ioSafe Rugged Portable external hard drive

This drive is smashproof, crushproof, waterproof and almost-everythingproof

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ioSafe Rugged Portable
  • ioSafe Rugged Portable
  • ioSafe Rugged Portable
  • ioSafe Rugged Portable
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5


  • Rated against almost any calamity
  • Speedy USB 3.0 interface
  • Comes with $2500 data recovery


  • Pricier than a regular external drive
  • Bulky and heavy
  • Not fireproof

Bottom Line

ioSafe's Rugged Portable sacrifices a bit of bulk and weight to add some serious protection to a fast USB 3.0 hard drive. We put it through some grueling tests and it didn't skip a beat. If data reliability is important to you, we think this drive justifies its premium price tag.

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ioSafe Rugged Portable: Performance and reliabilty

We put the ioSafe Rugged Portable through a battery of ‘everyday’ tests to gauge its reliability, and we’re pleased to report that it survived every single one of them without as much as an errant noise or read/write error:

• We dropped it from desk height onto carpeted concrete three times, to simulate a few office accidents — not a problem.

• We repeated this from head height three times, onto bare concrete — still working without any issues.

• We dropped it down a bare concrete flight of fire stairs (trying to do the slinky trick, albeit poorly) — it spun up first time with no worries.

• We left it out in a puddle in the driving rain for a full day — and it worked perfectly.

• We drove over it in a station wagon, exerting about 425kg of pressure (a quarter of the car’s 1700kg weight) — not even a dent in the case.

After running these tests, we fully believe ioSafe’s claims about the Rugged Portable’s durability. These tests are about as extreme as we can imagine the drive going through during any average day. Whatever suspension system holds the drive, it does an extremely good job — we didn’t hear any problematic clicking noises after our testing, and HD Tune’s S.M.A.R.T check utility didn’t report any issues. We had the drive running for several hours continuously reading and writing data back and forth without problems.

ioSafe Rugged Portable hard drive review We thought the connector would be the weakest part of the Rugged Portable, but it's sturdy and can't be bent when connected.

The aluminium version of the ioSafe Rugged Portable comes with $2500 worth of data recovery included in the price, if you’re unlucky enough to break the drive while it’s operating within its specified limits. The drive also comes with a full version of the Genie Timeline Pro backup software included. These extras provide some more peace of mind beyond the already-impressive durability.

When it comes to actually using the drive, it’s more than capable. Being a USB 3.0 drive it’s able to transfer data far faster than a USB 2.0 external disk can, but it will also work with the older standard as well if USB 3.0 isn’t available.

We saw USB 3.0 read speeds of 97MBps and write speeds of 89MBps in our testing, with speeds dropping down to 34MBps read and 28MBps write when the drive was connected to USB 2.0. Real-world Windows 7 transfer testing on USB 3.0 reached a maximum of 82MBps read and 77MBps write with a 14GB folder of large video files taking just over three minutes to transfer from our test system to the Rugged Portable.

These results aren’t blazing fast — an SSD over USB 3.0 or eSATA will provide superior performance and more consistent results — but they’re more than fast enough for the majority of real-world use. We had no problems watching uncompressed Full HD video files from the disk, and no significant slow-downs using the drive as a scratch disk in Adobe Lightroom.

ioSafe Rugged Portable: Conclusion

The ioSafe Rugged Portable stood up to every potentially damaging test we subjected it to with no errors whatsoever, and it’s acceptably fast when plugged into a USB 3.0 port. These key factors are what make it worth the premium over other less impressively featured external hard drives.

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