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The ioSafe Rugged Portable hard drive
June 21, 2012
SASKATOON, SK, Jun 21, 2012/ Troy Media/ – When I first asked the folks at ioSafe for one of their Rugged Portable hard drives for a test drive, I had a bunch of ideas of how I was going to test the device out.
Let’s get the pricing and the details out of the way first, then on to the tests I wanted to run, and why.
The ioSafe Rugged Portable is a portable hard drive that works with PCs or Macs, and comes in several different configurations. A 500GB version with a hard drive onboard retails for $279.99, with prices varying depending on the device you want – you can check out the pricing on the ioSafe website. A far more rugged version, using an SSD (Solid State Drive like a MacBook Air or a USB flash drive) in capacities from 120GB to 600GB and coming in a Titanium case, is quite a bit more expensive. My test version is the 500GB one, with a 5400 rpm hard drive onboard.
All versions of the Rugged Portable have cases built from a solid piece of either aluminum or titanium. They all have very impressive features; the cases are crush protected because they’re solid metal – the aluminum case offers 2500 lbs. and the titanium one 5,000 lbs. of crush resistance. The drives are suspended on six sides within the enclosures and can survive repeated drops without losing any data. They’re capable of surviving up to three days of immersion in salt or fresh water even when they’re connected via USB, and the aluminum version is good up to 10 feet, with the titanium and SSD version good up to 30.
They’re resistant to rain, blowing sand, freezing, extreme heat, chemicals like fuels and oils, and will work at altitudes up to 15,000 feet for the aluminum version and 30,000 feet for the SSD and titanium versions. These drives are billed as being able to stop a bullet – although not a very large caliber bullet. I guess if you carry your drive in your chest pocket this might be a useful thing.
What in the world would a normal person want with such a device? After all, you can buy similar capacity portable hard drives for less money that have more capacity and are a lot smaller.
Obviously, no normal user would ever get ‘shot in the hard drive’, or drop their hard drive in the pool or ocean, or crush the thing – unless they ran over it with the car.
I’ve found that the older I get, the more clumsy I get, so I actually can see myself dropping the drive down the stairs (I did several times, although I cringed every time), or leaving it in the car in the winter, so it’s not as far fetched as one might think.
The absolute kicker with these hard drives isn’t necessarily their ruggedness, although that ruggedness is part and parcel of what makes this product a real winner. ioSafe provides what they call their Data Recovery Service (DRS) FREE for one use with every device they sell. If you manage to pooch the drive for any reason, they’ll recover your data for free – once. It includes, shipping, replacement hardware, ioSafe recovery services and up to $5,000 for third party forensic recovery if required.
What a great deal.
So – to the tests.
I had visions of freezing the drive into a block of ice by leaving it outside in a pail of water for a week. That is usually easy to do in Saskatchewan – but not this winter. I’d then use a sledgehammer to break the drive out and then plug it in to see if it worked. I was going to pour gas on it and put the fire out with a mallet. I thought of dropping it out a window onto concrete and driving my car over it. The whole idea was to test out the validity of their claims.
Many journalists have done similar things to the drives, but at the end of the day I couldn’t do anything other than drop it down the stairs a couple of times and drop it on the floor to impress my friends. I guess it’s how I was brought up, I can’t knowingly try to destroy something that costs money and doesn’t belong to me. What would all that prove anyway?
The drive has impressive technical specifications and is built to easily withstand the daily wear and tear that a person using a portable hard drive would impose on it. Drops, freezing, puddles of water, extreme heat in a car in the summer – those are all reasonable things that might happen. Ten days under water, a shotgun blast and a lot of the other super tests really aren’t all that relevant to me.
The DRS alone makes one of these drives worth buying, never mind the ruggedness. So if you’re in the market for a portable hard drive and you’re a klutz like me, then you owe it to yourself to take a look at ioSafe’s Rugged Portable in whatever variant you can afford.
PROS: DRS is a major winner; the ruggedness is very compelling for users of portable drives; fair pricing and just a well-made, solid product you can count on.
CONS: The drives are very heavy because the cases are made of solid metal, maybe a bit over-spec’d for casual users; the titanium versions are very expensive.
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