In what feels like an age since we last reviewed a storage device, the folks over at iStorage contacted us and asked if we wanted to take a look at their latest hardware. We have taken a look at a couple of encrypted storage devices from the iStorage Ashur series, including the diskAshur Pro2 USB 3.1 Ultra Secure HDD, and the DiskAshur2 USB 3.1 Encrypted HDD. Today we will be taking a look at their latest in encrypted flash technology, the iStorage datAshur Pro2 USB 3.2 128GB flash drive.
iStorage datAshur Pro2 USB 3.2 128GB Encrypted Flash Drive Closer Look
Starting with a clear and concise diagram from the official iStorage website, we get a clearer understanding of each component of the datAshur Pro2. The key to each part goes like this:
- LED lights (Red = Standby state, Green = User mode, Blue = Admin mode).
- Polymer coated wear-resistant, alphanumeric keypad.
- Common Criteria EAL4+ ready secure microprocessor.
- Epoxy coating.
- Hard anodized and ruggedized extruded aluminium housing.
- Key button.
- SHIFT button.
- Zinc alloy (can be attached to a keyring).
- Rubber gasket (Waterproof when the sleeve is fitted).
The datAshur Pro2 USB 3.2 128GB drive comes supplied in a plastic blister pack, with a professional and stylish look. Inside the packaging is the encrypted USB 3.2 flash drive itself, as well as a protective sleeve which when installed, makes the drive fully waterproof. In terms of size, it’s slightly longer than normal USB sticks, which is apparent with a length of 87.4mm, a depth of 13.4mm, and a width of 19.4mm. It uses AES-XTS 256-bit encryption at the hardware level, which makes it the perfect drive for those looking to protect critical data and files.
Taking a look at the drive itself, it’s black and is available in 8 different capacities. This includes 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB (size we are reviewing today), 256GB, and a massive 512GB. That’s half a terabyte of encrypted and protected portable storage, which is fascinating. On the surface, the datAshur Pro2 uses the latest USB 3.2 interface and has 10 buttons on the keypad from 0 to 9. This means you can use the encrypted system by entering a customised PIN which allows access to the drive.
The main benefits of the iStorage datAshur Pro2 USB 3.2 drives are that they are validated at government level with FIPS 140-2 level 3 security, and they also conform to the NCSC CPA, NLNCSA BSPA, and NATO restricted standard validations. Surrounding the components is a very tough layer of epoxy resin which if removed, would render the drive unusable. Perfect for those who want a tamper-free device. One of the most interesting features is the self destruct feature. This means that you can enter a secret self-destruct PIN which will completely wipe the drive, and make the data unrecoverable, even with recovery software.
The packaging comes with a quick start guide to get new users on the way to protecting their data. When setting up the datAshur Pro2, you will need to devise a 7 to 15 digit PIN before setting up. It’s also notable to mention that the drive comes with an internal lithium polymer 3.7V battery which will require 30-60 minutes of charging in a USB port before use.
Putting the iStorage datAshur Pro2 USB 3.2 128GB flash drive through the CrystalDiskMark storage benchmark, we can see that this drive is pretty quick. We saw peak read speeds of 81MB/s, as well as peak write speeds of 74MB/s. While there are likely drives on the market which will be faster, none of them will combine the high levels of encryptions and data protection with a solid showing in our test. The speeds advertised in the marketing are a little different to our results, but this is the difference between uncompressed and compressed data.
The iStorage datAshur Pro2 USB 3.2 128GB Encrypted Flash Drive Review: The Verdict
So after getting to grips (literally) with the datAshur Pro2 USB 3.2 128GB encrypted flash drive from iStorage, our verdict is a positive one on the whole. Summarising our experience with it, we can confirm that the drive is rugged, robust, and foolproof. For more novice users, a better understanding of the product would be essential. The type of buyer of this kind of product is likely to be working in a high data-sensitive environment, or high paced business with the potential loss of data (stolen) very costly for some business models.
- Available from just 4GB, all the way up to 512GB
- Very stylish, and robust design
- FIPS 140-2 Level 3 compliant tamper-proof design
- Data self destruct feature is handy in critical situations
- Users can install an operating system and boot into Windows directly from the drive
- 3-year warranty from iStorage with free lifetime technical support
The iStorage datAshur Pro2 128GB model has a recommended retail price of £169, with the drive currently available on Amazon for £176.49. That’s not too bad all things considered, and those looking to protect vital data will appreciate this. The weigh up in price, performance and the actual need for this type of product are hard to balance, but critical data falling into the wrong hands could be very costly indeed, and for us, that’s not a risk worth taking!
Thanks to iStorage for sending a sample of the datAshur Pro2 128GB encrypted flash drive in for review.