Review: ioSafe Solo 500GB hard drive (fire and water proof)

Review: ioSafe Solo 500GB hard drive (fire and water proof)

When evaluating the purchase of an external hard drive, we are usually looking for a solution for 1. data backup, 2. availability of more space for file storage and / or 3. being able to take our documents wherever we want if you do not have a laptop Then, the solution is that (or a pendrive, usually more limited in capacity).

Regardless of the main reason for the acquisition, it is a very important factor that we must all take into account reliability / security of the data. Now, if we are going to bet on a product for security copies of documents, photos, videos, projects, etc., we can never make a choice based on price by choosing any brand, without credibility in the market.

IoSafe a newcomer to the segment is a name that does not sound like Western Digital, LaCie, Seagate, Toshiba or Iomega, for example. She could have followed the wave and launched just another beautiful and portable HD, but she preferred to differentiate herself with Solo, her first commercial product. The selling factor? It is fire and water proof.

We first talked about Solo in early November last year, when ioSafe launched a new 2TB model. That was just over a month before the company landed in Brazil and started a closer contact with us. Since then, we have had a 500GB Solo model in tests, and in the meantime we have also followed the launch of its new line with SSDs, which took place at CES 2010.

Developing a sturdy hard drive like this has its negative sides: the large Solo (12.7x18x27x9cm) and quite heavy (6.8kg), in addition to not being the most beautiful at least the aluminum housing, matching well with my MacBook Pro unibody. That is, the idea that the HD (inside it we have a Hitachi of 7,200RPM, good to note) is installed in a corner of your work area and there is acting as a storage center for important / confidential information.

The interface chosen by ioSafe was exclusively USB 2.0, which is not bad, considering that it offers good performance and overpopulation. However, I work here also with a My Book Premium Edition II of 1TB and I could not fail to compare them in this respect: the model of the WD triple-interface, that is, I can choose USB, FireWire 400 or FireWire 800, as well understand. It would only make sense for ioSafe to choose FireWire if its product was targeted specifically at Mac users, which otherwise it works perfectly on Mac OS X, Windows and Linux platforms.

While USB 3.0 does not spread in the market, 2.0 ends up losing in performance to the FW 800 theoretically, it is 480Mbps against 800Mbps. Check out a video that I recorded and edited showing the transfer of a 1.54GB file to the two hard drives, of the same MBP (but not simultaneously, the windows were recorded one at a time, and then joined):

As you can see, the FW 800 took 38 ″, while USB 2.0 took 43 ″ the small difference, but it represents ~ 13% more, which is not negligible. Still, inexplicably, I noticed that the FW did much better in the task of making backups via Time Machine, increasing the difference to up to 30% in my tests.

Apart from this relative small difference in performance, USB connectivity is as simple and practical as FW. Even originally formatted in MS-DOS (FAT), Solo was quickly recognized by my MBP and had no problem being reformatted to Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

I obtained full authorization from ioSafe to carry out stress tests with the Solo, but I chose to wait to evaluate it after possible natural occurrences, something that, for God's sake, I hope will never happen. Even because I would never be able to make and produce a video as cool as what the guys from Macworld did it last year, when they got the chance to put their hands on one.

Have a good time:

(youtube) (/ youtube)

Both the water test (HydroSafe technology: up to three meters deep for three days) and the fire test (DataCast technology: up to 840C for half an hour, according to ASTM E119 standards) placed the soil in similar situations as it would face in real life. Still, the drive itself remained intact and all data was accessible. I can't say the same about the carcass.

With Solo, one year insurance worth US $ 1,000 is included for data recovery after disasters and the replacement of the unit (this is the so-called DRS Data Recovery Service 1-Year can be extended for three or five years for $ 50 and $ 100, respectively). Regardless, the manufacturer offers a three-year general warranty against defects. It also has a physical protection against theft, called cable-lock.

See in the diagram below how it operates in normal situations:

On the official product support page, ioSafe explains how to convert Solo into a NAS (Network-Attached Storage), how to format it on Mac, explains if Solo is available in RAID configuration, talks about backup software and cites the protection of HD against theft.

In Brazil, the models with the hard disk of the ioSafe Solo line are already on sale: 500GB (R $ 1,590), 1TB (R $ 2,190), 1.5TB (R $ 2,590) and 2TB (R $ 2,990) R $ 3.18, R $ 2.19 , R $ 1.73 and R $ 1.50 per gigabyte, respectively. Soon, the company should announce the availability of models with SSD, but national prices have not yet been stipulated.

Solo doesn't really appeal for its beauty / portability, but it can be left hidden in a corner and perfectly fulfills its functions. The value per gigabyte is interesting and knowing that your data will be protected against the divine cold gives an extra layer of tranquility.