Maxtor Black Armor review: Maxtor Black Armor

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MSRP: $169.99

The Good Hardware encrypted storage protection, convenient host and traveler modes.

The Bad Expensive; sluggish transfer speeds; lacks FireWire; boring design.

The Bottom Line The impenetrable Maxtor Black Armor is the Fort Knox of external hard drives, but the added security comes at a hefty price tag. This device might appeal to those who need the most protection possible, but the competition offers more space for less money.

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5.7 Overall
  • Setup 6
  • Features 6
  • Performance 5
  • Support 7

Editors' note: The final rating of this review has been updated to reflect a discrepancy in calculation. None of the individual scores have changed.

We're not surprised to see the Maxtor Black Armor emerge in a time when so much confidential data is transported by external hard drives. The 160GB Black Armor drive ($150) is a portable storage device with built-in Advanced Encryption Standard hardware-based encryption to prevent digital theft. Unfortunately, this added security comes at a significantly higher cost per gigabyte. Unless you need an external storage device with the highest level of data protection, we recommend looking to a more wallet-friendly drive.

Drive type External Hard Drive
Connector options USB 2.0
Available capacities 160GB
Capacity of test unit 160GB
Drive size 2.5-inch
Drive speed 5400rpm
Cache 8MB
Dimensions (LWH) 0.67x3.32x5.17 inches
OSes supported Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate, Business or Microsoft Windows XP Home, Professional, Media Center Edition
Software included Maxtor Manager software

Design and features
The Black Armor drive isn't going to win any design contests; it's just a 5.17 inch by 3.32 inch black rectangle with a few silver accents and a small reflective strip on the front. The top of the drive has a single exposed USB 2.0 port for connecting to your computer, but, sadly, there's no FireWire.

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