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Silicon Power Armor A60 review: A tough and fast portable drive for a friendly price

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The Good The Silicon Power Armor A60 portable drive is fast and affordable. The drive can also withstand drops and dust and is water-resistant.

The Bad The drive doesn't use a traditional Micro-USB 3.0 cable, it includes no backup software and is slightly bulkier than its peers.

The Bottom Line The Silicon Power Armor A60 is a great deal for those needing a portable drive that can withstand rough handling and tough environments.

8.0 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Support 8

With a sustained speed of more than 110MBps, the USB 3.0 Silicon Power Armor A60 is faster than most portable hard drives on the market. That, plus the fact it's also rugged and water-resistant, makes the drive an excellent buy.

Yet, the drive isn't perfect, due to its comparatively bulky design and especially the use of an A-to-A USB cable (instead of the popular A-to-B standard cable.) But if you work in a harsh environment, the drive's friendly price of $70 (£63) for 1TB or $105 (£104) for 2TB more than makes up for these minor shortcomings.

For even more options for portable drives, check out this list of top desktop external hard drives on the market.

silicon-power-armor-9594-019.jpg
The Armor A60 has a cable management design that helps keep the included USB cable with the drive. Josh Miller/CNET

Design

Measuring 5.5 inches by 0.9 inch by 3.4 inches (14 x 2.3 x 8.6 cm) the Armor A60 is slightly larger than a typical portable bus-powered drive, but for a good reason. It has a layer of protection.

Similar to the LaCie Rugged drive, the A60's edges are covered with a soft rubber shell to protect it from drops and there's a lid that keep its USB port safe from moisture and dust. Silicon Power says the drive meets the US military MIL-STD-810G standard in terms of ruggedness and is compliant with the IPX4 splash-resistant specification. Basically it's designed to survived harsh conditions and can keep the data safe from water splashes from all angles for at least five minutes. Note that the drive is not waterproof. You can't submerge it in water for a long period of time, but it should survive if you leave it out in the rain.

The A60 has a nifty way to store its included USB cable. Around the edges, there's a groove that holds the cable when not in use. Unfortunately, the cable is a bit longer than the groove, so its ends stick out a bit.

Drive type Bus-powered portable hard drive
Connector options USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Available capacities 1TB, 2TB
Capacity of test unit 1TB
Dimensions (LWH) 5.5 x 0.9 x 3.4 inches (14 x 2.3 x 8.6 cm)
Weight 9 ounces (255 grams)
OSes supported Windows XP or later, Mac OS 10.4 or later
Warranty 3 years

Like the case of the Armor A80, the Armor A60 uses a male-A-to-male-A USB 3.0 cable. The majority of USB devices on the market use a standard male-A-to-male-B USB cable. ( Read more about USB standards and cables here.) The good thing about using this type of cable is you won't need to figure which end goes to the host computer and which end goes to the drive, since they are both the same. However, if you misplace this cable, it's going to be hard to find another one readily available. So far, Silicon Power is the only storage vendor I've seen that uses this type of cable for its portable drives.

To work with the cable, the A60 has one USB 3.0 A-female port -- similar to a USB 3.0 port found on a computer. (Most other portable drives have a B-female port to work with a standard USB cable.)

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