ioSafe SoloPRO Rugged External Hard Drive Review

Backing up a computer is like flossing your teeth. You know you are supposed to do it regularly… but the reality is that you don’t take it seriously until you have to get a root canal, or months worth of precious data suddenly goes *poof* in a cloud of failed hard drive. Maybe that’s just me, and maybe you are a backupaholic too and have actually set up Time Machine on your Mac, backing up your data onto your RAID setup.If you’re a backupaholic, then you probably feel like your data is pretty safe, don’t you? Well wipe that smug look off your face! What if your house floods? What if it burns down? What if somebody steals all your precious backups? Your data isn’t as safe as you think!

ioSafe is a company that takes backup protection very seriously. Not only do they provide backup solutions of every kind from home to business to larger enterprise, but they also have some other exciting features that will really get your backup juices flowing… ioSafe’s hard drives are Fireproof, Waterproof, Theftproof, and they come with a one year Data Recovery Service. We have been using the ioSafe SoloPRO for some time now, and are quite impressed with its resume. While there are some downsides to this hard drive (which we will get to later), the amount of protection this thing offers your data is unbelievable.

ioSafe SoloPRO Specs

Sheathed in a matte black metal case, the SoloPRO hard drive conjures images of an aircraft’s indestructible black box. This class of hard drive comes with a 1TB, 1.5TB, or 2TB capacity 3.5” external USB hard drive. Ours is a 1TB model. It is plug and play with no drivers to install and has multiple connector options from eSATA to USB 2.0 to the new USB 3.0. Compatible with PC, Mac, Windows Server, and Linux, it will run on almost anything you can plug it into.


Now those specs are nothing outstanding, but what makes this hard drive outstanding are the protection features. The SoloPRO has “DataCast endothermic fire insulation technology” that protects your data from fires and temperatures of up to 1550°F for up to half an hour. The Active Airflow Cooling fans are designed to keep your drive cool, and when they detect destructive temperatures the FloSafe vents limit and protect the drive from extreme heat. While we couldn’t test this out without burning down our house, it’s nice to know that your data will be safe should the unthinkable ever happen.


The SoloPRO is also fully waterproof up to 10ft for 72 hours. The waterproofing will protect your data from fresh and salt water damage while still allowing heat to dissipate during normal operation. We tested this out in our bathtub as you can see from the picture and once everything dried off, it worked like a charm! Now we can rest easy knowing that in case our apartment ever floods, this hard drive will keep our movie collection safe!


The back of the hard drive has two large holes so the unit can be bolted down or padlocked to a desk. It also features a Kensington security slot so it can be easily secured to any surface. These features also double as protection from moving during a disaster. We hired a professional thief (as pictured) to test out this feature, and he was thoroughly baffled.

Data Recovery Service

ioSafe also offers a data recovery service that will recover your data for you for free “no questions asked.” Every product from them comes with a complimentary one time use data and hardware recovery support, you are safe out of the box. They will either offer you phone support, or failing that they will pay for you to ship the disaster exposed unit to ioSafe HQ and they will perform data recovery there. If they succeed they will send back a new unit preloaded with all your original data. If they fail, at their discretion, they will pay up to an agreed upon amount depending on what unit you purchased The SoloPRO External HDD comes with $2500 worth of protection.


Using XBench for Mac we were able to benchmark the SoloPRO’s performance with USB 2.0 and came up with these numbers:

Writing: 27.62 MB/sec
Reading: 34.53 MB/sec

These speeds put it firmly in the upper middle class of external hard drive speeds, not blazing fast, but not too slow either. Of course, if we could have tested the performance using USB 3.0 the speeds would have been doubled or even tripled, but as of yet Apple does not support it.


All-in-all the ioSafe SoloPRO is an awesome external hard drive. However, we do have a few issues with it. For starters, the footprint of this hard drive is HUGE. Also the drive is quite noisy. The internal hard drive is also not user-replaceable. These issues are excusable though and even understandable since the unit requires these things to ensure the internal drive’s safety. However this last one is a doozy- the ioSafe hard drives will not support RAID or any other kinds of redundancy, they are all single volume external hard drives. So while it can survive a disaster, if the drive fails from general wear and tear, you’re done for. Despite these drawbacks, this is one awesome hard drive that offers unmatched protection features. We like it so much that we are planning on using it on a regular basis. Also we plan to floss more this year… yeah right… The SoloPRO hard drive can be purchased at iosafe.com starting at $249.

Update 01/30/11: We’ve modified our conclusion a bit. It’s true that the ioSafe SoloPRO doesn’t have a RAID set-up, and when it comes to most other single drive backup hard drives, that would indeed mean that “you’re done for”. However, because ioSafe includes their Data Recovery Service with the SoloPro, which has a very high rate of success (they claim 99.9%) – chances are that your data will be recovered – even in the unlikely event that the single hard-drive inside the SoloPRO does fail.

The good: Great protection, easy to use, insured, you can burn and drown it!
The bad: Doesn’t support RAID, internal hard drive is not user replaceable.

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