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Backing up your hard drive is important. But even the most rigorous backup plan isn’t going to help if your house floods--or worse, catches on fire. In a true disaster, even your triple-redundant RAID backup system isn’t likely to be much help. With dark days like that in mind, ioSafe’s line of fireproof, waterproof externals might be big and bulky, but they promise to withstand even the toughest data disasters.
Photography by Mark Madeo
At 5x7.1x11 inches and 15 pounds, the Solo isn’t going to be mistaken for any old desktop drive. The steel enclosure tells you this drive means business. Our benchmarks uncovered read and write speeds of 36.85 and 26.98 MB/s from the 7200 RPM drive, making it fine for use as your working drive. But this sucker is the Mr. T of hard drives--it sure ain’t pretty, but it’s pretty tough. ioSafe guarantees the Solo to withstand a 1550°F fire for up to 30 minutes, thanks to heavy heat-absorbing plates that surround the drive mechanism. It’s also sealed inside a waterproof pouch, able to survive 10 feet of water for up to 72 hours. So of course, we couldn’t wait to try to destroy it.
To test its mettle, we dumped a bunch of data onto the Solo, lugged it to San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, and pitched it into a bonfire. The power switch, fan, USB port, and other plastic components quickly melted away, but the metal case stayed intact. After it cooled, we also tossed the charred Solo into a bucket of water and left it overnight. Check out video of our fire-tastic test below.
The drive features a data-recovery guarantee--ship your drive off to ioSafe after a disaster, and they’ll recover your data to a new drive. Being geeks, we couldn’t wait that long. The next day, we took the case apart, removing the drive mechanism and plugging it into a new enclosure. All our data was still there, no worse for wear. That’s just plain cool.
Follow this article's author, Ray Aguilera, on Twitter.
The ioSafe Solo does a great job of protecting irreplaceable data from serious threats. You’ll pay a slight premium for that peace of mind, but aren’t your kid’s baby pictures worth it?
PRICE: $149.99 as tested (prices vary with capacity and length of Data Recovery Service)
REQUIREMENTS: USB port
Available in 500GB to 2TB capacities. Great fire and flood protection.
Base models only include one year of Data Recovery Service (3- and 5-year upgrades cost $49.99 and $99.99).