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Imation Personal S200 flash drive powered by IronKey

*Est. $245 for 16 GB
Reviewed
March 2012
by ConsumerSearch
IronKey Personal S200

Most secure flash drive

Pros
  • Self-destructs if password attempts fail
  • Erases data if casing is breached
  • Improved password manager software
  • Anonymous web browsing
Cons
  • Overkill for most users
  • Expensive
  • Anonymous browsing feature can slow web access
  • Not USB 3.0 compatible
Where to Buy
 

The IronKey Personal S200, now called the Imation Personal S200 flash drive powered by IronKey, represents the most secure portable storage device currently available. Originally created for military use, the S200 was the first USB drive to reach Level 3 FIPS 140-2 (Federal Information Processing Standard), a step up over its predecessors. Other features include an option to unlock files in read-only mode as well as a more user-friendly password manager. The drive itself is as tough as ever and attempts to breach its brushed metal exterior results in destruction of your data, as will 10 incorrect password attempts. The S200's secure web browsing feature allows the user to peruse the Internet without leaving a trace on the host computer but can slow Internet access a bit. The downside is that the Imation Personal S200 is prohibitively expensive.

There are a few alternatives. The Corsair Flash Padlock 2 doesn't meet the same standards of self-destruction in case of tampering, but it's also $45 for 16 GB and still has external buttons for PIN access. The Kingston DataTraveler Locker+ is cheaper yet, at $26 for 16 GB, though it lacks the external buttons. It also receives high user review ratings. If you want a durable drive but don't need data security, consider the Corsair Flash Survivor USB 3.0 (*Est. $55 for 32 GB) .

We found the most thorough review of the Imation/IronKey S200 at PCMag.com, complete with lab tests and a slideshow. PC World (Australia) also puts the drive through its paces, while TheGadgeteer.com offers an overview and a walkthrough of the setup process. The small number of owner reviews available at Amazon.com also show a high level of satisfaction with the IronKey's performance.

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Corsair Flash Survivor 32GB USB 3.0 (CMFSV3-32GB)
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Our Sources

1. PCMag.com

This thorough review by the site's Lead Analyst for Security rates the IronKey Personal S200 with 4 out of 5 points for the highest security rating of any other flash drive as well as being tough. A slideshow accompanies this review, familiarizing the reader with the product's appearance and giving instructions on setting up the software.

Review: IronKey Personal S200, Neil J. Rubenking, Dec. 3, 2009

2. PC World (Australia)

Editor Lucas Mearian gives the IronKey S200 a thorough evaluation, comparing it to its predecessor, the IronKey Personal. While he notes slower data transfer speeds, he attributes that in part to the difference in storage capacity. He finds the drive easy to set up and names only the high price as a drawback.

Review: IronKey S200 1 GB USB Flash Drive, Lucas Mearian, Nov. 13, 2009

3. The Gadgeteer.com

Reviewer James Branch presents the specifications and security encryption information and then takes the reader through a step-by-step process of actually setting up the IronKey Personal S200 on a computer. The review is easy to understand and instructional, but no testing results or ratings are offered.

Review: IronKey Secure Flash Drive Review, James Branch, Feb. 25, 2010

4. Amazon.com

More than 10 customer reviews for the IronKey Personal S200 result in a very high overall rating. Users praise its high security and durability. Complaints are few, focusing more on personal preferences for retractable connections rather than caps. Most admit that the unit is expensive, but consider it worth the price.

Review: Personal S200 8 G, Contributors to Amazon.com

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