ioSafe your Valuables

External hard drives are commodity items. They can be found anywhere, have similar performance, and differentiate themselves mostly though capacity and visual appeal. How about one that can withstand a house fire be submersed in water for three days? The ioSafe Solo is simply that – a place to store your digital valuables.

ioSafe is known for its enterprise lever disaster proof storage. With its latest offerings aimed towards the consumer market, disaster safe storage places itself within reach of ordinary folks like you and I. The drive is fireproof up to 1550 degrees Fahrenheit for half an hour to take on a house fire. In the case your automatic sprinklers kick in, it can also be submerged in fresh or salt water for three days at a depth of 10 feet. Hurricane Katrina, anyone?

When I was offered the opportunity to review the ioSafe Solo, I jumped at the opportunity thinking what fun it would be to torture test it. Torch it. Dunk it. Hammer it. Things quickly changed when the box arrived at my door. Weighing in at a hefty 15 lbs and emitting a satisfying thunk when hit, it was obvious this drive was going to need more firepower than I can legally produce in the neighborhood. It’s futile. Men dressed in black suits knocking at my door ain’t worth it. Don’t fret, the WSJ has a great video to show off its capabilities.

Setting up the Solo was a breeze. Included in the box was the 500GB Solo with an engraved serial number name plate, USB cable, power adapter and user manual. Plug it all together, flip the power switch, and Windows detects it within seconds like any USB stick you throw at it. Not to worry Mac users, it works flawlessly with the Apple logo too!

Copying data to and from the Solo yields transfer rates approximately 30-32 MB per second. On par with any other quality USB 2.0 external drive enclosures. Although the Solo lacks an eSata connection, a future version may be able to take advantage of the increased bandwidth.

The ioSafe Solo is priced at $150USD for 500GB, $200USD for 1TB and $US300 for 1.5TB. It comes with a 3 year standard warranty and a no questions asked $1000 data disaster recovery guarantee. With quality external drives that costing nearly as much, they definitely don’t come with peace of mind knowing your data can survive the worst.

ioSafe currently offers a $50 rebate off the 1.5TB unit for US and Canadians expiring September 15, 2009. Canadians also have a 10% off rebate for any ioSafe Solo product expiring August 30, 2009. The two cannot be combined.


  • 5.0″W x 7.1″H x 11.0″L
  • 15 lbs

What we loved:

  • Fireproof & Waterproof
  • Appears it can survive an earthquake
  • Security cable attachment point
  • Good build quality
  • Excellent USB 2.0 performance

What could be improved:

  • Hard feet at bottom can scratch surfaces
  • Could use RAID, although available on more expensive units
  • Short cables