iStorage diskAshur2 Review: Ultra-Secure 256-Bit AES Locked Down External Storage

Introducing the iStorage diskAshur2

The new iStorage diskAshur2 is a specialized, external hard drive geared toward security conscious consumers. The diskAshur2 is a little pricey, and although it's no slouch in the speed department (we'll get into that in a bit), it's certainly not going to compete with that shiny new internal SSD you've got your eye on in terms of transfer speeds either. But here's the thing: It's plenty fast enough for just about anything you'd want to do, and just as importantly, it's both rugged and secure. So, despite a somewhat lofty asking price, the diskAshur2 is actually a pretty good deal. If you need its feature-set, you'll be happy to have made the investment for the added security layer.

The diskAshur2 is one part of a full line-up of rugged, encrypted external drives. The rest of the line consists of a variety of USB 3.1-compliant flash drives and SSDs, that are all backward-compatible to other USB standards. The diskAshur2, an HDD-based product, comes in sizes up to 5TB -- we're looking at the 1TB model in this review. As you'll see, in our tests it definitely did not keep up with a collection of flash drives and SSDs, but it more than held its own against a standard (i.e., unencrypted) 1TB Seagate GoFlex HDD.

istorage diskash 3

Most importantly, the drive is secured by military-grade, AES 256-bit full-disk encryption. Unlike software-based encryption schemes, this security layer is implemented in hardware; as a result, there's no noticeable degradation in speed when the on-board chip encrypts or decrypts data as the drive reads or writes.

To add another layer of security, the drive features a customizable, wear-resistant PIN keypad that will lock out (or even destroy) the disk's data if tampered with or if an attempt is made to brute force the PIN.

iStorage diskAshur2 Portable HDD
Specifications & Features

  • Available Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
  • Seq. Read Max: 148MB/s
  • Seq. Read Max: 140MB/s
  • Dimensions: 4.9 x 3.3 x .75 (124mm x 84mm x 19mm}
  • Weight: 0.47 lbs (216g)
  • Water-resistant/dust-resistant: IP56 certification
  • Interface: USB 3.1
  • Supports Admin and User PINs
  • Self-destruct feature
  • PIN-authenticated access w/self-destruct
  • Unattended auto-lock
  • OS/platform-independent
  • Available in four colors: red, black, green, and blue
  • Desk lock slot
  • Built-in USB cable
  • Protective carrying case included
  • 2-year warranty
  • $147 - 474 (Depending On Capacity)


As you might expect, our 5400rpm review unit, when mated to an ASUS Zenbook running Windows 10, didn't quite hit the manufacturer's stated max R/W speeds, but your mileage may vary. On the other hand, the drive did outperform a similar but un-encrypted USB-powered external 1TB Seagate drive. We got max speeds of bit over 101MB/s reading and 99MB/s writing data, which was enough to beat a Seagate GoFlex fairly handily. So if the diskAshur2 can keep your data secure and still provide I/O equal to or better than a similar HDD-based unit that's not secured, we suspect many of you would be good with that.

Related content