Choosing the Right Rugged Storage Drive for Active Lifestyles


How do you treat your portable drive that holds irreplaceable data? If it’s not well, durability should be an important factor when choosing a suitable storage solution. Another important decision is the type of drive that can either provide ample storage space with a hard disc drive or lightning-fast access to files using an SSD. Of the two drive types, hard drives are more susceptible to failures since they retrieve data with a spinning platter-and-head design. Excess vibrations or drops can cause irreparable data loss—when the read-and-write head contacts the platter and scratches the magnetic data-storage surface. Each of the following storage drive systems has a unique feature that separates it from the rest, while providing basic functions such as drop protection, as well as spill and dust resistance. In no particular order, let us look through the following products specifically built for the mobile traveler—offered up by LaCie, SanDisk, G-Technology, IoSafe, Sony, Rocstor, and ADATA Technology.

To meet the evening news deadline or continue shooting, Sony has created portable hard drives that are designed for post-production houses and broadcasters. Environments such as these need to transfer large amounts of video assets to a highly reliable, rugged drive, so post-production teams can start their magic. Sony has PSZ-HB1T and PSZ-HB2T hard drives that come with a tough silicon design, along with a hard case for transporting the drive. When housed in the hard case, the portable hard drive can withstand falls of up to 7.9'. Without the case, the silicon casing affords up to 6.6' of drop protection.

Sony 2TB Professional External USB Rugged Hard Drive with Thunderbolt

The next portable drive on the list is the SanDisk Extreme 510, which comes with an SSD designed for creative professionals by delivering sequential read speeds of up to 430 MB/s, as well as sequential write speeds of up to 400 MB/s. The Extreme 510 also has all-terrain durability along with a rugged rubber bumper. This level of protection has gone through extensive testing to acquire its IP55 rating for water and dust resistance.

SanDisk 480GB Extreme 510 USB 3.0 External SSD

Next on the list is the ADATA Technology HD710A Rugged that contains a hard drive and features an integrated USB 3.0 cable. The HD710A sports the highest rating of IP68, which ensures no dust will enter, as well as protection against the effects of immersion in 4.9' deep waters for up to 60 minutes. Additionally, the hard drive is encased in triple-layer construction and incorporates elastic silicone material to provide shock absorption from all angles.

ADATA Technology 2TB HD710A USB 3.0 Rugged External HDD

What’s so good about a drive that can withstand immersion in water for up to 60 minutes when you can’t find the drive at the bottom of a river? Thankfully, G-technology has designed the G-Technology G-DRIVE ev ATC that will float above the water rather than sinking. If you choose to take a quick cooling dip in a stream with the hard drive, it can survive water depths of up to 1' for up to 30 seconds. G-technology has equipped the G-DRIVE ev ATC with a hard disk drive and offers an integrated Thunderbolt™ cable or an included USB 3.0 cable as host interface options.

G-Technology 1TB G-DRIVE ev ATC with Thunderbolt

While other brands offer one type of drive as a choice, LaCie has a whole line of Rugged products that meets a user’s different requirements. You can get a hard drive or SSD housed in a protective enclosure—wrapped in a rubberized cover. LaCie also makes the Rugged RAID that is a portable dual-drive storage solution to provide enhanced data-transfer speeds or improved data redundancy capabilities while you’re on the road. All the Rugged series feature crush protection just like the other drives; however, its special housing can withstand up to 1 ton of pressure.

LaCie 4TB (2 x 2TB) Rugged RAID

Rather than exterior protections, the Amphibious X5 from Rocstor comes equipped with an internal three-level architecture that suppresses the stress of drops and violent movements. The first stage is a full-length bridgeboard that firmly supports an SSD or hard drive in place. For eliminating stress on the bridgeboard, a strong aluminum rim is on board to bear external weights while dissipating heat. And the last layer is a shock-absorbent damper strip that is mounted between the bridgeboard and chassis to offer additional resistance against drops and bumps. Other notable features include an embedded keypad and real-time encryption to safeguard your data from unauthorized users. 

Rocstor 1TB Amphibious X5 Mobile Encrypted Hard Drive

Moving on to the next product in the lineup is a not-so-portable storage option, albeit a system that employs intensive protective features. IoSafe makes the 3TB Solo G3 USB 3.0 External Hard Drive to survive extreme temperatures of up to 1550°F (843.3°C). It utilizes a DataCast process that releases cooling water vapors when temperatures exceed 160°F (71.1°C). The desktop Solo G3 is designed to survive in a fire for up to 30 minutes, so data can be preserved while the local fire department goes to work. After the fire has been extinguished, the Solo G3 is probably immersed in a pool of water, but not to worry, since the Solo G3 can be submerged in up to 10' of water for 72 hours.

IoSafe 3TB Solo G3 USB 3.0 External Hard Drive

So, there you have it, various drives that deliver unique abilities that could fit nearly any type of an active lifestyle. Out of all the different storage choices, let us know which would serve you best. Or suggest one that wasn’t on this list and deserves to be mentioned in the Comments section, below.

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