The Tiny Apricorn Aegis Padlock SSD – Big on Security and Speed

Written by Martin Regtien on . Posted in Storage

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I've lost count on how many devices from Apricorn we have reviewed over the past 10 years.
The Padlock series is the most secure external hard drive line available today and Apricorn seems to be the market leader in this field.
No surprises there.


What did surprise me was how small the form factor is of their latest Padlock SSD!
So let's have a look once I can find the key to this Padlock....

 

 

We have done an extensive review on its larger sibling here. That was a massive 2 ½ inch drive which weighs a tonne, needs an external power plug and is not nearly as fast as this little brother. Capacity is the only thing the HDD has over the solid-state little one.

Here is another link to a slightly larger Padlock model (not as secure as the one we're talking about today).


Apricorn did send me the top-of-the-wozza (if you have to look that up you're not an Aussie...) 480 GB drive which sports an equally massive pricetag: 799 USD! The smallest model of this series costs 329.

So what you are really paying for?
Speed is a given with these 3.0 SSDs so it has to be security and toughness.

Security

The Aegis Padlock SSD is super tough with crush resistant aluminium all around.
It can handle the weight of an elephant (at least an Asian elephant) at 6600 lbs. Dust and water resistant and FIPS 140 – 2 level 2 validated, if you know what I'm sayin'...

Obviously, being a Padlock, it has a secure PIN access. This has to be at least 7, max 16 digits long. It also has AES-XTS hardware encryption. That's Real-time 256-bit Military Grade.
The integrated USB cable also helps with keeping it very compact, safe and secure. The unit comes with a small pouch and the Y cable if you need some more juice from your host device.
The routine for putting in your admin pin is described on the Quick Start Guide and needs to be followed precisely.

 

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Speed


Together with the USB 3.0 it will do about 230 MB/sec. How much you are getting in actual reality very much depends on the type of drive in your PC. While speed is hardly an issue these days with SSDs, reliability can be. We have had plenty of issues with solid-state drives that weren't solidly reliable....


One of the first questions we asked Apricorn was what type of controller and what brand of drive they use. This is what they said:
We have a few different SSD modules and brands that we have qualified to use with the Padlock SSD and as the controller is built onto the module it can vary as well.
This makes sense from a manufacturing position as you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket.


When pressed a bit more, Michelle Fischer, the always helpful marketing manager from Apricorn, explained that:

I talked to our guys here and the Padlock SSD you received most likely uses a SanDisk SSD, which uses the Marvell controller. Luckily we are pretty small for an electronics company so I actually get that information. However as mentioned below, any of our capacities could use a different brand SSD and controller chip. By not being tied to a particular SSD manufacturer, we can offer the latest capacities, not have an issue if a particular manufacturer has a drive shortage and make sure that we use the drives with the best specs.


Conclusion

I have travelled with many an Apricorn drive but the Aegis Padlock SSD is hands down the most portable, toughest and most secure drive to take along with your tablet or notebook. The downside is the price but if absolute security is your number one consideration, price is not. Capacity might be but with 3 models to choose from I can highly recommend these most diminutive of external drives! No wonder this ruggedised SSD carries a warranty of 3 years.


For more background material check out the earlier reviews we have done in this series where you can read about things like Brute Force Self Destruct Feature... I wonder if this might affect the warranty though?

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