The ioSafe Solo G3 external hard drive combines extreme durability, good USB 3.0 speeds and robust data-recovery options. It's certainly pricey, but its military-grade enclosure can withstand both fires and floods, making the Solo G3 a go-to choice for those who need or want the very best stronghold for their data that money can buy. Owners also find it quiet and easy to use.
Quicker and quieter than it looks. While its massive exterior doesn't exactly suggest speed, the ioSafe Solo G3 boasts fast USB 3.0 transfer rates. CNET's Dong Ngo tests its USB 3.0 speed against 15 other external hard drives, finding that the Solo G3 tops the chart for read and write performance. USB 2.0 speeds are less stellar, with the drive testing out a little below average. The Solo G3 is preformatted for Windows (NTFS) but can be configured for Mac (HFS+). There's no internal fan, so the drive runs quietly. Users at Newegg.com and Amazon.com find it easy to set up and use, as well.
Survives nature's wrath. The ioSafe Solo G3 is built like a tank. IoSafe says it can protect data from submersion in water up to 10 feet deep for three days and withstand temperatures up to 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit. In the event of a mini-cataclysm, the Solo G3 includes one-time access to the company's data-recovery service, including up to $2,500 of forensic data recovery (which the company bills at $150/hour). The warranty and data coverage is for one year, but it can be extended to three or five years for a fee. The only disaster your data won't survive, Ngo warns, is a drive failure; the Solo G3 is a single-volume drive that can't save backups of your backups.
Immortality comes at a price. The ioSafe Solo G3 external hard drive costs considerably more per GB than traditional backup drives. For many, that may make the Solo G3 overkill. But if you need literally bullet-proof data protection, no external backup hard drive does it better. Whether that kind of peace of mind is worth this drive's premium price tag is a question you'll have to answer for yourself.
The ioSafe Solo G3 receives an Editors' Choice nod and 4.5 stars out of 5 from PCMag.com. Reviewer Ahmer Kazi praises its durability, speed and "practically indestructible" design, but he also says less sturdy competitors offer better performance at a much lower price.
Review: ioSafe Solo G3 (1 TB), Ahmer Kazi, April 30, 2012
CNET's Dong Ngo gives the ioSafe Solo G3 4 stars out of 5, calling it an "excellent backup solution for those who need to make sure their important data survives even the worst disasters." It tops the charts in speed tests, and Ngo likes its design and features.
Review: ioSafe Solo G3 Review, Dong Ngo, April 9, 2012
Macworld names the ioSafe Solo G3 as one of its top-rated hard drives, with an overall rating of 4 "mice" out of 5. Bartelman says it's not the fastest drive out there, but its fire-proof and waterproof construction makes it ideal for "paranoid" users.
Review: Solo G3 Is Fire- and Water-Proof, Kean Bartelman, May 3, 2012
The Wirecutter recommends the ioSafe Solo G3 as the best "disaster-proof" external hard drive. Its speed meets or beats that of other top-rated drives, and its sturdy construction will "ensure that your crucial data survives a fire or flood" -- if you're willing to pay the high price.
Review: The Best External Desktop Hard Drive, Kimber Streams, March 16, 2014
The ioSafe Solo G3 earns top marks from most of the more than 125 users posting at Newegg.com. Owners say it's incredibly sturdy, fast, quiet and easy to use, and they're thrilled with ioSafe's customer support. The only drawback they mention is occasional glitches with Windows.
Review: ioSafe Solo 2TB USB 2.0 Fireproof Waterproof External Hard Drive + Data Recovery Service, Contributors to Newegg.com, As of April 2014
The ioSafe Solo G3 has around 25 reviews at Amazon.com, most of them wildly positive. Owners say this pricey drive is well worth its price, since it's fast, easy to use and "built like a tank." Only one complains of a drive failure and a brush-off from customer service.
Review: ioSafe SK3TB Solo G3 Fireproof and Waterproof External Hard Drive 3TB, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2014