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ioSafe’s Fireproof, Waterproof External Drive Tested

Posted in Review,Storage by Darrin Olson on October 7th, 2009

ioSafe Solo external hard drive is waterproof and fireproofioSafe, a technology producer of disaster proof storage hardware, launched the ioSafe Solo in January and this week we took the opportunity to test one out to see how well it would hold up. The ioSafe Solo is a rugged external drive designed to keep your stuff safe in the event of a disaster such as a fire, flood or the building literally falling around it.

The ioSafe is not shockproof however and is not designed to be dropped from great distances or thrown around. It is however built to withstand intense heat (up to 1550 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes), complete submersion (up to 10 feet for 3 days!) and is encased in a rugged enclosure making it like the Sherman tank of external drives.

Here at the ‘Brick did not have access to the quite the heat necessary to put the ioSafe solo up to it’s maximum limits but we put it up against what we had – our outdoor gas grill. So, along with cooking dinner we put the Solo through its paces by heating it in an covered grill, being sure to cook it evenly on all sides.ioSafe heating on grill

After grilling for about an hour at 600 degrees Fahrenheit the enclosure appeared almost complete unscathed aside from some minor discoloration. There was also some run-off from melting plastic, such as the feet of the drive, the switch on the back, the fan and some of the wires. At this point we knew we had damaged it enough to where it would at least not run on its own.

From the grill we went immediately to the drink, which in this case was a 5-gallon plastic bucket where we completely submerged the drive for about 2 hours, letting it cool before we tore it open to check on the status of the actual drive and its data inside.ioSafe completed submerged underwater after heating

Taking the ioSafe straight from an extreme heat to complete submersion is a little more than what the system intended. The folks at ioSafe designed it to either stand the intense heat of a building fire and then maybe a little water from maybe a fire hose, or complete submersion underwater but not necessarily both. But, as you will see, the drive and our precious data held up beautifully.

After completely soaking the ioSafe Solo we removed it from the water and proceeded to take it apart to check on our data. We removed the screws holding the enclosure together to reveal a soaked, soft ceramic-like mold with a waterproof pouch inside holding the drive. We noticed that along with the wires going into the drive was also a clear plastic tube which we’re assuming is a vent to keep the air in the waterproof bag from expanding with heat and exploding open the bag.ioSafe taken apart to reveal drive

We then cut away the bag to expose the actual hard drive which appeared in absolute perfect condition, and only slightly warm. The real test however was to ensure that the data on the drive was intact and recoverable. We connected to a standard enclosure and connected it to a PC via USB and sure enough, all the files we placed on the drive we there and intact with the drive running smoothly and quietly.

Had we not been able to recover our data on our own, ioSafe promised not to leave us hanging. Those that purchase the ioSafe Solo are subject to a single “data recovery event”. Basically this means that they will try to help you recover it yourself first over the phone. If this does not work they will ship the drive back to them, attempt to recover the data and if successful ship you a new drive with your data on it at their own expense. If they aren’t able to get it back they’ll pay up to $1000 for another 3rd party company to try and recover the data.

The ioSafe Solo drive enclosure definitely held up to the claims of the company and then some. Having backups of your data is always a good idea in general, but the backed-up data needs to be protected. The ioSafe gives us an excellent and fast alternative to off-site storage, thwarting the damages of flooding or fire. The ioSafe Solo drives and their single “recovery event” come in 500GB, 1TB and 1.5TB priced at $249.98, $329.98 and $399.98, respectively, which is a relatively small price to pay for what you get.

More Photos:

ioSafe Solo

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