IOSafe Solo Review

“Like an aircraft black box for your data”...(from

I am a big fan of the whole storage market, having worked in it for years and I just find it interesting.  Most photographers that I know back up their files to an external hard drive (including myself) or a NAS box of some kind.  I wrote a little article about some of these options, which you can find here.

Recently, I came across the IOSafe Solo.  It is an external hard drive, but includes the added benefits of being both waterproof and fireproof.  As a group photographers are a bit paranoid about losing their original files, which is a real concern and in my opinion justified.  We often think of this loss coming via a hard drive crash or something of that sort, but what if (God forbid) you suffered a fire or flood at your house or studio?  That would be a total disaster for anything of an electronic nature.  Thankfully, the good folks at IOSafe thought of this too and have created a unique and innovative solution for this unthinkable problem.

The solution:  the IOSafe Solo external hard drive.


The first thing you notice is its physical size.  This is not some lightweight little external drive that you carry around in your pocket.  This is a sturdy and durable drive.  It is substantial and feels like it could withstand a significant amount of punishment - which it can!  This thing is heavy, so I put it on the scale:  14.8 pounds! Wow!  That's definitely the heaviest hard drive enclosure I have ever held.  They are not kidding around here, this is a true disaster-proof drive!  I measured it too:  5” wide x 7” high x 10.75” deep.  So that also makes it the largest single-drive enclosure I have held too!  So, what do you get in this thing? 

  • FloSafe — Patented technology providing cooling air flow through vents for reliable computer operation. Vents automatically block destructive heat and protect the data within the enclosure.
  • HydroSafe — Patented technology used with FloSafe vents to provide a protective waterproof barrier yet still allow the normal heat dissipation typical of computer hardware
  • DataCast — Proprietary endothermic insulation technology to protect the data against extreme heat

What does that all really mean to us?

* Fireproof to 1550 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes

* Waterproof to 10 feet of fresh or salt water for 3 days

* $1,000 data recovery guarantee - one time, no questions asked policy good for 1 year, and you have the option to upgrade this guarantee to 3 or 5 years total. 

* 3 year standard manufacturers warranty for defects

Currently the IOSafe Solo is available in sizes ranging from 500GB to 2TB.  With the way the hard drive market seems to change, I expect it is not long before you see even larger drives in this product.

Also, it includes a single USB 2.0 port in the back (therefore a 480 Mbps transfer rate), along with an On/Off switch, a cooling fan, and a handy little latch that you can use to physically lock the IOSafe in place.  Here's that view:

And here is a shot of the package contents:

With this being a one-of-a-kind product, it has received a lot of press attention, not to mention awards and recognition.  You can find a current list of these things here.

Also, if you want to see folks putting this device through EXTREME torture, such as setting it on fire, drowning it or trying to crush it with a backhoe, you can see those things here.  Warning: these videos are fun to watch!

It will work with either a Mac or a Windows computer, so cross-platform compatibility is ensured.  It does come formatted for NTFS (for Windows users) and of course you just need a quick reformat to get it ready for your Mac OS X.  I use a Mac so I had to reformat, which took maybe 1 minute.  So, no big deal there.  After that, my Mac immediately recognized it and mounted the volume.  I was ready for business!

I use Apple's Aperture to manage my photo library, so I created a new vault and started backing it up to the Solo.  At the time of this writing, the library was about 80GB, so I just let it run while I did some other things.  I came back in a little while and it was all done.  Easy as pie, just like it should be.  After all, this is an external hard drive, so it operates just as all of them do.    

One small difference between this and the pocket-sized drives (apart from the obvious size difference) - this one does have a slight bit of noise coming out of it, but it is not enough to be a bother at all.  It appears to just be the fan spinning and blowing - normal stuff.

It is a great drive and I highly recommend that you take a close look at it.  Yes, it is a bit more expensive than a typical external hard drive, but those things can't hold a candle to this guy!  And if you hold a candle to the Solo, you don't have to worry about your data!  Haha!

Hopefully this review is helpful, and you can find additional information on the IOSafe website.

Thanks for stopping by!