We have come to see all sorts of “Days” these days, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Friends’ Day (to name a few) and what not, well, personally wouldn’t everyone prefer something called Backup Day. Now, there is no denying the fact that you really can’t get too safe in life, can you? No, we are not talking about a “Droid” thing here, but it is a backup thing. There is always procrastination or laziness or indolence that is sure to mess up the best of your backup plan, ain’t it? Well, not anymore! Allow us to present to you the ioSafe Solo G3 USB 3.0 that acts as an aircraft’s black box in safeguarding your data. Aside from huge storage and blazing speeds, what is the other thing that all of us expect from an external hard drive? Yeah! That’s right – imperishable. We would like the drive to take care of all elements that come in contact with it and help in storing data securely. While most drives in the market today fails desperately in trying to achieve this, the ioSafe Solo G3 has managed to achieve this feat quite impressively, should we say. The Solo G3 together with the Data Recovery Service offers users an unparallel kind of data protection. A blend of elegant design and advanced technology, this sturdy ioSafe Solo manages to deliver both fire and water protection to your digital life taking it to an unmatched level. And god forbid even if something unfortunate happens, the DRS (Data Recovery Service) comes to your aid in restoring your hardware and data, irrelevant of what the circumstance is. So are we all set to explore this heavy beast that weighs a whopping 15 pounds and supposedly the toughest in the hard drive arena? Also, you might also want to be aware of the fact that it is designed literally like a fortress (now you might wanna keep that in mind the next time you decide on lugging it around)
- Pre-populated storage for your digital media in the capacities of 1, 2 and 3TB
- Both fire and water proof thus protecting data loss for up to 30 mins of 1550°F and 10ft of water for 72 hours respectively
- The Fan-free Near Silent Cooling makes it ideal for almost any location – Residential, Commercial or Entertainment
- Offers full system disaster recovery via Encryption and Backup software
- Absolutely Theft-proof via the Kensington Lock Slot / Padlock-able / Bolt down capable
- Compatible to both 3.0 and 2.0 USB (Backwards Compatible)
- Offers extension plans for One, three or five years of Data Recovery Service
IoSafe Solo G3 Quick Specs
Interface Type – SuperSpeed USB 3.0
Available capacities: 1, 2 and 3TB
Drive Type – External USB 3.5-inch drive
Dimensions (HxWxD) – 5 x 7.1 x 11 inches
Weight – 15lbs
Connector options – Both USB2.0 and 3.0 compatible
OS Required – Mac OS 8.6 or greater, Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista 7) or Intel Pentium II 350MHz-compatible
Rotation Speed – 7200 rpm
Data Transfer Rate – 5.0 Gbps
Complies with FCC, UL and CE standards such that your may pretty much use it anywhere
Manufacturer Warranty – 3 year Manufactuer’s warranty
In the box
- IoSafe Solo G3 USB External hard drive
- Power supply
- USB 3.0 cable
- Warranty and Owners Manual
Build & Design
Well, for starters the ioSafe Solo G3 would be the latest addition to ioSafe’s collection of water and fire-proof hard drives and is also a revised variant of the SoloPro. The Solo G3 can literally take a bullet for you, but if you are wondering if it is bullet marks that you are seeing on the image above, no it is not! The first thing that catches your attention by taking a single glance at the Solo G3 would be its weight. It would actually be unjust to just call it huge, as it is a behemoth weighing a whopping 15 pounds, that you can literally do a tap dance on it. So, if you are looking at a portable or handy drive, then this is definitely not for you and it would be ideal to quit the review right away. On the other hand, “if size doesn’t matter to you, well then read on! All of it is 15 pounds has been neatly packed to form a veritable brick forming a dimension of 5 x 7.1 x 11” (HWD). Though it works as a desktop drive too, it almost weighs pretty much like a desktop itself. In fact, it beats the 6TB LaCie 2big Thunderbolt series hands down, which by itself is considered nothing less than a beast. Even as you need a protein shake at the very thought of lugging around the Solo G3, it sure does give you a weird satisfaction that it is not any ordinary drive that you are working with here. Though it does give you the feel of a tank, we must agree that it is nothing short of a silent stealth bomber, thanks to the fan-free design.
So moving on with the design of the Solo G3 Desktop Drive, the hulk-like indestructible impression given by the drive would make one wonder if it sports some kind of an industrial design. Well, then you will be surprised to know that that’s not the case. It comes encased in a sleek metal chassis taking the shape of a grey slab with the inner mesh closure revealed by a perforated motif in the front. Akin to its predecessor the SoloPro, the Solo G3 also looks like a massive asphalt brick, but yes better-looking and shiny, may we add. At 15 pounds it sure does pose a challenge to be picked up especially with its rounded corners. We would have been more impressed if it had some kind of a handle on the top, making it easier to be carried around, but sadly it doesn’t sport one. Towards the front of the G3 is a tiny indicator light, glowing solid blue with the drive being powered on and flashes intermittently with any activity happening on the drive. It could prove annoying to some users owing to its brightness, especially if you want to maintain some darkness in the room. In contrast to the SoloPro, the Solo G3 doesn’t pack any fans thus maintaining complete silence, except for a pale hum caused by the drive inside, every now and then. There are no vibrations either.
Getting to the rear, it is the same perforated design that goes on to the reveal a port for the USB 3.0 and an AC input together with the On/Off switch. But for this, the drive packs no other connection type, like the eSATA, FireWare or Thunderbolt. There is also a bar coded sticker that has the serial number of the device. The same comes engraved in a metal strip too which is riveted in safely, such that ioSafe recognizes the drive despite an Armageddon. There is a slot that has been incorporated into the casing that comes with a Kensington lock and if that doesn’t seem good enough to you, there is also a floor mount on offer, which can be used to bolt the drive down adding to its security.
Hidden below the drive’s metal casing sits the DataCast Technology of ioSafe, a thick ceramic fortress that prevents heat penetration. ioSafe claims that DataCast can easily handle half hour of constant exposure to high temperatures (as high as 1550°F). Furthermore, the DataCast formulation can supposedly create a chemical bond via water molecules, such that at 160°F it releases water vapor thus limiting the internal temperature of the drive, even as the drive gets engulfed in flames. So that takes care of fire, but how about hazards of water? Flaking through the DataCast corral goes on to reveal the ioSafe’s HydroSafe water cordon. Encasing the drive like a Capri Sun pouch, this allows for submersion of the drive in as much as 10 feet or salt/fresh water. Additionally, the barrier has been designed in a manner that it is capable of dissipating any amount of heat generated by the drive during its normal operation.
Getting to the most impressive feature of the Solo G3 External Hard Drive that sets it apart from the rest would be its built-in Data Recovery Service (DRS). You can probably think of it like your data’s insurance. For instance, if ever your drive is destroyed for some reason, all you need to do is to send it to the guys at ioSafe and they will recover your data and transfer the same to an alternate drive and mail it back to you. This is something unique done by ioSafe as against their competitors, who just manage to cover the physical drive alone and not the data within. The DRS sure does give you some peace of mind about both your drive and the data within. While the hard drive comes with the DRS standard for 1 year, it can also be extended to 3 o 5 years, as per your requirement. Nevertheless, whether or not you choose to extend the warranty, you still remain covered for one whole year at the least.
The ioSafe G3 proves to be extremely handy especially for those with enormous amount of data to store like medical records, which requires periodic backup and needs to be safeguarded against tornadoes, floods or even fire. The G3 would prove to be fairly handy in such circumstances. While all of the above looks to be impressive, there is something else that we are more concerned about – all said and done it is still a single-volume hard drive, with just a single drive inside the casing. This would mean that there is no support for RAID configurations, namely RAID1 that protects data from a single-drive failure. So, even as the data is safe from extreme natural disasters, it is still prone to dying its death out of general wear and tear or mechanical defects. There is no facility for the drive to be replaced by users on their own. This only means that once the outer shell is ripped off, there is no guarantee for the effectiveness or protection offered by this drive. So you might want to understand one thing very clearly here – even though the drive is designed to sustain natural disasters, in all probabilities the drive might cease to work after having gone through any such disaster. Wherein the layers of protection can be peeled out and the internal drive retrieved to recover data by connecting to your PC, after which you might have to invest in another G3 if in case you want your data to survive yet another disaster.
The Solo G3 Protects Memories of enterprises, families and corporates alike, who depend on the Solo G3 for some peace of mind in knowing that their digital life is safe in the hands of an ultimate hard drive. Now be it a Laptop or a PC Backup, the ioSafe G3 provides you with the safest and simplest way of protecting data, such that you might not have to worry about losing data the next time your system crashes. Having backed up your PC with the Solo G3, restoring your system after a crash is pretty much fast and painless. Simply Plug and Play – with a simple but blazing fast 3.0 USB interface getting the G3 up and running cannot get anymore simple than just plugging in. Better yet the G3 is compatible with both Mac and Windows. Theft Protection, the Solo G3’s Kensington lock together with the boltdown flange ensures your drive stays grounded and pretty much assures you that the drive doesn’t walk out of your front door even in the event of a break in or robbery. Fan-less Near-Silent Cooling – the latest cooling technology, FloSafe airflow, aides in the near-silent operation of the drive, which is perfect particularly for fussy/sensitive users ,who prefer the fire and water protection in a silent way. Upon sensing devastating heat levels, fire for instance, the FloSafe vents regulate and safeguard your data from extreme heat. Supplement Online Backup – Trying to backup your PC could leave you vulnerable for weeks together, but this is where the Solo G3 pitches in rescuing your digital life in minutes. Supplementing an existing online backup solution, the G3 offers you the best of both worlds. While offsite redundancy is provided online, the Solo G3 provides a real-time backup, security, privacy and fast recovery speeds on a day to day basis. Protecting your identity – instant protection and safeguarding your financial info is a literal cakewalk with the Solo G3. You can also protect your personal financial details from theft, corruption and even loss of identity by storing it privately and locally on the Solo G3. Last but not the least, the drive is both Fireproof and Waterproof together with offering Data Recovery Services as elaborated above.
Having been pre-formatted with NTFS, the Solo G3 almost springs to life and works instantly upon being plugged onto a Windows PC. Additionally, it also packs a retail variant of “Genie Timeline Pro” backup software. The Solo G3 is compatible with Mac too, after you have it reformatted to HFS+ that just takes a couple of seconds. Then again, you will unfortunately not be able to enjoy the blazing speeds of the USB 3.0, as Mac’s generally provide support only for 2.0 USB’s. The G3 manages to score impressive ratings with both 2.0 and 3.0 USB, in reading as well as writing (we’ll get to that shortly).
Well, talking about Mac, you might want to be apprised of the fact that while the G3 has managed to be upgraded to USB 3.0, it is just the drive’s interface, so unless you possess a USB 3.0 PCI card or the ExpressCard for the Mac Pro and the a 17-inch MacBook Pro respectively, you really cannot benefit from the USB 3.0 speeds. Again, the transfer speeds on USB 2.0 look to be average as against other USB 2.0 drives. The Solo G3 looks to be 1 or 2Mbps faster than its rivals like the Iomega Helium or the WD My Passport for Mac .
Performance-wise it is not really an easy task to compare this behemoth drive to another one, as it is yet to find its equal. Well, there are a couple of others that are touted for their rugged label, but are nowhere near offering the kind of immunity promised by the Solo G3 for the natural catastrophes. Of course, drives like the Iomega eGo BlackBelt Mac Edition and the LaCie Rugged Mini sure do seem to survive short heights, but neither of the two has been designed for Armageddon and hence cannot really take raging fires or submersion. Again, even as the incredible resilient design of the Solo G3 steals the show away, the blazing USB 3.0 is also laudable in its own specialty. The Solo G3 fares impressively well in both reading and writing registering 111Mbps and 109Mbps respectively. With the USB 3.0 interface being compatible backwards too with the common USB 2.0, the results weren’t that impressive upon trying the same. With an average 26Mbps and 32Mbps for writing and reading respectively, it was kind of below average on the chart. So, it would be ideal to use the hard disk with a USB 3.0, if you really want to get the best out of the drive, which is absolutely easy to be added to the desktop via the add-in card. Again, the G3 looks to be a silent performer with no vibration or sounds emitted. Neither does it emit any heat for that matter owing to the fact that it gets absorbed by the multiple thick seams of protection.
Long story short, the Solo G3 evidently isn’t just any drive that is intended for mainstream usage, so it would be wrong to view it via a prism of average expectations. This leviathan has been crafted to withstand the worst possible conditions and it clearly does so with absolute ease even as it boasts of an impressive aesthetic chassis.
ioSafe supports the Solo G3 too, similar to its predecessor, with a 1 year data warranty, which includes the Data Recovery Service that takes care of restoring your data back if in case a disaster strikes. Just in case the damage caused by fire or water requires an expensive forensic recovery, the warranty covers a portion of that cost too. As mentioned, there is also the facility to upgrade to a 3 or 5 years warranty at an additional cost. Furthermore, the drive also packs a 3 year warranty against defects. So that is that in terms of support and for everything else there is always the company’s toll-free number that can be reached from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Additionally, their website also provides you FAQs, user guides/downloads or any other support-related stuff for that matter.
Plus: Blazing USB 3.0 interface, amazingly durable, fan-free silent operation, packs Forensic Data Recovery Service.
Minus: Pricey and Hefty
Well, to conclude if you are someone who is paranoid about freak accidents or natural disasters to strike you unaware depriving you of your beloved digital data, then the ioSafe Solo G3 is something that has been built exclusively for you. The drive is not just fire and water proof, but also offers Data Recovery Service for 1 year as well. Nevertheless, if the bulky design and single interface disappoints you big time, then there are other compact and less expensive options waiting to be explored. Now, not everyone looks at an armored truck for everyday commute, do they?
IoSafe Solo G3 USB 3.0 External Hard Drive – Complete Specification Details
|Model Name||Solo G3|
|Type of Drive||External|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||7.1 x 5.0 x 11.0″|
|Rotating Speed||7200 rpm|
|Operational Details||Single disk, up to 3TB storage capacity available
Fanless, near silent cooling
Multi-platform compatibility: Windows and Mac<
USB 3.0, up to 5Gb/s
|System Requirements||Intel Pentium II 350 MHz-compatible or Mac G3 processor & greater
Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7 or Mac OS 8.6 & greater
USB 3.0 equipped system
For USB 3.0 speeds, the system must support USB 3.0 specifications
|Power Requirements||Electrical – AC input
Voltage: 80 ~ 264 VAC at 50/60 HZ
Typical Power Consumption: < 25W
|Operating Environment||Operating: 0-35° C (95°F)
Non-operating: 0-1550°F, ½ hr per ASTM E119
Operating Humidity: 20% – 80% (non-condensing)
Non-operating Humidity: 100%, Full water immersion, 10 feet, 3 days.
|In the Box||ioSafe Solo G3 USB External Hard Drive
USB 3.0 Cable
Solo G3 Quick Start Guide
|Warranty||1 Year Data Recovery Service Standard (3 and 5 year plans available)
3 Year manufacturer’s warranty for defects Standard (5 year
available with purchase of 5 year DRS upgrade)