ioSafe Rugged Portable external hard drive

This drive is smashproof, crushproof, waterproof and almost-everythingproof

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ioSafe Rugged Portable
  • ioSafe Rugged Portable
  • ioSafe Rugged Portable
  • ioSafe Rugged Portable

Pros

  • Rated against almost any calamity
  • Speedy USB 3.0 interface
  • Comes with $2500 data recovery

Cons

  • Pricier than a regular external drive
  • Bulky and heavy
  • Not fireproof

Bottom Line

ioSafe's Rugged Portable sacrifices a bit of bulk and weight to add some serious protection to a fast USB 3.0 hard drive. We put it through some grueling tests and it didn't skip a beat. If data reliability is important to you, we think this drive justifies its premium price tag.

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Traditional external spinning-disk hard drives can be fragile things — if you’re carrying one around with you it’s almost guaranteed to get a few knocks and bumps, and there’s an ever-present chance that it might fail. You can reduce the chance of this with a portable solid-state drive, but another more inventive solution is to ‘ruggedise’ a traditional drive.

ioSafe Rugged Portable: Design and specifications

ioSafe offers the Rugged Portable in either a SSD or spinning-disk version, but whichever drive you pick is immaterial. What’s more important is the thick aluminium shell that surrounds the drive — hewn from a single block of metal, it’s able to withstand some of the most punishing testing we’ve seen a piece of technology put through.

The Rugged Portable 250GB USB 3.0 version, which we tested, is a spinning-disk model with the internal laptop-size 2.5in hard drive running at 5400RPM. ioSafe rates the Rugged Portable against some pretty serious standards, and for all practical purposes the drive should stand up to almost any punishment the average user can throw at it.

The ioSafe Rugged Portable aluminium version is waterproof (under 10 feet for 3 days), crushproof (over 1100kg of direct pressure), drop-proof (up to 26 consecutive drops from 10 feet high), weatherproof, and chemical-proof: you can even leave it a 12-foot deep tank of diesel or jet fuel for an hour. The MIL-STD-810G specification that the Rugged Portable claims to comply with is unforgiving — so unsurprisingly, ‘military grade’ is an accurate description of the Rugged Portable’s build quality. It’s not fireproof though, with this left to the even-more-serious ioSafe SoloPro.

ioSafe Rugged Portable hard drive review The business end of the ioSafe Rugged Portable drive.

If these ratings aren’t good enough, there’s also a titanium-shell version which is twice as sturdy (but it’s restricted to the SSD versions and comes with a correspondingly high price tag).

It’s a stark and simple device. No superfluous flashy lights or design flair: just a rectangular block of aluminium with a smooth finish and rounded corners. A single USB 3.0 connector at the rear of the ioSafe Rugged Portable looks flimsy, but it actually connects solidly and reassuringly. There’s also a Kensington lock port for securing the drive when it’s not travelling.

The aluminium Rugged Portable weighs just over 450 grams, and measures 10cm wide, 14.5cm long and 2.5cm tall. It’s definitely heavier and bulkier than a standard portable hard drive Because of the thick aluminium casing around the ioSafe Rugged Portable, it’s almost silent during operation. Unless it’s been running for more than an hour, the drive stays cool to the touch.

Next page: Performance and reliability

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