IoSafe rugged drive


This drive gives 'crush resistant' new meaning

The military standards for ruggedness are just that — standard. Everyone uses them as a basis for comparison, whether they are seeking certification for their product or not. Usually, when a product gets certified, that is the limit of the company’s guarantee. But not the people at ioSafe. They aren’t happy until they make something they can run over with a tank.

The ioSafe Rugged Portable is a 500G hard disk drive that connects to any computer via a USB 3.0 or 2.0 port. It only weighs 1 pound, 4 ounces, which did cause us some concern: Would there be enough material to protect the drive? Turns out we shouldn’t have been worried.

The ioSafe is crush-resistant for up to 2,500 pounds of pressure. Although they won’t let us have a tank or a hydraulic press here in the lab (for some reason), we did set as heavy a set of objects as we could safely manage on it, and it operated just fine.

GCN Lab Reviewers Choice Award 2011 ioSafe Rugged Portable Drive

Pros: Extremely rugged; easy to set up.
Cons: Transfer rates a bit lower than expected.
Performance: B+
Ease of Use: A
Features: A-
Value: A
Price: $199

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In the transit drop test, we did all of the drops up to 48 inches as specified by MIL-STD 810 G without incident. However, as ioSafe asserts that the drive will withstand a drop up to 10 feet under these conditions, we were obligated to at least approach this lofty height. We performed a full set of drops at 8 feet (96 inches), which is double the standard. After that, the drive casing began to show a tiny amount of wear on some of the corners, but of course the drive itself ran perfectly.

The ioSafe breezed through our Rainforest environment, which is a glass enclosure heated up to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit with 95 percent humidity. We gave it periodic disk activity, and it did not suffer any ill effects. To test its resistance to full immersion in water, we powered down the drive and tossed it in the tank for several hours. Once we retrieved it and made sure the USB port was good and dry, we reconnected it, and it worked just fine. ioSafe does promise that it will last up to three days in 10 feet of water, and given what we saw in our testing, we are inclined to believe them.

Oil submersible

The Rugged Portable is also supposed to last up to an hour in 12 inches of diesel fuel or oil. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to have large quantities of flammable liquids in the lab anymore. (Jeez, burn one set of eyebrows and suddenly you are branded as “dangerous"!)

The price of this drive also includes one year of ioSafe’s Data Recovery Service. If, somehow, the drive fails under any of these conditions, or for practically any reason for that matter, ioSafe will do everything it can to get your data back, including spending up to $2,500 for third-party forensic recovery if necessary.

To test how fast the drive can transfer data, we got together a folder that amassed about 2G worth of files and timed how long it took to copy it to and from the drive. Even through a USB 3.0 port, we were only able to write to the drive at a rate of 68.7 megabytes/sec., which is a fair amount less than we expected. Transfers from the drive reached 121.2 megabytes/sec., again a bit less than expected.

The list price for the ioSafe Rugged Portable that we tested is $199. This is a great value for a military-grade rugged hard drive, especially one that can withstand so much more. Also, because it includes an entire year of blanket data recovery, this is a great bargain.

We can see this portable hard drive being needed and well-used by any personnel who need backup data storage in extremely harsh environments.


About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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