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IoSafe Rugged Portable review: Anger management alternative

CNET editor Dong Ngo gives his take on IoSafe's disaster-resistant portable hard drive, the Rugged Portable.

The Rugged Portable disaster-resistant USB 3.0 external hard drive from IoSafe and the hand that's about to slam it.
The Rugged Portable disaster-resistant USB 3.0 external hard drive from IoSafe and the hand that's about to slam it. Dong Ngo/CNET

Admit it! Sometimes you are so mad, you just want to slam something on the floor, step on it, and then kick it a few times. I know a friend who did just that with his portable drive only to later regret losing data and hurting his big toe. If only he had had the IoSafe Rugged Portable, his data would have been safe. His toe's another story, however.

First introduced at CES 2011 with a bang (quite a few bangs, actually), IoSafe's Rugged Portable is the first mobile external hard drive that can really withstand serious beatings and abuse. The drive can handle drops, water submersion, dust, chemicals, and being crushed by a vise. I have personally shot at it with a shotgun--at a demo, not out of anger--and it didn't break.

This means that if you happen to drop it in the street and the thing gets run over by cars, chances are it will survive quite easily. As a matter of fact, the only situation it seems the Rugged Portable won't survive is extreme heat, which its brother the IoSafe SoloPro can handle. To make up for this, the Rugged Portable is about 15 times more compact and lighter. The drive is slightly smaller than a 3.5-inch internal hard drive and weighs about 1 pound. It's designed to be carried around, while the SoloPro is meant to be used at home only.

As an external hard drive, the Rugged Portable supports USB 3.0 and is bus-powered. It does require separate cables for USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, however, as its USB 3.0 cable doesn't draw enough power from just one USB 2.0 port. In our testing, it was as fast as we have come to expect from USB 3.0 drives.

As with its other products, IoSafe backs the Rugged Portable with a one-year hassle-free warranty, which can be upgraded to five years, and it's sugar-coated with a data recovery plan that covers up to $5,000 in recovery costs. The company says it will honor the warranty if the drive or data it contains is damaged for whatever reason. This means you don't really have to maintain your composure when owning one.

The IoSafe Rugged Portable is available in 256GB, 500GB, 750GB, and 1TB capacities that cost $150, $250, $300 and $400, respectively. While it's significantly more expensive than other portable drives of the same capacities, it does offer the kind of peace of mind that others generally can't. Note that the IoSafe won't compensate you for broken toes, however, and trust me, those aren't fun.

For more information on the drive before deciding if you'll need one for yourself, check out the full review of the IoSafe Rugged Portable.