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IoSafe Rugged Portable review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £160
inc VAT

Expensive, but the capable security features make this a worthwhile investment if data protection is important


500GB hard disk, USB3, 25x99x144mm

We’ve already looked at the super-secure IoSafe Solo 1TB this month, but ioSafe doesn’t just produce desktop external hard disks – its Rugged Portable drive has many of the same security features and much of the Solo’s hard-wearing design, but has a fast USB3 connection instead of the Solo’s slower USB2 bus. We reviewed the 500GB version, and a 1TB model is available for £240.

The drive’s clean lines make it a good-looking model, and as with the Solo, we can’t fault the build quality. There’s no give or flex in any part of the case, and it certainly feels strong enough to stand up to being bounced around in a bag.

IoSafe Rugged Portable

The range of data protection features is impressive. The only significant omission from the desktop Solo drive’s protection suite is the fire-resistant insulation – the Rugged Portable still offers up to three days of water protection at a submerged depth of up to ten feet.

IoSafe makes up for the lack of fire protection with strengths in other areas. The drive is protected from being crushed by up to 2,500lbs of force thanks to the strong aluminium shell, and the drive inside is suspended at six suspension points, which ioSafe claims will protect the Rugged Portable from a ten foot drop.

We can vouch for these, as the drive still works after being dropped, dunked and stood upon, but that’s not the end of its talents. Immersion in fuels and oils up to twelve feet deep won’t phase the Rugged Portable, and sand, dust or rain won’t harm it either – as long as it’s not left in extreme conditions for more than twenty four hours. And, finally, it’s able to function at altitudes of up to 15,000 feet, just in case.

IoSafe Rugged Portable

The drive has a USB3 connection, but the 5,400rpm disk inside means it’s not quite as fast as the Iomega Prestige Mobile external disk (see Editor’s Choice below). In our large file benchmarks the ioSafe wrote and read large files at 64MB/s and 76MB/s, and the Iomega managed 73MB/s and 115MB/s in the same tests. The situation didn’t improve in our small file benchmarks, either: the Rugged Portable wrote and read files at 24MB/s and 40MB/s, but the Iomega outpaced it with results of 62MB/s and 48MB/s respectively.

You’ll pay the price for the Rugged Portable’s security features, too: its £160 price translates to 34p per gigabyte, with the Iomega coming in at £47 for the same capacity – or just 10p per gigabyte.

Like IoSafe’s Solo 1TB, though, the Rugged Portable isn’t built for value or speed – it’s built for safety and security. With that in mind, the broad range of security features make this perfect if you need to protect data while on the move.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****


Hard disk Seagate Momentus ST9500
Capacity 500GB
Formatted capacity 465
Price per gigabyte £0.32
Disk size 2.5in
Interface USB3
Power connector USB from host
Spindle speed 5400rpm
Cache 8MB
Weight 450g
Size 25x99x144mm
Power consumption idle N/A
Power consumption active N/A

Buying Information

Backup software included Genie Timeline Pro
Price £160
Warranty One-year RTB

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