iStorage diskGenie external hard drive
The iStorage diskGenie is an unusual looking external hard drive with a keypad and built-in encryption
- Extremely secure
This number-locked USB drive promises incredibly secure lockdown of sensitive data. Being agnostic to computer type, and not requiring any software to be installed on a host computer, is a major bonus. Two-tier admin/user access ensures that the drive's data should always remain accessible by its owner even if a second user forgets their code or tries to reset the code. Compared to the same capacity in unencrypted storage, this is an expensive USB drive. But it's one that should earn its keep for those who need this level of security assurance. Given its better 256-bit security and improved keypad, we’d recommended the iStorage diskGenie over the Lenovo version.
Price$ 279.74 (AUD)
Note: Pricing for this product is in US dollars.
The iStorage diskGenie is a USB hard drive offering up to 500GB of storage. It features secure AES-256 encryption and is unlocked by a number keypad.
Locking down personal or business data is easier than ever these days, as more USB drives adopt encryption to keep prying eyes out. And if you don't want to mess around with typing passwords into your computer whenever you dock the drive, how about a hard drive sporting a telephone number keypad?
The iStorage diskGenie is about the size of a pocket diary, and coated in a modern non-slip rubbery finish. Inky black and non-slip to the touch, it nevertheless does seem to collect fingerprints and dust rather too well. Fortunately iStorage also includes a soft wetsuit-material carry pouch to help keep it clean and cushioned in transit.
Inside the iStorage diskGenie is a 2.5in SATA hard disk, of either 250GB, 320GB or 500GB capacity. Standing between you and data on that drive is an encryption chip and the number combination lock.
If the iStorage diskGenie looks at all familiar, it's because it's essentially the same as the Lenovo ThinkPad Secure Storage device. The difference is the higher capacities available through iStorage (Lenovo is 160GB or 320GB only), and the tougher encryption found here, where the Lenovo version is ‘limited' to AES-128. Prices of the two brands' 320GB product is comparable.
Another difference is the use of slightly larger, oval-shaped keys on the iStorage diskGenie that are easier to press. These feature alphabetical characters too, enabling you to handily invent numerical passcodes based on passwords.
Like USB flash drives we've seen recently from the likes of IronKey, Kingston and SanDisk, the iStorage diskGenie uses hardware encryption, to the very secure AES-256 level. The US government has approved AES-256 encryption for use of classified documents up to ‘Top Secret' level.
Unless a back door is found into this unit - as happened with some of Kingston's range of encrypted USB flash drives recently - this is about as secure as it gets. Data into and out of the drive is encrypted on-the-fly, and only the correct PIN code will first open the drive for business.
To use the iStorage diskGenie, you first unclip a short tethered lead from its side and plug into a computer's USB port - any platform, any operating system - to power it up.
In use we often found the 10cm cable on the iStorage diskGenie to be a little short for easy use - for example, if you have your laptop on a stand more than three inches off the desk. There is an extension cable included, though, and with its double-USB male plugs on the PC end, this will be essential if your computer's USB ports are below the power spec. There's no additional DC power-in socket.
Once powered up, a LED under the 0 key lights up red. The first time you use it, you'll need to enter the default admin passcode of 123456.
You should then create your own admin passcode of between six and 16 digits. This done, it's possible to create up to ten ‘User' passcodes. The difference between them? If someone forgets their User passcode, it can be reset by entering into an Admin Mode, using the unit's Admin passcode; although you will lose all other User passcodes.
If you forget the Admin passcode, it is possible to totally reset the unit and reuse it; but this time you'll lose all the data on the drive, and put it back to a factory default condition.
To guard against brute-force attacks - that is, by a patient hacker trying every one of 10 quadrillion possible number combinations - the iStorage diskGenie only accepts 50 wrong attempts before locking down. At this point, no-one can get in until you enter a special seven-digit code provided in the instruction manual.
If 50 more unsuccessful attempts are then made, the drive locks completely. The only way to unlock it after this is to reset it, as if you'd lost the Admin passcode - with the same permanent lose of all data onboard.
Having two layers of control of the iStorage diskGenie does add complexity, but may be very useful in business environments.
An IT department, for example, can set an Admin passcode, and give the drive with a User passcode to an employee. As the employee cannot change his own passcode, let alone the Admin passcode, there's no chance of the company being locked out of its own device in the event the employee leaves and hands back a drive that has had its passcodes reset.
The flipside of this arrangement is potentially weaker overall security, as up to 11 different passcodes may be in circulation, any of which could unlock the device. For a single home user, a single Admin passcode alone should be sufficient for easy and secure use.
In our performance tests, the iStorage diskGenie recorded an average read speed up to 29MB/s, and write speeds up to 12MB/s. While these speeds are not especially quick, they are equivalent to non-encrypted USB hard drives, suggesting that the real-time encryption and decryption processes does not slow the transfer of data.
Join the newsletter!
cloudandco Smart Cane
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Apple iPhone X
Toys for Boys
Bose SoundLink Micro
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Xbox One X
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- 2 Acer Spin 5 review: Value for money but conditions apply
- 3 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 4 Sony LF-S50G review: Google Assistant and then some
- 5 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
Latest News Articles
- ICT Architects Still Command the Highest Advertised Salaries on SEEK
- Qantas to back startups in innovation push
- Google to ship Project Soli gesture development kits later this year
- Lenovo innovation goes on a break with Tab 4 Android tablets
- How TomTom opened up for innovation
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- CES 2018: Belkin go big on wearables accessories
- CES 2018: Alcatel Embrace 18:9 Aspect Ratio In 2018
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- CCSite Acquisition/ RF Engineer EngineerNSW
- CCFull Stack Developer (Angular / .Net)NSW
- CCSenior ICT Support OfficerACT
- FTProgram Delivery ManagerOther
- FTDesktop Support Level 2ACT
- CCProject Manager - InfrastructureWA
- FTNetwork EngineerSA
- FTHOGAN Technical ConsultantOther
- CCTableau DeveloperQLD
- FTInternal Communications ConsultantSA
- FTSenior Salesforce DeveloperNSW
- FTBig Data ArchitectOther
- CCSecurity Operations SpecialistQLD
- CCFunctional Business AnalystNSW
- FTProject ManagerACT
- FTNetwork AdministratorNSW
- CCLead Technical Specialist ? Storage & BackupsVIC
- FTLinux System AdministratorVIC
- CCSenior Test Automation Engineers x 3NSW
- TPOutlook Support AnalystsVIC
- FTIntegration Technical LeadOther
- FTSenior Consultant - .NET DeveloperQLD
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCTechnical ArchitectVIC
- CCIteration Manager - TelcoVIC