A little expensive, but the Solo is as tough as nails and comes with a fine range of security features that make it ideal for data protection
1000 hard disk, USB, 180x127x279mm
External hard disks usually aren’t much bigger than the hard drives they hold, but we certainly couldn’t say that for ioSafe’s Solo – this 1TB drive is one of the largest we’ve seen. It contains a single 1TB hard disk (a 2TB version is available for £190), but is 279mm long, 180mm tall and weighs almost 7kg. The reason for its size is that the disk inside is surrounded by armor and insulation which make it fireproof and waterproof, so it will protect your data even if your house burns down.
The fireproof aspect is achieved by the use of insulation inside the Solo’s case. This releases water vapour when the internal temperature hits 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which evaporates to reduce the temperature and keep the disk inside as cool as possible. ioSafe claims data is protected for half an hour at temperatures up to 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit. The insulation certainly stood up well to a blowtorch during ioSafe’s demonstration of the disk.
The drive is waterproof, too, for up to 72 hours at a depth of up to ten feet. The drive worked fine while fully submerged in our tests. There’s also a metal lug at the bottom, which allows the drive to be attached to any surface to help prevent theft.
The Solo also comes with an additional safety net: a Data Recovery Service. It’s a one-year service alongside the standard three-year warranty, and protects data from any software and hardware faults that might cause data loss. The service is eligible for one use over the one-year period, and ioSafe will provide up to $1,000 of forensic data recovery as well as a replacement Solo drive should it be needed – pre-loaded with the recovered data.
It’s possible to add an additional two years of Data Recovery Service to the Solo; you can pay $50 for two more years of service, and another $100 to add five years of recovery service. Even with the base one-year service, the Solo is expensive for a 1TB drive – our favourite Buffalo DriveStation Velocity, is just £75 for the 1TB version.
The Buffalo drive is much quicker, too, thanks to its USB3 interface. In the large file benchmark the ioSafe wrote files at 31MB/s and read them at 32MB/s, while the Buffalo managed 105MB/s and 152MB/s in the same tests. There’s also a significant gap in our small file tests: the Solo wrote small files at 15MB/s and read them at 19MB/s, with the Buffalo running through our write and read benchmarks at 31MB/s and 43MB/s.
Its USB2 interface, price and sheer bulk count against the ioSafe Solo, but this 1TB drive is a specialised product with a specific purpose – and some very tough conditions – in mind. If you’re searching for a product that will protect your data no matter what, the Solo’s premium price is one worth paying.
|Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C
|Price per gigabyte
|Power consumption idle
|Power consumption active
|Backup software included