3.5 star rating

Apricorn Aegis Padlock DT (2TB) Review

Pros: Easy setup; Plethora of security features; Blazingly fast readwrite speeds;
Cons: Large and heavy; No preloaded utilities; Requires external power supply
The Verdict: The Aegis Padlock DT is the Fort Knox of hard drives and offers impressively fast performance.

REVIEW

SPECIFICATIONS

In the words of Han Solo: It might not look like much, but it's got it where it counts. The Aegis Padlock DT, a beefy USB 3.0 hard drive from Apricorn, lacks the sleekness of such portable drives as the Seagate GoFlex Turbo and Iomega eGo. Still, this $289 2TB drive promises to protect your data with 256-bit encryption, anti-tampering features and a numeric keypad. Is the extra security worth the money?

Article Continued Below

Design

The Aegis Padlock DT certainly lives up to its name -- with its boxy frame, heavy 2.6-pound weight and large keypad, the drive looks like the security lock on a reinforced titanium door. The device measures 7.2 x 4.5 x 1.5 inches, making it almost 2 inches longer and half an inch thicker than the LaCie Rugged Mini, the largest drive we recently reviewed. Then again, Apricorn calls this a desktop drive -- and not a portable -- for a reason.

Encased in an aluminum heat-dissipating enclosure, a vent runs the length of the bottom, while the power switch, AC port, USB 3.0 port and a Kensington lock slot can be found on the side. The top features a numeric keypad and a display with icons that let the user know if the drive is locked, unlocked or in Admin Mode.

Sadly, the Padlock DT requires an external power source, unlike the ThinkPad USB 3.0 Secure Hard Drive.

Setup and Utilities

Besides setting up a personal identification number, the Aegis Padlock DT does not require any additional installation; simply plug the drive into your notebook, enter the default PIN, and start transferring files. Although the drive asks for a PIN the first time you plug it in, the default PIN (123456) is easy to remember. Apricorn suggests changing your PIN the first time you use the drive.

While the lack of an automatic backup utility is understandable on a drive such as the Aegis Padlock DT, which requires that users manually input a PIN each time they access the drive, tools for online storage (as on the LaCie Rugged Mini) or for syncing files across multiple locations (as on the Seagate GoFlex Turbo) would have been a welcome addition.

Security

Compared to the rudimentary or nonexistent security features of other portable hard drives, Apricorn's Aegis Padlock DT blows the competition away. The drive features two levels of security: 256-bit AES encryption for data on the drive, and a numbered keypad used to access the drive itself.

A small display above the keypad features three indicator lights, letting the user know if the drive is locked, unlocked or in Admin Mode. When in Admin Mode, the user can change the PIN to any combination of his or her choosing (although it must be at least six digits long). Even after plugging the USB 3.0 cable into a notebook, data can only be accessed after entering the PIN and pressing the Unlock key at the lower right corner of the keypad.

To lock the drive, the user simply clicks the Cancel button at the lower left corner. Several incorrect attempts to input a PIN cause the drive to lock itself, rendering the data useless and requiring a total reset of the drive.

Tough epoxy coating makes it difficult to remove the drive from its casing, but the 256-bit AES encryption ensures that data will be protected even if thieves manage to extract the drive. Apricorn also includes a number of other security elements, including a brute force self-destruct feature that destroys the encryption key after a predetermined number of failed PIN entries, as well as Variable Timing Circuit technology that's designed to prevent hackers from infiltrating the keypad's electronics.

Performance

As a USB 3.0 drive, the Aegis Padlock DT offers stellar read and write speeds, even though its rotational speed is just 5,400 rpm. Indeed, this 2TB drive beat the average and the competition in almost every category.

It took only 1 minute and 9 seconds to write 5GB of mixed multimedia files to the Aegis Padlock DT, a rate of 74.2 MBps. This matches the Buffalo MiniStation Extreme as the fastest write speed for 5GB of files, and exceeds the average time by 57 seconds, or 30 MBps.

The drive performed much more slowly when reading the same folder, taking 2 minutes and 17 seconds, a rate of 37.3 MBps. This falls well short of the average read speed for the category (52.3 MBps), and almost 50 MBps below the category leader, the MiniStation Extreme.

When transferring a single 3GB file, however, the Aegis Padlock DT handily beat the competition. Writing the file to the drive took just 26 seconds, a blisteringly fast rate of 118.2 MBps. This easily surpasses the previous category leaders, the Buffalo MiniStation Extreme (99.1 MBps) and Iomega eGo (99.1 MBps) and the category average (78.8 MBps).

The Aegis Padlock DT read the same file off the drive in 29 seconds, a rate of 105.9 MBps. This beats the category average (87.8 MBps) as well as the Seagate GoFlex Turbo (93.1 MBps). Only the Iomega eGo, with its category-leading read speed of 122.9 MBps, exceeded the Aegis Padlock DT.

Configurations

Apricorn offers the Aegis Padlock DT in six configurations: 1TB, 2TB and 3TB drives with 128-bit AES Encryption (priced at $229, $279 and $359, respectively), as well as 1TB, 2TB and 3TB drives with 256-bit AES Encryption ($239, $289 and $369).

Verdict

Although pricey at $289, the 2TB Apricorn Aegis Padlock DT USB 3.0 secure hard drive offers great read/write speeds, robust security and plenty of storage space. Some buyers will no doubt be turned off by the drive's large size and heavy weight, but to us it's a reasonable trade-off for a tamper-proof hard drive with multiple layers of electronic and digital security.

Those looking for something more portable that can be powered via USB might prefer the Lenovo ThinkPad USB 3.0 Secure Hard Drive, but it's limited to a max of 750GB ($199). But if you need a nigh-impregnable vault in which to store all your data, the Aegis Padlock DT is the drive for you.

Tags: Apricorn Aegis Padlock DT (2TB), Apricorn Aegis Padlock DT, Apricorn Aegis, USB 3.0 Storage Drive, storage drives, Accessories, reviews

Technical Specifications
Apricorn Aegis Padlock DT (2TB)
www.apricorn.com


Capacity2 TB
Rotational Speed5400 rpm
Seek Time
Read/Write Speed
PortsUSB 3.0
Storage Type
Size7.2 x 4.5 x 1.5 inches
Weight2.6 pounds
FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 3840 x 2160 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE