ioSafe Rugged Portable Firewire 800 Review

The ioSafe Rugged Portable Firewire 800 is not the same external hard drive you grew up with. For starters, not only does it look great, it also manages to be tougher than any portable hard drive you have probably ever owned. As a matter of fact, the drive is able to provide crush protection up to 5,000 lbs., drop protection up to 20′, and immersion protection up to 30′ below for 3 days. But besides for looking good and being super tough, the drive also comes with a Data Recovery Service, so that if anything should go wrong with your files, ioSafe will have their team work to recover it for you.

The ioSafe Rugged portable might be called Rugged, but it hardly looks it. Instead, with its aluminum-like finish (or what they call a full metal jacket) and curved edges, it looks like a product straight out of Cupertino, and it’s ready to compliment your iMac or MacBook Pro to a T. That said, weighing in at 1lb it’s definitely heavier than other portable hard drives, but that is a small price to pay for its ruggedness. It also measures 3.9″W x 5.7″L x 1.0″H.

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The full metal jacket on the ioSafe Rugged Portable isn’t just pretty. It’s also practically crush-proof to up to 5000 lbs (Ti) and 2500 lbs (Al). It’s also hydrosafe, meaning that it can survive in a flood and full submission of up-to 10′ in depth and 72 hours in fresh or salt water. The drive can also survive being fully immersed in diesel fuel, oils, hydraulic fluids, and, aircraft fuels, and it can also withstand continuous exposure to UV, blowing sand, blowing dust, rain, salt fog, icing or freezing rain. Finally, the drive is also a full suspension drive.

The Rugged Portable drive is available in several different capacities, starting at 500GB and up to 1TB. We tested the Rugged Portable Firewire 800 which also comes with a USB 2.0 port, but the drive is also available with a speedy USB 3.0 for PC users. But no matter what, the all of the ioSafe Rugged Portable drives come with a Kensington security slot machined into solid metal outer wall.

The drive inside of the ioSafe Rugged Portable is unfortunately just a 5400RPM drive, which makes it suitable for backups, but not for high performance tasks. Read and write speeds are ok. At the end of the day, this is a capable drive for backing up your data. Write speeds are an average of 34MB/s and reads are an average of 37MB/s. You can check out the benchmarks below for more.

The box comes with a paper instructing you to activate your ioSafe drive so that you can be eligible for a year’s worth of DRS (Data Recovery Service). The first year, and up to $5000 is included with purchase. You can increase the DRS to 3 years for $49.99, or to 5 years for an additional $99.99. Either way, the drive comes with a 3 year warranty as standard, along with complimentary support.

What does DRS include?

  • One time use, no questions asked, data recovery service
  • Up to $5000 for forensic data recovery
  • Direct access to ioSafe’s experts — one point of contact
  • Replacement hardware pre-loaded with recovered data

DRS also includes accidental damage, flood damage, viruses, accidental deletion, disk failure, fire damage and more. Furthermore, if ioSafe’s team isn’t able to recover your data in-house, they will provide you with $2500 towards forensic data recovery efforts to use to hire the experts at DriveSavers. We haven’t used the DRS service, but we’re confident that ioSafe will live up to their guarantee to do everything they can to recover your data if need be.

Upon registering your device, ioSafe also comes with a license for Genie Timeline Professional for Windows (a $60 value). But Mac users are recommended to use Apple Time Machine.

We tested the Rugged Portable drive by submersing it into our tub for about 15 minutes. We also dropped it a few times from about 10 feet high, and afterwards the drive – and all of our data was fine! Granted, the drive’s casing did get a bit scuffed up from our several drops and tumble, but hey, it is still working. We also stuck it in the tub to clean out its dirty data mouth out. Afterward, it plugged into our iMac without issue and worked just fine. We did dry it off first of course.


The ioSafe Rugged Portable Firewire 800 looks great and matches Apple’s product-line to a T, yet it manages to stay portable in size, and it’s super super tough! And if all of its rugged protection somehow manages to fail you, you still have ioSafe’s DRS to fall back on. That said, the Rugged Portable is not the fastest hard drive on the block – undoubtedly due to the 5400 RPM inside of it, but it’s a plenty capable device for backups, especially when using speedy Firewire 800 for transfers. This portable hard drive is ideal for students, the accident prone, and anyone who values their data. Pricing for the ioSafe Rugged Portable Firewire 800 starts at $199 for the 500GB model. For those looking for the ultimate level of performance, an ioSafe Rugged Portable SSD, powered by Intel SSD’s is also available starting at $499. It can also be purchased at Amazon.

The Good: Slick Apple-like design, super rugged and can withstand just about anything, comes with Data recovery service

The Bad: Not a high performance drive, pricier than other portable hard drives, on the heavier side

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