Review: IoSafe SoloPRO External Drive - Digital Photography School

Review: IoSafe SoloPRO External Drive

This is a review of the ioSafe Solo Pro by Paul D Smart.

IoSafe Solo 1 TB Fireproof and Waterproof External Hard Drive

As a photographer who has just purchased his first MacBook Pro, I wanted to find a drive I could use in conjunction with Apple’s Time Machine. (for those who don’t know, Time Machine, is the backup software that comes as part of the Apple Operating System).

I’ve looked at a number of solutions and one of those solutions is the 1TB IoSafe SoloPRO External Hard Drive.

The tagline for IoSafe is disaster proof hardware. A bold promise and the IoSafe SoloPRO External hard drive certainly looks like it could fit the bill.

When the drive arrived, I must admit that I was impressed by the build quality. The standard SATAII Hard Drive is enclosed in a waterproof packaging, which in turn is enclosed in fireproof material, all kept in a well put together steel case. The drive is VERY heavy, which lends to the aforementioned tagline nicely. The drive can be bolted to pretty much any solid surface using pre-drilled holes at the reverse of the unit. There is also a Kensington ™ Lock Hole so it can be strapped to anything you see fit.

I came up with a slight hic-up when I plugged the drive into my MacBook Pro. It was not recognized. I then plugged it into my pc. Nothing. Another PC and still nothing. My heart sank!

We contacted IoSafe, whos technical support team responded very quickly.
They asked a plethora of questions to aid in not just sorting the problem but also diagnosing the cause of the “dead drive”.

IoSafe arranged for the drive to be returned and a new drive to be sent out immediately via UPS.

The drive arrived quickly and was well packaged. I connected the USB 3.0 cable to the USB2.0 port of my MacBook Pro and within a few seconds the drive appeared on my desktop. The drive is shipped formatted for Windows, so when plugging in for the first time you are required to re-format the drive for use with the Mac. (If you’re a windows user, you’ll be good to go right out of the box).

The great thing about this drive (other than the water and fire proofing), is that it’s just an external hard drive. This means you can use your own choice of backup solution and software. Everything from dragging the files you want to keep onto the drive to using specialist backup software. There are no drivers to install or required software, so nothing to slow your machine down.

The case contains the drive, water and fire proofing, some snazzy blue lights that flicker showing the hard drives activity and fan! The fan is part of the FloSafe active cooling system. In short the fan allows cooling and the vents are designed to restrict airflow when the drive gets just too hot to handle! The fan is also rather quiet. If the drive is going to be left on constantly you can rest assured the fan will not get on your nerves.

IoSafe provides a three year warranty on the drive and one year of Data Recovery Service with a value of $2500. That’s a pretty high level of self confidence! If you do need to take them up on the warranty, IoSafe will take it on themselves to ship out a replacement drive and arrange collection of the defective unit all at their own cost.

The drive I have here, has just spent several hours in the company of IT Support Agency, The Digital Jedi (www.thedigitaljedi.co.uk), who have ran diagnostics on the hard drive over USB2.0 and USB3.0 who reported that drives read/write speed on USB2 were over 27mb per second with speeds of approx. 40mb per second over USB3. It was also reported that the drive was in very good health.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a drive to keep on a desk (and not in your laptop bag), this is the ideal drive for you. Your data is not only safe and well protected against all the elements, it’s guaranteed thanks to the Data Recovery Service given by IoSafe.

The only downside from my point of view is the size. An obvious side effect from such strong protection but certainly not something that can be carried around with the owner.

You can read the full technical spec here, on the ioSafe website.

Get a price on the IoSafe Solo 1 TB Fireproof and Waterproof External Hard Drive at Amazon.

This review by Paul D Smart Please visit Paul’s website!

Summary
Reviewer
Sime
Review Date
Reviewed Item
IoSafe SoloPRO External Drive
Author Rating
4

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Sime is the community manager of the dPS Forums and lead blogger in our Cameras and Gear Blog. He's a Melbourne based photographer, www.gtvone.com and please feel free to follow him on Twitter

  • D Gillespie

    I find it curious that a hard drive that is supposed to be so bullet proof arrived broken. You mentioned the tag line of disaster proof. How about checking the drive before you ship them to customers? I can’t see this as a good first step, for any company trying to sell equipment that claims to protect your data against fire, water, impact. How about sloppy techs at the factory. And if the unit was damaged in shipping how durable can it really be? Not on my gift list.

  • http://frontrangephotography.zenfolio.com Adam Beck

    I’ve been looking for a fireproof solution since all my data is protected from failing itself, fire was the only concern of mine. My first thought when considering an enclosure was how to ventilate and keep it fireproof. I noticed this unit just has a simple fan on the back. I don’t see how this enclosure could be fireproof with a fan sucking in flames in an actual fire. The other thought I had was that in a real fire the temps will get so high inside the box the HDD will certainly fry anyway. I know you could get the data recovered at a cost but why not just use all this time and money and put it into offsite storage? I think that’s the best foolproof backup.

  • http://gtvone.com Sime

    To be fair, d gillespie, I thought it was very good that ioSafe used us to assist in their testing phase – and that the issue was picked up and rectified prior to anyone else having the same issue. What mattered to me was that ioSafe treated me like a customer (I organised for the drive to go to the review, Paul) and a customer that they actually cared about. They were not aware that I was getting the drive reviewed at the time, and they still treated it with utmost urgency. Whilst I do see it from your perspective, there is nothing these days that separates companies like first class customer service.

    It wasn’t damaged FYI, a plug came off.. this now has a bracket in place so it can’t happen.

    Hope that helps.

    Sime

  • http://www.iosafe.com Brett

    @D Gillespie – the problem was a connector that became loose during shipping. The issue could not have resulted in data loss and, as mentioned by Sime, has since been addressed by the installation of a bracket. Thanks to DPS and Paul Smart for helping identify the problem.

    @Adam Beck – the special insulation inside the unit is a material that’s chemically bound with water. In a fire, the water is released forced out via vents that usually permit cooling air to enter, keeping the hot air out. Look around the web and you’ll see that ioSafe products have been subjected to numerous real-world and third-party tests, Gear Diary’s being one of the best: http://www.geardiary.com/2009/08/04/could-your-hard-drive-survive-this-if-its-an-iosafe-yep/. To date, not a single customer has lost data from an ioSafe.

    Obviously, I work for ioSafe :)

Some older comments

  • Brett

    November 26, 2010 06:59 am

    @D Gillespie - the problem was a connector that became loose during shipping. The issue could not have resulted in data loss and, as mentioned by Sime, has since been addressed by the installation of a bracket. Thanks to DPS and Paul Smart for helping identify the problem.

    @Adam Beck - the special insulation inside the unit is a material that's chemically bound with water. In a fire, the water is released forced out via vents that usually permit cooling air to enter, keeping the hot air out. Look around the web and you'll see that ioSafe products have been subjected to numerous real-world and third-party tests, Gear Diary's being one of the best: http://www.geardiary.com/2009/08/04/could-your-hard-drive-survive-this-if-its-an-iosafe-yep/. To date, not a single customer has lost data from an ioSafe.

    Obviously, I work for ioSafe :)

  • Sime

    November 23, 2010 08:11 am

    To be fair, d gillespie, I thought it was very good that ioSafe used us to assist in their testing phase - and that the issue was picked up and rectified prior to anyone else having the same issue. What mattered to me was that ioSafe treated me like a customer (I organised for the drive to go to the review, Paul) and a customer that they actually cared about. They were not aware that I was getting the drive reviewed at the time, and they still treated it with utmost urgency. Whilst I do see it from your perspective, there is nothing these days that separates companies like first class customer service.

    It wasn't damaged FYI, a plug came off.. this now has a bracket in place so it can't happen.

    Hope that helps.

    Sime

  • Adam Beck

    November 20, 2010 10:04 am

    I've been looking for a fireproof solution since all my data is protected from failing itself, fire was the only concern of mine. My first thought when considering an enclosure was how to ventilate and keep it fireproof. I noticed this unit just has a simple fan on the back. I don't see how this enclosure could be fireproof with a fan sucking in flames in an actual fire. The other thought I had was that in a real fire the temps will get so high inside the box the HDD will certainly fry anyway. I know you could get the data recovered at a cost but why not just use all this time and money and put it into offsite storage? I think that's the best foolproof backup.

  • D Gillespie

    November 19, 2010 11:28 pm

    I find it curious that a hard drive that is supposed to be so bullet proof arrived broken. You mentioned the tag line of disaster proof. How about checking the drive before you ship them to customers? I can't see this as a good first step, for any company trying to sell equipment that claims to protect your data against fire, water, impact. How about sloppy techs at the factory. And if the unit was damaged in shipping how durable can it really be? Not on my gift list.

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