing and contemporary with a simple two-tone black and aluminum finish. The face of the dock has a rubberized soft black finish, just like the front of the included portable hard drive. The sides and back of the dock is aluminum, like the back of the drive. The hard drive has a blue LED semi-circular light that illuminates with drive activity. The portable drive is sized similarly to any popular portable drive out there, but on the chunkier end. The dock has two hubs, the one in the front for your Apple device and one in the back that securely cradles the included portable hard drive. At the bottom of each hub is a connector, Mini-USB for the hard drive, and a standard 30-pin dock connector for iPhone or iPod. On the back of the Dualie is its power connector, a mini-USB connector, and two USB ports.
With the Dualie plugged in to the wall, and the micro-USB cable running to your computer, you can sync your iPhone or iPod, backup your computer on the 500GB hard drive, AND use both USB devices attached to the Dualie simultaneously. The Dualie does wonders for limiting cord-clutter, not to mention it functions as the ultimate charging/syncing station for your iPhone or iPod. You can technically have four USB devices (including the drive and Apple device) hooked up to your computer with just one cord. The Dualie does not need to be connected to your computer in order to charge your iPhone, iPod, or USB devices. It will accommodate most every iPhone or iPod, whether or not there’s a specific adapter for it. It can even accommodates most iPhones and iPods with protective cases.
The 500GB Portable Hard Drive is a 2.5″ drive with connectors for Mini-USB (mini-B), FireWire 800, and DC power (DC power is optional). Over USB it has a maximum data transfer rate of 480 Mbps, over FireWire 800 it is 800 Mbps max, and 400Mbps over FireWire 400. Out-of-the-box the drive is formatted for Mac computers and supports Time Machine. It’s completely compatible with Windows, but must be formatted first; Buffalo provides a utility to do this.
The Dualie is a great product because it just works. There’s really no complicated setup or troubleshooting. It’s essentially just a glorified USB dock. One of the convenient features is that it will always charge your iPod or iPhone, even if Dualie is not connected to a computer. Similarly, it can also simultaneously charge two other USB devices sans computer.
One of the shortcomings of the Dualie is that you can only connect the dock to your computer via USB. Even though the Hard Drive has the faster FireWire capabilities, the dock is only USB-capable. To use the drive via FireWire you must remove it from the dock. Either way, the drive performance is pretty solid. Over USB (when docked) the read and write speeds are standard, ~35MB/s and ~28MB/s respectively. Over FireWire the speeds are considerably better, reading and writing at about 51MB/s. I was happy to see that even while syncing my iPhone in iTunes, the Dualie Hard Drive speeds stayed more or less consistent–they were not heavily impacted by the iPhone activity.
The Dualie is a great external storage product and a great value. Buffalo has a strong brand name in the networking and storage industry. Their Dualie is clean, stylish, and new-age elegant. It greatly reduces cord clutter and is super simple to set up and use. If you have an iPod Touch or iPhone, this is one of the nicest syncing/charging docks there out there. It was quite surprisingly to see the Dualie for under $100 on the internet, you can buy it for $82.95 on Amazon.com. You would expect a 500GB Hard Drive to be that much alone, and the Dualie has so much more to offer!
The Good: Clean, Stylish, Great Price, Reduces Cord Clutter, iPhone/iPod Charging Station, Great for Time Machine, Fits iPhones and iPods with cases
The Bad: No Audio Out, No Firewire Connection on Dualie Dock