Micromart Review

March 2010

Mark Oakley at micromart checks out a different side of secure backup


Price: £139.83
Manufacturer: iStorage
Website: www.istorage-uk.com
Required spec: Pentium II processor or equivalent, 128MB RAM, Windows XP or later, Linux, Mac OS 10,2 or greater, spare USB port


Overall: 9/10

With portable storage more abundant and affordable that ever, the cost of the diskG* from iStorage is initially a hard pill to swallow. At just under £150 for 320GB of storage, it’s double the price of the other portable solutions from big hitters Seagate and Western Digital that offer a 180GB more capacity. What typical storage solutions don’t offer, however, is the level of security the diskG* provides.

Alongside its rugged, shockproof construction, this baby really does feel like you could throw it around a fair bit without doing the drive inside the case any harm – although I wouldn’t recommend doing so. It also sports two crucial levels of security. First, it has 256-bit real-time encryption, so even is someone managed to get the drive out of the case they wouldn’t be able to get to your data.

Secondly, the drive comes with password protection via its own keypad on the front of the enclosure itself. Passwords of between six and 16 digits can be set up and up to ten passkeys can be enrolled, providing more than enough options for a business environment as well as for home use. Brute force attacks are also protected against by locking the device after 50 incorrect attempts to guess the password. Government departments take note: this is how you look after our personal data.

Setting the drive up for secure use is simple, as is connecting it to any system. As it’s USB-powered, it doesn’t need an external power supply and there’s no software required to install it. Set up your personal password by unlocking the device and then inputting your code, pres the padlock icon and you’re set. Data can be dragged and dropped to an from the drive and if the far-too-short attached USB cable isn’t long enough for your liking, iStorage provides an auxiliary extensions Y-cable for attaching the device to one USB port while powering it from another.

Performance is comparable with other portable devices, providing 5400rpm spin speed and 8MB cache. This resulted in transfer rates of 14,4MB/s although this can be speed up by ensuring that Optimize for Performance is selected under the device properties in Device Manager (I managed closer to 19MB/s by choosing that option).

The negatives of the device – the price and the fact that if you forget your password, your data is locked away from you and the device rendered useless unless you reformat it, wiping any data in the process – are far outweighed by the positives. This is a fantastic, ultra-secure portable storage solution that’s simple to use and provides competitive performance to boot.

* Previously known as diskGenie