Review: ioSafe Rugged Portable hard drive 500 GB for USB 2 + 3, FW 800
November 11, 2011 by Bill Palmer
by Bill Palmer
External hard drives are among the most fragile consumer products on the market. Knock it off your desk, and there’s a good chance your data is gone as soon as it hits the floor. Travel with a portable one, and well, you’d better do a good job of protecting it. ioSafe tries to change that with the Rugged Portable, a 500 GB external hard drive for $199, also available in a full terabyte (1000 GB) version for an extra two hundred bucks. While not necessarily any bigger than any other portable hard drive, this one is caked in a hefty metal outer body which aims to keep the fragile drive inside in good shape.
Tempted as I was to stunt-test the Rugged Portable by running it over with my car or tossing it off my balcony, I was left to conclude that these aren’t the accidents which typically happen with external drives. So instead, I dropped it from desk height onto the floor several times, and then for the real test, tossed it (without any protection) into my suitcase and left it in the hands of the TSA and the airline for 2500 miles and back. The verdict? Keeps on ticking. I can speak from personal experience that the desk-height drops alone would have killed any other external drive I’ve owned. So I’m sold on this product.
The flipside is solely in the price to storage ratio. The other (far more fragile) external drives are 1000 GB each, and none of them cost more than a hundred bucks. Contrast that with the 500 GB Rugged Portable, which costs twice that and holds only half as much. The supersized version does reach the 1000 GB, but at four hundred dollars. In other words, you’re paying quite a bit extra for the super sturdiness of the Rugged Portable. If you’re not a klutz, if you’ve never knocked an external drive off your desk, if you don’t travel with your drive, then you’re paying for extra protection you don’t need. But if you’ve tossed one too many external drives in the trash over the years because they took a physical blow – or worse, lost the data on them because of it – then the Rugged Portable is a godsend.
Technical notes: depending on which model you opt for, this product can connect via USB 2.0, FireWire 800, or USB 3.0 (for most of you, that means USB 2.0).
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 • Price: $199 and $399 • iosafe.com