ioSafe’s Solo G3 is the latest addition to the company’s line of fire- and water-proof hard drives, and is an updated version of the ioSafe Solo (). The Solo G3 has a new case design, replaces the USB 2.0 interface on the original Solo drive with USB 3.0, and has also gotten rid of the internal fan, allowing the G3 to operate in silence. The Solo G3 comes in 1TB, 2TB, and 3TB capacities and retails for $300, $350, and $400. respectively.
If you are seeking a portable drive, the Solo G3 is definitely not for you. At a sizeable 5.0-by-7.1-by-11.0 inches and weighing 15 pounds, this drive is meant to be stationary. However, the bulk is part of what provides the Solo G3 with its unparalleled durability, allowing it to withstand 1550-degree (Farenheit) temperatures for up to a half hour, and be submerged in up to 10 feet of water for three days without any data loss. [Editor’s note: though we did not torture test the Solo G3, we did so with the Solo, and we have a video of the torture tests.]
If anything ever happens to your data within a year from the date of purchase, ioSafe provides a service that will perform a full data recovery without having to pay a deductible. You’ll have to pay a deductible if you need to perform the service more than once. ioSafe also offers three- and five-year data recovery service plans.
The Solo G3 may have upgraded to USB 3.0, but it’s the only interface that the drive has, so unless you have a USB 3.0 ExpressCard for your 17-inch MacBook Pro, or a USB 3.0 PCI card for your Mac Pro, you won’t get the speed benefits of USB 3.0. We tested the Solo G3 on USB 2.0, and its transfer speeds were average in comparison to other USB 2.0 drives. In the AJA System Test, the drive had a 27.7 MBps write score, and a 34.5 MBps read score. To write and read a 10GB file, the Solo G3’s transfer speeds were 28 MBps and 35.8 MBps respectively, while it had a write speed of 26.7 MBps and 32 MBps to write and read a 10GB folder. Through all of these tests, the Solo G3 tested just 1 or 2 MBps faster than WD’s My Passport for Mac () and as well as Iomega’s Helium ().
The Solo G3’s USB 3.0 transfer speeds were more impressive, falling somewhere in between the FireWire 800 and Thunderbolt speeds of other drives of similar capacity. To test the USB 3.0 interface, we used a Sonnet USB 3.0 Express Card/34 with our 17-inch MacBook Pro and yielded a write speed of 117.6 MBps, and read speed of 120.9 MBps in the AJA System Test. When transferring a 10GB file, the Solo G3 had a write speed of 120.4 MBps and a read speed of 123 MBps. Furthermore, when writing a 10GB folder, the Solor G3’s transfer speed was 86.5 MBps, and 105.9 MBps to read the same folder. Generally speaking, these speeds are a bit faster than FireWire800, but about half the speed as Thunderbolt.
Macworld’s buying advice
If you are paranoid about a natural disaster or a freak accident destroying your beloved files, then the Solo G3 may be the perfect storage solution for you. Not only is it fire- and water-proof, but ioSafe also provides free data recovery service for up to a year. However, with its average test times, single interface, and bulky design, unless you need a military-grade hard drive that is proven to withstand the elements, there are many less expensive, more compact and flexible drives on the market.
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