I don't care what you say about them being the same, or that some are cheaper than others. I've always believed in Made in Japan products more so than any other countries. So, for storing my precious digital copies of photos, it had better last! And I've had some portable drive failed on me, Maxtor for one and Logitec for another. That Logitec I had from a decade ago was in fact Made in Japan but now Logitec only sells Made in China.
So far so good, Buffalo portable hard drive still work as per normal. I did suspect that most hard drive won't last longer than a decade though. They are still pretty new except for a few which was from that era so I don't know if that's the norm.
For me, even though Buffalo Portable Hard Drive is slightly more expensive than other brands, one could get them at a huge discount at fairs like the Singapore Comex 2009 which is on right now. A 500GB will cost only about US$100 or so. Prices have dropped so much so that it's advisable to transfer old files to a new one every few year or so, especially if they contain your childhood and baby photos! I also like to leave my laptop free of files as much as possible so that in case if they are stolen, nothing too important are in them. With a portable hard drive, one could carry them around and lock them in the safe at a hotel or carry them in your handbag. That's a lot safer than the laptop. I've heard of people stealing laptops even on the plane!
Anyhow, I find the Buffalo HDS-PHU2: Mini Station Pro an excellent choice for business users with AES 128bit encryption which prevents unauthorized access. It is also shock-proof with a bumper body and is usable both on PC and the Mac. As of today, I own at least 6 portable hard drive from Buffalo!