ioSafe has achieved a reputation for producing tough-as-nails hard drives. Meant to survive conditions that standard hard drives cannot—namely fires and floods—an ioSafe drive such as the SoloPro may be ideal when you’re worried about the worst thing imaginable happening to your home.
According to ioSafe’s Website, the SoloPro is fireproof up to 1550 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 30 minutes. While that may not sound like a very long time, what ioSafe is saying is that at ever the most intensive fires, it can keep working. Longer exposures to lighter temperatures, presumably, wouldn’t affect the drive—though we have not confirmed this.
Similarly, ioSafe claims the drive can keep ticking in up to 10 feet of water for 72 hours. That’s a long time to maintain the integrity of a drive in a flood situation. The secret, as we discovered in our review of the Solo (), is an airtight seal that wraps around the drive itself. This seal is encased in a heat resistant set of blocks that are heavy, sturdy, and “sweat” when presented with heat.
Our tests only simulated light fire damage with a flamethrower and being dunked into a fountain. But the system, we imagine, could hold true for harsher conditions as well. Just don’t expect the device’s fan or ports to survive the endeavor.
Behind all of this, ioSafe has a pretty stellar Data Recovery Service. For the first year, if you ever need to recover from your drive after fire, flood, or whatever, you ship it to ioSafe and they’ll recover it for you. You can use this service once, no questions asked. It’ll also cover up to $2500 for forensic recovery and a replacement unit preloaded with recovered data. That’s a heck of a system, especially paired with a three-year warranty. The company also offers 3- and 5-year Data Recovery Service plans, at an additional cost.
Last time we had an ioSafe drive in our hands, we tortured the Solo model with a full regime of flame and water tests, and while we found the drive plenty sturdy, we were concerned by the lack of speed and small hard drive capacity. ioSafe has taken care of the capacity by now offering a 1TB model.
But the SoloPro is still an USB-only desktop drive, so don’t expect it to set any speed records. That said, the drive turned in surprisingly sturdy results with its Read 2GB Folder, Write 2GB Folder, Read LargeFile.zip, and Write LargeFile.zip tests— all best in class, in fact. With a Read 2GB Folder score of 31.3MBps, the ioSafe Pro is on par with CalDigit AV Drive (), our top performer, when that drive was tested with its USB connection. Even the SoloPro’s low-memory Photoshop score, at 31.3MBps, is good. The SoloPro’s AJA read score (38.4MBps) is the best we’ve ever tested for a USB desktop drive.
The SoloPro also comes equipped with eSATA, and you can opt for USB 3.0— so in addition to being secure and fast for a USB drive, ioSafe has ensured the drive can address the needs of even performance-centered users.
At $250, the SoloPro has competitive pricing. While $.25 per gigabyte may seem a bit pricey compared to other desktop drives, the amount of security the SoloPro provides should place it in contention with other drives with similar capacities and connection types.
ioSafe SoloPro 1TB
Higher scores are better, except for Low-memory Photoshop (lower Photoshop scores are better).
How we tested. We ran all tests with the drive connected to a Mac Pro dual quad core 2.66GHz Xeon 5400 with Mac OS X 10.6.5 installed and 3GB of RAM. We tested the drive with each available port. We copied a folder containing 2GB of data from our Mac’s hard drive to the external hard drive to test the drive’s write speed, then copied it back from the external hard drive to test the write speed. We then duplicated the same process with .ZIP file containing 2GB of data. We also used the drive as a scratch disk when running our low-memory Adobe Photoshop CS3 Suite test. This test is a set of tasks performed on a file of RAW images, with Photoshop’s memory set to 25 percent. AJA System Tests are run at a video frame size of 1920×1080 pixels, with a file size of 2GB.—Macworld Lab testing by McKinley Noble
Macworld’s buying advice
Desktop drives either provide security one of two ways—by maintaining the integrity of your data through redundancy (RAID, cloud, or offsite backups) or by ensuring that nothing physically could happen to your drive. The former is great for most users, but is mostly useless in case of natural disaster. While the industry moves towards more offsite backups, a sturdy, secure drive in house can still serve a purpose. If your Internet connection is ever severed or you encounter domestic hazards like fire and flood, the SoloPro is a reliable line of defense.
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