The Buffalo Dualie is a slightly different in design to your standard iPhone dock as it combines both an iPhone, iPod dock with a removable 500GB external hard drive for extra storage.
The docks compact design allows you to save space on your desk by providing a sync connection for your iPhone, iPod together with 500GB external storage via a single USB 2.0 cable and whilst docked the Buffalo Dualie will also charge your Apple device.
The Buffalo Dualie does require an extra power adapter supply to function and this plugs into the rear of the dock, where there are also 2 x USB 2.0 ports and 1 x mini USB port.
The Buffalo Dualie comes supplied with four dock adapters to accommodate Apples devices, and the included instructions state it supports Apple’s iPhone 3G, (8GB & 16GB), 3GS (16GB & 32GB), iPod Touch 2nd Gen, iPod Classic and 5th Gen iPod Nano. However my iPhone 4 fitted the dock without a problem using the supplied iPhone adapter.
It seems that Buffalo had Mac users in mind when they created the Buffalo Dualie 500Gb dock/drive as it comes pre-formatted with the HFS+ file system for use with Mac machines and is detected as soon as you connect the USB 2.0 cable to any Mac machine running Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
To use the Dualie with a Windows PC, you will need to insert the provided CD and select the “Windows Format Instructions” to prepare the drive for use, which is then compatible with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.
The portable 500GB hard drive can be removed from is dock location behind the iPhone, iPod dock allowing you to take your files with you without the complete dock.
Once removed Firewire ports then revealed on the 500GB hard drive which can be used with the supplied Firewire cable for extra quick transfers of larger files when out and about. Or the supplied USB 2.0 cable on PC’s
When used on its own the Buffalo 500Gb hard drive doesn’t require any extra power adapters and gets all it power from the single USB or Firefire cable connected to the computer,(FireWire IEEE 1394a 400Mb/s, IEEE 1394b 800Mb/s, USB 2.0). Making the Buffalo 500GB a useful compact 500GB portable drive measuring just 134 x 83 x 22 mm in size.
If required there is also a power connection on the back of the external hard drive which allows you to connect the power supply from the dock to the individual drive.
The drive takes around 40 seconds to transfer a 1.2GB test file over USB2.0 and took only 23 seconds to transfer the same folder over FireWire 800. However be aware when using both your iPhone,iPod sync and transferring data to the hard drive transfer speeds are reduced by around 25%.
If you are looking for an everyday external storage device for iTunes for large media files and films that you might not necessarily like to load on to your system to save space the Buffalo Dualie 500GB is great device. Its its quick portability that allows you to take the drive with you is an added bonus.
An is currently available to purchase online from Apple for around $90 or £80 and offers good value for money.