This review can be short because we have reviewed many products from Apricorn, including an earlier model of the Aegis Bio with fingerprint reader.
We will state our bias upfront: we are fans of this Californian outfit which specialises in manufacturing external storage devices with great security features. However, I'm not particularly a fan of fingerprint readers, much preferring keypad security.
So how did we go with this one?
Again, I love the form factor and the design of this 2 ½ inch drive with its integrated, short USB cable. Apricorn has kindly included a travelling pouch with the unit and a Y extension for the built-in USB cable. It can come in various capacities with the 1 TB unit the top of the range. It's a USB 3.0 and anything less than that would be ridiculous with these high capacities. You need a fast connection but you also need to be able to quickly connect to your data and here the fingerprint reader can be problematic.
The tricky part is to enrol your fingers -- up to 5 can be accepted. There are three LEDs above the fingerprint reader and an Enroll button below the reader. The red, green and blue LEDs will flash or be solid in various combinations and it is fair to say that without the quick start guide you might be totally lost! The Guide indicates that it might take about half a dozen attempts for a new fingerprint read to "take". My right hand index finger took about nine tries but getting it to read and gain access to the drive is pretty much a hit and miss affair. I also tried several other modes of swiping: fast, slow, soft touch, pressing down hard, pointing down and keeping it flat, top to bottom and the other way around. It did not seem to make much of a difference. I made sure my fingers, which are normal size, were clean and not greasy.
I asked our webmaster to try the reader. He's a much younger chap and had no problem with the reads.
Then I compared his fingers with mine and noticed that he had more pronounced "ridging" of his fingerprints. Mine were a lot smoother. Perhaps that's why mine were hard to read...
I had better success if I made my fingers slightly moist.
So the problem was not so much the fingerprint reader but who is doing the swipes!
Anyways, with that sorted out the rest was easy. The 1TB capacity is plenty for most road warriors (do we still use that term now that everyone is so mobile?!) and the form factor is perfect: about the same size of a smartphone, just slightly more square and a tad thicker. The weight feels similar too.
The Aegis BIO 3.0 is extremely portable and very fast with the USB3.0 connection. It's also extremely secure with the highest encryption levels available at this price level which is a pretty sweet price point, by the way. A 500Mb drive is just USD199 and for 50 bucks more you get the 1TB model.
Remember: this is not just any external HDD: you pay a little bit extra for the extreme security and the high portability of the Apricorn Aegis BIO 3.0. And that also includes total independence of the host OS. In our opinion it is worth every cent if you need both these features and we recommend this unit highly!
PS: If you want to know more about the military grade 265-bit AES-XTS hardware encryption or the AuthenTec Fingerprint Sensor, read our earlier reviews.