titleSo you do the smart thing, you backup your data from your laptop and your home PC to an external or network drive and go on with life feeling confident that you have gone well and above what most people do. For the most part, you did. What about when you’re traveling, have you seen how much abuse a device can take when on the go? For some people, and I know I’m one of them, some of the data you carry with you while traveling is more important than the laptop or device that you actually carry it on. In that situation you need a way to not have to worry about your data, no matter the situation, and to have a guarantee to back it up as well. The folks over at ioSafe focus specifically on this crowd. Not only do they offer products that are according to them build to handle almost anything, but they back it up with data recovery if something does happen.  Today we are going to take a look at that Rugged Portable hard drive to see what all of the fuss is about, without any more buildup, let’s dig in.


Product Name: ioSafe Rugged Portable

Review Sample Provided by: ioSafe

Review by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

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Data Recovery Service (DRS) and No-Hassle™ Warranty

• 1 Year Data Recovery Service (DRS) included – one time, any reason, no questions asked

• 1 Year No-Hassle™ Warranty included – replacement or repair for any defects or damage

• DRS includes accidental deletion, any damage, disasters or hardware failure

• Up to $2500 included for third party forensic recovery service if needed for DRS (HDD versions)

• Up to $5000 included for third party forensic recovery service if needed for DRS (SSD versions)

• 3 and 5 year upgrades for DRS and No-Hassle™ Warranty plans available at www.iosafe.com

Construction and Physical Security Speci?cations

Full Metal Jacket™ Technology – CNC machined enclosure from a solid billet of aluminum (Al) or titanium (Ti) alloy. Crush resistant to up to 5000 lbs (Ti) and  2500 lbs (Al) yet weighs as little as a pound (Al).

Full Suspension Drive™ Technology – Full suspension in all six axes of motion. Optimized for data loss protection from drop and shock of 20’ drops (SSD version) and 10’ drops (500 GB HDD version, 1TB HDD requires optional drive skin) per MIL-STD-810G Method 516.5.

HydroSafe™ Technology – Waterproof yet heat conducting barrier to protect against data loss up to 10’ for 3 days in fresh water or salt water (aluminum version)

or 30’ for 3 days (titanium version) per IP68. Protects data even when USB plug is in. No requirement for a connector cap to retain data protection.

ChemSafe™ Technology – Full immersion in diesel fuel, oils, hydraulic ?uids, aircraft fuels, 12” depth for 1 hour with no data loss per MIL-STD-810G Method 504

EnviroSafe™ Technology – Continuous exposure to UV, blowing sand, blowing dust, rain, salt fog, icing or freezing rain, 24 hours with no data loss per MIL-STD-810G Methods 505.4, 506.4, 509.4 and 510.

AltiSafe™ Technology – High altitude operation. 15K ft. (Alum.) and 30K ft. (SSD and Ti.) rated altitudes per MIL-STD-810G Method 500.4

Theft Resistant Kensington® Lock compatible slot solid metal construction – theft protection

Software Speci?cations (included but not required for use)

Genie Timeline™ Pro Full Version ($60 Value)  Award winning backup software. Simple, block level, open ?le and OS Continuous Data Protection (CDP) software for Windows users. Disaster recovery for entire hard drive including programs and settings, roll back and AES encryption features for the ultimate protection. Registration required at www.iosafe.com to validate purchase prior to downloading software and install code.

Apple® Mac® TimeMachine®  Supported – Apple Time Machine fully supported. Reformat of device may be required. Simple instructions online at www.iosafe.com

TrueCrypt® AES-256 Encryption Compatible - Open source, encryption software. FIPS 140-2, ISO/IEC 10118-3:2004. PC, Mac and Linux compatible.

Operational Details

5400 HDDs available, 500GB – 1TB capacities

• SSD capacities from 120GB-600GB

• Billet-machined Aluminum (1lb.) and Titanium (1.5 lb.) enclosures (3.9"W x 5.7"L x 1.0"H)

• Multi-platform compatibility with Mac & PC/Windows

• USB 3.0 (compatible with USB 2.0 computers)

Inside The Box

• ioSafe Rugged Portable + DRS

• USB 3.0 Cable (USB 3.0 version),

• USB Micro-B Y-Cable (for low powered USB 2.0 ports)

• Owners Manual and Warranty

System Requirements

• Intel Pentium II 350 Mhz-compatible or Mac G3 processor & greater

• For USB 3.0/USB 2.0 speeds, the system must support applicable speci?cations

Operating Environment

• Operating: 0 to 35°C (32 to 95°F) for HDD versions

• Operating: 0 to 40°C (32 to 104°F) for SSD versions

• Non-operating: -40°C to 65°C (-40 to 149°F) all versions

• Operating Humidity: 5% - 80% (non-condensing) all versions

• Non-operating Humidity: 100%, Full immersion, 10 feet, 3 days (Aluminum version)

• Non-operating Humidity: 100%, Full immersion, 30 feet, 3 days (Titanium version)


Right away, I love how the entire hard drive sticks out of the middle of the packaging while still being wrapped in a protective plastic. The rest of the packaging is fairly simple. It is white in color with a few important notes on the front. There is a list of everything this drive is protected from as well as a note about the included data recovery service that is included with the drive. That’s right, not only will this drive be protected from Drop, Crush, Saltwater, Sand, Rain, Altitude, and Chemicals, but if something does happen they will cover the cost of getting your data back.

Around back they have just gone into more detail on what each of those features includes as well as listing the product specifications. The only disappointing part here is the specs don’t show all of the specifications of this specific model (500 gb 5400 RPM), just specs you can see from other models.

Inside, along with the drive itself you have the user manual, the USB 3.0 cable, and an additional low power cable for use when USB 2.0 doesn’t have the amperage. Also to note is this large bright note placed on the drive, until you activate your drive you do not have data recovery covered. Make sure to activate the drive right away.

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Installing and setting up the Rugged Portable wasn’t any different than setting up any other portable hard drive. We had to activate the drive, as we spoke about in the packaging section, and then knowing we were covered by the data recovery protection we could hook it up and start moving important data over without worrying. Hooking the drive up required no power connections, only the one USB 3.0 cable. I know they included the Y cable for additional power, but all of the test benches here in the office gave us no trouble over USB 2.0. But if you have an older computer or laptop you may need the additional power. If this is your first USB 3.0 device it may take a little time getting used to the thin and wide connection at the device.

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When a product promises to hold up to almost anything it really is hard to come up with the best way to put that to the test. I found myself stuck on this review for some time trying to come up with the best way to put their claims to the test. I landed on our standard performance test then parking my car on top of the Rugged Portable. Let’s take a look at its performance.

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As you can see with a read and write speed of 120 MB/s this drive performs well above what you could expect with USB 2.0. Having said that, even before I tested the drive I was disappointed they went with a 5400 RPM hard drive that wouldn’t take advantage of the performance of USB 3.0 as much as a 7200 RPM or SSD would. After seeing the numbers my concern isn’t as great because 120MB/s is more than enough for every day tests and not to bad for backing up large amounts of data as well. Having said that, more is always better. You CAN pick up an SSD version under the name Rugged Portable SSD (a little obvious isn’t it) but you are out of luck if you want a 7200 RPM hard drive. This may be a limitation of the hard drives water proof design but in all of our testing we never noticed the Rugged Portable getting hot at all.

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So what kind of protection can you expect from the Rugged Portable and what should you avoid? There are two different versions of the Rugged Portable that will give you different protection levels. There is Titanium case and an Aluminum case. For our testing we are using the aluminum case. The first thing both shells get you is a level of crush protection. The Aluminum case coming in at 2500 pounds and the Titanium 5000 pounds.

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Beyond just crush protection you also have a case that is water proof up to 10 feet in the aluminum version and 30 feet with the titanium. What is most interesting about this to me is that the drive does not require a rubber plug in the USB port for it to be water proof. In fact it will still be protected if it is plugged in when it goes under water, although I don’t know if I would trust my USB cable to not short out as well because even though the drive is protected it would suck to fry a motherboard. Of course, I would take the hardware loss over data loss any day! To go along with the drive being water proof, it is also chemical resistant meaning if you dropped it into jet fuel you wouldn’t have issues as well. 

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ioSafe is quick to point out that the drive is what they call EnviroSafe, meaning you don’t have to worry about dust and dirt damaging the drive. Specifically you can actually leave the drive in blowing sand, blowing dust, rain, salt fog, icing or freezing rain as well as UV protection. This combined with the ability to run it in high altitudes (15K ft. (Alum.) and 30K ft. (SSD and Ti.)) mean you can use this drive in any conditions. I imagine this drive would be perfect for a BAJA racing for example with all of its protections.

For our testing we are going to pull a 1999 Dodge Stratus onto the Rugged Portable. The Stratus weighs around 3050 pounds with an additional 335 pounds of my weight on top of that for a total of 3400. Assuming around 70% of the cars weight is in the front we have 2380 on the front tires or 1190 per front tire. This is just an estimate and also doesn’t take into account that my body’s weight is on the driver’s side also. By placing the driver side front tire on the car we put around 1200 pounds in force on the top of the Rugged Portable, still half of what it is rated at but the highest weight we could put together at the time.  As you can see from the photos and the aftermath the drive help up great. Beyond the tire print on top that cleaned right off, the only damage to the enclosure at all was a few small dents on the underside from my garage floor.

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FV and Overall

Having seen what ioSafe could offer a few years ago at CES as well as this year with their tesla coil demonstration again at CES, I could tell right away that they stand behind their product and trust that it will hold up in the craziest situations. Between that and the data recovery guarantee that ioSafe puts on the Rugged Portable I expected it to hold up to our tests. What I was surprised about was the performance of the 5400 RPM hard drive inside of the enclosure. Paired with USB 3.0, the drive was able to reach speeds that we only saw on 7200 RPM drives just a few years ago. I expected my biggest complaint about the drive to be about its speed, and it’s true that I would still love to see this in a 7200 RPM version, but with a read and write speed of 120MB/s it will be more than enough for most activity’s. It still does seem a little crazy to make 7200 RPM an option and I hope this is something they consider in the future.  Beyond that the only other thing I would love to see considered is fire protection. ioSafe made their name originally focusing on fire protection of hard drives but this portable drive is not safe against fires. I’m sure this has everything to do with portability and weight, but it literally the only thing preventing this drive from being indestructible. But having said that I can’t fault ioSafe for not going to that extent, making the rugged portable fireproof would mean we would be carrying around a drive that is three times the size of the current enclosure that also weighs considerably more. I know that the next time I travel, considering how well the airlines take care of my baggage, I will be taking the Rugged Portable along with me.



*** ioSafe responeded about our concerns with the 5400 RPM hard drive**

"Speed is limited by a combination of the drive, the controller and the operating system. In most real-world situations, a 7400 RPM drive will provide either the exact same or only minimally better performance than a 5400. It's a trade-off - albeit a small one - but we think most people would rather a less expensive drive than a more costly one that may or may not deliver better performance."

Author Bio
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld replied the topic: #25034 08 May 2012 22:47
For those of you who have seen my luggage after a few flights, you will understand why I am planning on packing this to come along with me on future flights.

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