As a “Digital Nomad”, keeping my files, photos and miscellaneous digital ramblings safe is kind of a big deal. I make my living via my laptop and the prospect of losing my data is a very real concern.
When my Macbook Pro finally decided to give up the ghost, I was lucky in that I was able to recover the majority of my photos, emails and design files. Unfortunately, they were scattered all over the place after being salvaged by software that just dumped everything into random folders named “00085″ and such. There are over 5,000 such folders — not terribly convenient.
Enter the ioSafe Rugged Portable Hard Drive. When ioSafe contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in testing one of their drives, I was still dealing with the aftermath of the HD meltdown and the idea of a bomb-proof uber-drive sounded pretty appealing.
What do I mean by bombproof? How about a drive that can be submerged in 30 feet of water for 3 days and still work? Or be driven over by a two-ton truck? Drop it from twenty feet? No problem. Hell, you can soak it in diesel for an hour and still not lose data. This thing is a tank.
If you’re hiking the Inca trail, this drive is rated at use over 15,000 feet — which is probably more than your laptop drive can handle, so don’t get carried away. And if you do manage to break it, ioSafe promises up to $5,000 credit towards recovery service support.
And as far as I can tell, this little monster lives up to the claims. It’s a veritable brick of solid aluminum, a true ‘black box’ for your computer. The test model I received is a 500GB drive — a bit small, capacity-wise, compared to modern portable drives.
I partitioned mine, creating a 100GB space that houses a full copy of my system, then setting the other 400GB to be devoted to backups. This will be my “if all else fails” backup drive. Other than weekly visits to my laptop for backup, this baby is going to ride in the bottom of my main pack.
Did I submerge it underwater for 3 days? No. But I did drop it from 8 feet or more and stomped on it, only to find that it worked as normal — no loss of files or problems mounting the drive.
I there is one weakness of using this drive while traveling, it’s weight. This bad boy weighs over a pound and it is noticeably heavier than my other drives. The tradeoff is durability, obviously, but carrying a 500GB drive that weighs as much as 2 drives sporting over 4 terabytes in capacity does chafe a bit. I’m sure capacity will continue to scale up.
Armored cars tend to weigh more as well, so the added heft is no surprise. If you move around and you have files that you absolutely don’t want to lose –or can’t afford to lose– then I recommend giving the ioSafe a look.
At $250 for a 500GB drive, it isn’t the cheapest and it’s certainly not the lightest drive available. But the weight it will lift from your shoulders just might be priceless.