Apricorn USBHere’s an oxymoron: I’ve just upgraded and downgraded my external drive at the same time…

It’ll be clear when I explain that this drive is a superfast SSD albeit with a much lower storage capacity (120GB) than the previous Apricorn Padlock 3TB drive we reviewed recently.

Worth the investment? Perhaps.

OK. It was inevitable: SSDs as external drives. They have become reasonable inexpensive now. Yet, the still lack the capacious storage room of the conventional hard drives. So they will probably not replace them for quite a while particularly when our photo and video file sizes continue to grow. So what place does an SSD have as an external drive? For one, it is much smaller, much lighter than their hunky counterparts.  Ideal for travelling. Just compare the two units below.

Apricorn USBThe charm of the SSD unit is that it gets directly powered by a USB port. (If your port does not supply enough juice you can attach the extension cable with the Y double USB plug but most USB 2.0 ports also provide enough power).

Charm #2: the USB cable is very short and is “built into” the unit. Very compact indeed.

Charm #3: the keypad provides top level security which is so important when you are taking it with you when you travel.

Read our previous Apricorn review about how this all works. It’s a bit involved to go from the default 123456 to setting your own PIN but the Quick Start Guide will help you out (as does the manual on the drive).

120GB is just the right size for backup of your C drive with all your programs and/or some critical files you need to take with you. I’m not so sure if the higher capacities are all that cost effective as it will be cheaper to go for the physically similar sized Aegis Padlock ($239 for 1TB).

This 129GB (119 in reality) SSD cost $379. A 60GB model is $199.

In both cases you’ll get Real-time 256-bit Military Grade AES-XTS Hardware Encryption that works right out of the box with any operating system. Top stuff.

All the other good stuff we wrote about earlier like the Brute Force Self Destruct Feature, also applies to this unit.

Why use a Solid State Drive?
(taken from the Apricorn site)

  • 5X Greater Life Expectancy than Premium Rotational Drives
  • Works in extreme temperatures
  • Freezing temps of 40°F (40°C) below 0
  • Searing temps of up to 158°F (70°C)
  • Unaffected by high humidity
  • Works in 95% humidity at temps under 131°F (55°C)
  • Virtually shock and vibration resistant
  • Rated to: Shock 1500G/0.5ms, Vibration 20G/20-2000Hz
  • With no moving parts, the Aegis Padlock is completely silent


Speed, not capacity is its main selling point compared to its HDD sibling. Plus, of course, the built-in toughness of a solid state drive. However, speed is determined by several factors. Attach it to a USB 3.0 port and you may expect an increase in read speed of about 4.5 times. Your average Write Speed will be over 5 times faster. But keep in mind that to obtain the fastest transfer speeds your computer’s internal drive must also be solid state. With a normal internal hard drive, the speed will be limited by your computer’s HDD. So the official maximum speed on a USB 3.0 port is up to 160 MB/sec Read and 145 MB/sec Write.


Who will benefit most from this type of fast and tough external drive? Obviously the military and other organisations who have personnel in very demanding and insecure locations. Or when you’re travelling a lot and don’t want to jeopardise your data.

It’ll cost you but I guarantee you that with an UNsecure drive you’ll be happy to pay 10 times what the drive will have cost you in case you lose your data!

The Apricorn USB3.0 Aegis PADLOCK SSD will give you the best chance at secure survival in the most demanding of circumstances and will give you the fastest speeds for all your tasks.

Highly recommended!