IoSafe Rugged Portable review: IoSafe Rugged Portable

The Rugged Portable doesn't require setup for use with a Windows computer: all you have to do is plug it in and it will work immediately, as the drive is preformatted using the NTFS file system. To use it with a Mac, however, you'll need to use Disk Utility to reformat it to HFS+, a quick and easy job.

At the bottom, the drive has a registration card affixed to it. You will need this card to register the drive with IoSafe to have the IoSafe Data Recovery Service activated. IoSafe says that with the service the company will pay up to $5,000, depending on which model you buy, to recover data if the drive is damaged for whatever reason. This service can be extended to three or five years. Registration will also offer Windows users a full version of the Genie9 Timeline Pro backup software, for free.

We tested the Rugged Portable with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. While the drive didn't blow us away, its performance certainly met expectations.

In USB 2.0 tests, the Rugged Portable scored 27.5MBps and 31.1MBps for writing and reading, respectively, putting it about in the middle of the drives we compared. The drive did similarly with USB 3.0, registering 83.7MBps for writing and 104.2MBps for reading, again landing right about the middle of the chart. At these speeds, the drive will make quick work of it when you need to transfer a large amount of storage.

In our trials, the Y-shaped USB 2.0 cable was indeed necessary with computers that don't support USB 3.0. If you try to use the drive with the USB 3.0 cable in a USB 2.0 port, the drive won't start up. You can use the Y-shaped cable with USB 3.0 ports, but at the expense of much lower performance. If you carry both cables, it reduces the advantage of the drive's portability. All other USB 3.0 portable drives we've reviewed can draw enough power from a single USB port, be it USB 2.0 or USB 3.0.

The drive remained cool during operation, but we could feel its subtle vibration. While we didn't have a chance to really test the limits of the drive's toughness, we did leave it underwater overnight and slammed it on a floor for a few times and it still worked fine afterward.

USB 2.0 hard-drive performance (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
LaCie FastKey
IoSafe SoloPro
LaCie Minimus USB 3.0
Clickfree C2N
Seagate GoFlex Slim
IoSafe Rugged Portable

USB 3.0 hard-drive performance (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Western Digital My Book 3.0
LaCie Minimus USB 3.0
LaCie FastKey
iOSafe Rugged Portable
Seagate GoFlex Slim
IoSafe SoloPro

Service and support
As with the SoloPro, IoSafe backs the Rugged Portable with a one-year warranty that includes the company's Data Recovery Service, which takes care of trying to get the data back for you if the drive stops working for any reason. If the hard drive is so badly damaged that expensive forensic recovery service is required, again, the warranty will cover up to $5,000 of the cost depending on which model you buy, and you can upgrade to a three- or five-year warranty for $50 or $100 respectively. Other than that, you probably won't need much support for the drive. Nonetheless, the company's toll-free technical phone support can be reached Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. At the company's Web site, you'll find FAQs, downloads, user guides, and other support materials.

If it could withstand extreme heat, the IoSafe Rugged Portable hard drive would be the best disaster-proof drive on the market. In its current state, however, the drive still makes an excellent investment for those who need to safeguard their data on the go or in extreme environments. Compared with IoSafe's bulky SoloPro, the compact Rugged Portable is a big step up in terms of design and portability.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Hard Drive Type external hard drive
  • Interface Type SuperSpeed USB 3.0
  • Capacity 500 GB
  • Spindle Speed 5200 rpm