Testers are impressed with the ioSafe SoloPro: they repeatedly try to drown it or incinerate it (you will never find so many computer hardware reviews that have the word "flamethrower" in them), but the SoloPro's safe-like case always manages to protect the hard disk (and data) inside. IoSafe says the SoloPro will protect data from a 1,550-degree Fahrenheit fire for half an hour or from being sunk in 10 feet of fresh- or saltwater for three days. It comes in versions with a USB 3.0 interface (for newer PCs) or with a USB 2.0 interface (for older/non-upgraded PCs as well as Mac and Linux computers). Regardless of the configuration, experts say it works well with all platforms. It comes with a three-year warranty, including one year of data recovery coverage (both can be extended at extra cost), but backup software is not included.
The ioSafe SoloPro weighs in at 15 pounds and is almost a foot wide, making it much bigger and heavier than a less robust external hard drive. Its thick walls include ceramic insulation with embedded water that vaporizes to cool the drive during a fire. The normal vents that allow the drive to cool itself under ordinary circumstances automatically close when threatened by water or fire. The ioSafe SoloPro comes in 1 TB (*Est. $240) to 3 TB capacities. The original ioSafe Solo (*Est. $195 for 1 TB) is also available. It offers identical protection, however it is only available with a USB 2.0 interface (without eSATA support) and in capacities up to 2 TB.
Review videos of the SoloPro showing it being dunked, abused and set on fire abound, so this is one drive where it might be worth the entertainment to surf the reviews even if you already know you want to buy it. MaximumPC, TrustedReviews.com and CNET all offer dramatic videos of the drive on fire and underwater. PCMag.com, Macworld and ComputerShopper.com also do extensive reviews of the drive, finding it speedy over a USB 3.0 connection and worth buying for extreme situations.
PCMag.com gives the ioSafe SoloPro 4.5 out of 5 stars and an Editors' Choice rating, calling it "rugged to excess" and praising the fast performance of this external hard drive. It's big and expensive, they note, but they call it "the poster child for extreme data protection in computing."
Review: ioSafe SoloPro, Joel Santo Domingo, April 2011
CNET gives the ioSafe SoloPro external hard drive 3.5 out of 5 stars, praising its data protection capabilities but downgrading it for noise, the fact that users cannot replace the drive, the single-drive limitation (no RAID protection against hard drive failure) and its size/weight. "If you live in an area with high risk of fire or flood and want to keep the backup of your important data intact, look no further than the ioSafe SoloPro," reviewer Dong Ngo writes. Otherwise, he recommends other external hard drives.
Review: ioSafe SoloPro Disaster-Proof External Hard Drive, Dong Ngo, Aug. 2010
"IoSafe has achieved a reputation for producing tough-as-nails hard drives," reviewer Chris Holt writes in his overview of the ioSafe SoloPro external hard drive, which he awards 4 out of 5 mice. Macworld burns the safe with a flamethrower and dunk it in a fountain for its tests, finding that the fan or ports might not survive, but that the data did.
Review: ioSafe SoloPro 1TB, Chris Holt, April 2011
4. Computer Shopper
Reviewer John A. Burek awards the ioSafe SoloPro external hard drive an Editors' Choice and an 8.0 out of 10 rating, calling it "a fine choice for safeguarding your digital pics or a small business' crucial records at a reasonable price." The review praises the data protection, speed over USB 3.0 connection and data recovery plan, noting that it's bulky, heavy, comes without software and only has a single drive (so there's no protection against drive failure).
Review: ioSafe SoloPro, John A. Burek, Sept. 2010
TrustedReviews.com editors gives the ioSafe SoloPro external hard drive an 8 out of 10 score, saying, "If you simply want an external hard drive that will keep your most precious files safe and sound, no matter how terrible the circumstances, É it is without equal." Even a brief dunking destroys the power supply, cooling fan and external data connections, reviewer Edward Chester notes, at least until they're thoroughly dried again. Same with "even a light toasting." The site roasts the drive on a barbecue and then dunks it in a bucket of water, finding that the drive inside still worked perfectly.
Review: ioSafe SoloPro Review, Edward Chester, Oct. 2010
MaximumPC roasts the ioSafe SoloPro external hard drive on a barbecue for 30 minutes (with pretty dramatic photos) and then dunks it in a bucket of bay water. They find the drive inside unharmed. Data speeds are good over a USB 3.0 connection, reviewer Nathan Edwards writes, calling the drive "a valuable tool for the data-paranoid." The drive receives a MaximumPC Kick Ass! Award and a 9-out-of-10 score.
Review: ioSafe SoloPro Backup Drive Review, Nathan Edwards, March 2011
MacNN.com gives the ioSafe SoloPro external hard drive 4.5 out of 5 stars, noting the mounting bracket that allows the drive to be physically screwed or locked to a surface to protect against theft and the fact that the drive is Linux- and Mac-compatible. They did some basic benchmark testing, but only with a USB 2.0 connection. Reviewer Kelcey Lehrich says the drive is "a perfect option" for those seeking extremely secure storage.
Review: Review: ioSafe SoloPro, Kelcey Lehrich, Oct. 2010