Gadling Gear Review: ioSafe Rugged Portable hard drive

ioSafe Rugged Portable Drive

2011 may go down as (yet another) “year of the cloud”, but that doesn’t mean the cloud is the solution to everything. On my travels, I rely on Dropbox, Google Music, Amazon Music and Sugarsync to provide instant access to my files, but the “instant” part relies heavily on having access to reliable and speedy Internet access. Since speedy Internet can be just as hard to find in downtown Las Vegas as it is in downtown Tallinn, I also trust locally stored files on a good old hard drive and a variety of USB drives.

Of course, the biggest risk of carrying a hard drive is always going to be physical damage – the thing is after all designed around rotating platters with magnetic heads floating micrometers above them. To combat this, there is the rugged drive. One of the most popular names in rugged storage is ioSafe, long known for their line of fire and waterproof drives for at home, but now also the name behind a variety of portable rugged storage.IOSafe Rugged Portable Drive

For this review, we’ll take a closer look at the USB 3.0 ioSafe Go-Anywhere Rugged Portable Hard Drive. On the outside this thing is actually surprisingly slick – taking some of its design inspiration from the gorgeous single piece aluminum products from Apple. The rest of the product is pretty simple – a MicroUSB 3.0 connector (which will work on USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports), an activity LED indicator and a Kensington lock port. The included cables work on any USB port, though most computers will need two ports to power the drive – which also means you don’t need to carry around a power brick.

As soon as you pick the drive up, you’ll feel that it isn’t in the same league as your everyday portable drive – it weighs significantly more and feels like a small brick. The weight (along with some pretty smart innovations on the inside) and single piece aluminum case design are what make it possible to protect against drops up to 20′ (that is 6 meters to those of us that prefer Metric), crushes up to 5,000 lbs and full immersion in water for up to 3 days.

The drives come in a variety of flavors too – spinning platters (500GB and 1TB) and SSD (120GB, 300GB and 600GB). All varieties offer the same rugged protection. Every Rugged Portable drive from ioSafe comes with 1 year of data recovery service (up to $5,000) with options to add up to 5 years of additional coverage. To clarify – this coverage is offered on top of the warranty provided by the manufacturer.

Rugged or not?

Of course, any company can make outrageous claims about their drives, so I decided to do things to this drive that I’d never consider doing to a “normal” drive. For starters, I left the poor thing outside in a pile of snow overnight, then on my way inside, I “accidentally” dropped it on a concrete garage floor. Amazingly, I think the solid aluminum case did more damage to the floor than vice versa.

The target audience

With prices starting at $249, the ioSafe rugged drive is definitely not as affordable as a 500GB drive you’ll find on the shelf of your local Target – but once you calculate the value of your content, the initial purchase price is quite easy to justify. In my case, I use external storage to hold photos and video, as well as images of my laptop in case I need an emergency on-the-road restore. In those cases, the extra $150 for the security of a rugged drive is well worth it.

Final thoughts

There is very little inherently interesting about an external hard drive, but the ioSafe Rugged Portable Drive definitely gives you a sense of security – you can tell that this thing is designed from the ground up to travel the world and be thrown around. Performance is fantastic (especially when on a laptop with USB 3.0) and with sizes up to 1TB, you are bound to have an available option that will hold your storage needs. Prices start at $249 for the 500GB HDD version, up to a painful $1,999 for the 600GB SSD.

Still, once you go back to the whole “how much are my files worth” part, the price really isn’t hard to beat, especially when there are no reasonable alternatives on the market. When you need to store 1TB of content, the cloud just isn’t an option.

You’ll find the entire lineup of ioSafe drives at iosafe.com, along with more of their rugged products and information about their data recovery services.

Holiday gift guide for business travelers

gadling gift guide business travelers dci universal chargerIf you like with someone who travels extensively for business, you know how chaotic life can be for them (and you, too). Any gifts that you give them that can simplify their lives and make their time on the road easier will be greatly appreciated. That said, business travelers – and most frequent travelers, for that matter – can be very particular about what they like and what gets left at home. If you’re planning on surprising the business traveler in your life with a gift this holiday season, be sure to read on before you spend a dime. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite travel gear that are sure to become part of your business travelers arsenal against road weariness. And, lest you think that such trinkets are sure to break the bank, rest assured that many of our suggestions are economical enough to be stocking stuffers.Franklin Covey USB Universal Charger

This little device lets you charge up to 10 gadgets with a single USB port. With plugs that fit most mobile phones (including iPhones, Android devices and Blackberries), you never have to worry about leaving one of your cables behind. Not bad for $15.95.

BlueLounge Cable Clips

Prefer to carry around all of those individual cords? At least keep them tidy with these clips. Available in small, medium and large, as well as a variety of colors, they keep your carry-on bag or briefcase from looking like an octopus graveyard. They’re perfect stocking stuffers for under $10.

gadling holiday gift guide business travel nau shroud of purrinNau Shroud of Purrin Blazer

Looking for a big ticket item that’s worth the money, versatile and practical all at the same time? This is it. Nau’s Shroud of Purrin Blazer is formal enough to be part of your business attire, hip enough to be worn casually and made to keep you warm and dry wherever go. The top front pocket is slightly askew (fashionable!), but also has a both a snap and zipper, keeping things like passports, boarding passes and cellphones secure. The interior pocket is great for your wallet. Add to that an exterior that is wind resistant and water repellent along with a fleece-lined interior and you have the only jacket you need to bring on your business trip from spring through fall. That helps justify the $365 price tag. Available now directly from, um, Nau.

DODOcases

Time on the plane, in airports and at the hotel don’t need to be lost time. Nor do you need to spend every waking hour of your business trip working. You deserve a break to read a book, watch a movie or just play Angry Birds. That’s why you pack your iPad or Kindle when you travel, right? Well, those devices need to be protected and you might as well look good while doing it. DODOcases make your iPad or Kindle look like a notebook but, unlike the Moleskin version, it lacks a notepad, thus cutting down on the weight. The DODOcase for the iPad weighs a mere 8 ounces, while the DODOcase for the Kindle checks in at just 5.28 ounces. The DODOcase is $59.95 for the iPad and $49.95 for the Kindle.

gadling business travel gift guide kensington absolute power chargerKensington Absolute Power Charger

We’ve been fans of Kensington chargers for a while now, but the Absolute Power might be the best one we’ve seen yet. Capable of charger a laptop and two USB devices, it packs 100 watts of power for all of your charging needs. It also comes with 10 adapters to fit most laptops (sadly, not Apple). It features a USB port and a mini USB port, along with a mini USB to USB adapter, as well. If you use your gadgets all day, backup power is a must. The Absolute Power is well worth the $100.

ioSafe Rugged Portable Hard Drive

This durable hard drive is built for travelers who don’t want to rely on “the cloud” to backup or store their data. This drive will drive will survive almost anything you throw at it. It’s available in 250GB, 500GB, 750GB and 1TB. Prices start at $108 on Amazon.

gadling business travel gift guide j.crew montague weekenderJ.Crew Montague Leather Weekender

In past business travel gift guides, we’ve recommended rolling luggage. We recognize, however, that not everyone likes wheels on their bags (such as our esteemed editor-in-chief). As such, we saw fit to include a handsome, sophisticated and durable alternative to the classic roll-a-board. J.Crew’s Montague model features 82 liters of storage space, sleeves to organize your gear and a detachable shoulder strap. It’s built to last and easy to carry as you pass by everyone in the airport by dashing up the stairs. It’s available now for $475 at J.Crew.

Knomo Dundee Briefcase

A perfect carry-on will hold your computer and some paperwork, features a few pockets for organization and isn’t so big that you’re encourage to overpack. The Knomo Dundee does all of that while also featuring soft leather, magnetic closures on the pockets and including a detachable shoulder strap. It will fit up to a 17″ computer with just over 12L of storage space. The handle easily slips over the arm of your rolling luggage (we get it, some of you prefer wheels). It’s a handy bag for $295.