One of the more rugged indestructible hard drives available to consumers; large storage capacity; easy to configure; data recovery included in purchase price
Currently no RAID options; no FireWire (although eSATA is available)
$475 (1TB); $575 (1.5TB); $675 (2TB)
Choosing an external hard drive isn’t an easy task. There are lots of different models to choose from, and many are essentially the same except for the capacity.
One important consideration is the form factor of the hard drive. Many users opt for portable drives that are easy to move around, but portable drives are often more susceptible to failure.
However, a new drive called the ioSafe SoloPRO, to be introduced to Australia in early 2011, is the world’s only business-class fireproof and waterproof hard drive. You can call it Rambo.
Billed as ‘an aircraft black box for data’, ioSafe says the SoloPRO ‘provides rugged, fireproof, waterproof hardware and disaster recovery services as a cost-effective way for corporations and consumers alike to protect their irreplaceable data’.
The drive, to be available in 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB capacities, is a single 3.5 SATA disk mounted in a fireproof and waterproof case with quiet forced air cooling. This drive is as tough as they get, as evidenced by the disaster and security specifications.
The SoloPRO is rated as being able to withstand heat of 850 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes and can be submerged in up to 3m of water for three days. If you’re not concerned with its fire and water rating then you might be interested in the Kensington lock compatibility that provides physical protection from theft.
The drive doesn’t provide RAID redundancy, however, but comes instead with a data recovery service of up to $2500 value should your disk crash, plus an advanced replacement service.
In my opinion, having RAID redundancy is probably a more important feature for folks at home as the likelihood of hard drive failure is more probable than storm or fire damage for most of us. I wouldn’t be surprised to see ioSafe release a RAID version of the drive in the near future.
You connect the SoloPRO to your computer via USB, or eSATA if you have a PC. The drive is also compatible with the newly released USB 3.0 specification.
I have been testing the ioSafe for more than a month now, plugged into my Airport and shared on the network. While I can’t personally vouch for the fireproof and waterproof ability I can tell you the drive is certainly rugged (weighing in at 6kg) and feels as reliable as hard drives come.
Unlike mere mortal drives, the ioSafe comes with a three-year manufacturer’s warranty for defects as standard, with an upgrade available when you buy an additional data recovery service warranty (it comes standard with one year).
Australian Macworld’s buying advice
The ioSafe SoloPRO is one of the toughest and rugged hard drives on the market. However, behind its physical toughness lies a single vulnerable hard drive. For those worried more about data security ioSafe should offer a RAID option as well, but if your main concern is about the integrity of the hard drive case then it’s tough to go past the SoloPRO.
This review originally appeared in the November issue of Australian Macworld magazine.