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.
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.
- 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
- 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.