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ioSafe Rugged Portable review
Posted on 19-Mar-2012 16:37 by M Freitas | Tags Filed under: Reviews

It is incredible the number of people I know who have no backup of any of their data, at all. I have a multi front strategy for backup: local backup provides very fast access to any file, while an online backups provides the security we need, just in case something bad happens to the local backup (drops, burglary, hardware failures).

I understand not everyone will have the option of using an online backup - with the New Zealand reality of slow upload speeds, costly data caps and more - but there's very little excuse to not having at least a local backup.

And while at that, external hard drives are most likely to be the "weapon of choice" - most non-tech/geek people won't have time or desire to configure home servers, NAS storage and so on.

A couple of weeks ago I received the ioSafe Rugged Portable device for testing. I was originally contacted by the US manufacturer, who put me in contact with the New Zealand distributor who in turn arranged to have one sent for review.

Except for fire (which is something a different ioSafe model can help with), the ioSafe Rugged Portable can withstand extreme environments and threats.

First, the build. Its case is a CNC machined enclosure made from a solid billet of aluminium (in my case) or titanium alloy. The aluminium case I have here is crush resistant to up to 1.1 tons (2,500 lbs) while the titanium case resists up to 2.3 tons (5,000 lbs).

The drive meets MIL-STD-810 and IP specifications, including the following:

- full HDD suspension inside the case, protecting against 10' drops (MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5 Shock)
- waterproof up to 10' for three days in fresh or salt water (IP68)
- full immersion protection in diesel, oils, hydraulic fluids up to 12' for one hour (MIL-STD 810F Method 504 Contamination by Fluids)
- protection against UV exposure, sands, dust, rain, salt fog, ice or freezing rain for 24 hours (MIL-STD 810F Method 505.4 Solar Radiation, MIL-STD 810F Method 506.4 Rain, MIL-STD 810F Method 509.4 Salt Fog and MIL-STD 810F Method 510.4 Sand and Dust)

On top of these it comes with a Kensington lock slot, so you can easily attach it to a secure surface for theft protection.

Right, so this is all good in the paper, how does it do in real life? Surely I don't have how to test all those standards, but I tried something that could, well, possibly happen: running over the ioSafe Rugged Portable with a car, leaving the drive outside in the rain, dropping it in a bucket full of water... Here is a video:

The case is beautiful. Seriously, even though it's something you won't be touching a lot, it feels really nice, solid. After my "car running over it test" the case came up a little scratched underneath, but seriously nothing more than cosmetic stuff (as you can see in the video and photos below).

Being in Wellington, and writing this in a rainy day, I decided to leave the ioSafe Rugged Portable outside today, as you can see below. And as as expected it worked after being soaked in the rain for a couple of hours. I even performed the speed test after it being outside:

As I wrote before, the ioSafe Rugged Portable is not fireproof - this is something their next product in line offers - so despite many requests from Geekzone users, I did not set this drive on fire.

There's nothing different about using the ioSafe Rugged Portable, it just acts like another external drive. The difference here is the USB 3.0 support (with backwards USB 2.0 high speed support), and a couple of complimentary software you receive when your unit is registered. This include Genie Timeline, a continuous data protection backup software that keeps an image of your PC constantly updated on the storage device.

The ioSafe Rugged Portable I have here came with a 500 GB 5400 RPM Seagate hard drive and despite the capacity it does not require an external power source - just the USB port power is enough to keep the drive running nicely. There's an option for SSD storage as well.

Unfortunately I don't have a USB 3.0 adapter here, so couldn't test exactly that. But when using USB 2.0 I did not see any noticeable difference between this drive and an external Seagete Desktop drive, with both giving very similar results.

The drive comes with a one year, one time use, data recovery service covering up to US$ 5,000 for forensic data recovery (depending on model and . I haven't used it, but reading the documentation tells me a replacement hardware is sent pre-loaded with recovered data from the old unit.

- it's really tough
- it looks beautiful
- great warranty service
- available in New Zealand now

- All that rugged adds a bit of weight so plan to adding an extra 400g to your backup if you are taking the drive with you in your next adventure.

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