The Ultimate On-Location Storage Solution – ioSafe Rugged Portable SSD Review

That’s a big call really, isn’t it? “Ultimate on-location storage” what does that even mean, and do you need it? Well, dear reader, read on and we’ll get to the bottom of this relatively new, bomb proof storage device from

The aptly named Rugged Portable is an external solid state drive that connects to your computer via USB 3.0 to store all of your files – in my case, raw images photographed on location. We have the 1TB version on a trial and that’s going to be (much) more than enough for most photography adventures.


Transfer speeds via USB 3.0 are usually more than enough under the two circumstances I’ve used the drive. The first being to copy from my 32GB Sandisk Extreme Pro CF card via a Lexar USB3 card reader, through the Macbook Air and out the other side into the compact ioSafe drive. I also use a couple of Thunderbolt drives at home, and the noted difference between Thunderbolt and USB3 transfer speeds isn’t actually all that noticeable under real world conditions.

The second scenario was while shooting for an agency that’s recently hired me to be the photographer for a series of shoots. When tethered, and shooting on location, I find myself importing the images to my WD Passport Pro and running a second copy off to the ioSafe – Why? This client takes my CR2 files at the end of each shoot and the designer handles the processing and editing, so I unplug the WD and hand it to the producer and he takes it away with him until next shoot, the ioSafe comes with me. You’re still sitting there scratching your forehead?

Six of the shoots I’ve done so far for this client, four of them have been of scenarios I can’t recreate for one reason or another. If those images are lost by me between location (sometimes on set for two days, away from home and the comfort of backing up to my Promise R8 – yes, I love storage) and the client has a mishap – well, frankly, we’re stuffed. Obviously this is a worst case scenario, but these are the ones that we like to avoid!


Sure, you find a way to work around it – you’re a professional, and that’s why I think it’s nice to not have to “get around it” and to take as much risk out of your shoot days as possible.

When I say “if those images are lost by me” I’m hoping to never have a catastrophic failure that involves my gear melting down, drowning or being driven over, but human error involves dropping drives, spilling a glass of wine on your laptop – the list goes on.

I can see this drive being the perfect storage and transport for destination wedding photographers, commercial photographers travelling to shoot, pretty much anyone that really cares about their, or their clients’ images, between shoot and final delivery.

The ioSafe Rugged portable has some pretty impressive statistics and while I’ve not tested these personally* I know the ioSafe crew are pretty serious about their gear and have a data recovery guarantee attached to their products (read more here on the ioSafe website).


  • Crush Protection up to 5,000 lbs.
  • Drop Protection up to 10 feet
  • Immersion protection up to 30′ for three days
  • USB 3.0 SuperSpeed (like Superman, you know)
  • Data Recovery Service up to $5,000/TB
  • World’s best warranty
  • Mac or PC

Like I said, pretty impressive… But then, it’s not really impressive unless I test some of this stuff, right? (This was an afterthought and, now *I have tried some of them!)

Enlisting the services of Filmmaker and Educator, Lee Herbet of Capturing Passion We’re going to try show you what makes the ioSafe Rugged Portable the little beast that it is.

So, for some examples! In most of these examples I was either tethered shooting to the drive (crush test) or it was at least plugged in and powered up (water and drop tests)

1. Crush test

I’m on set, shooting the OutdoorTech van (Thanks to Blonde Robot!) when one of the directors glides in silently in his Tesla S… Clearly the Tesla has a great rear facing camera, but this one doesn’t have a front facing camera and well, you can see how that played out!

2. Submersion test

We’re back shooting some images for a water conservation company here in Melbourne, thankfully not into 30′ of water, but you get the idea!

3. Drop test

I’d forgotten to simply use my CamRanger with the 7.3m (24′) tall Kupo LookOut stand while shooting a lifestyle image… Watching this back almost reminds me of a Mr Bean sketch!

So, even though the shooting situations above were staged, the drive really did get run over, dropped, and drowned multiple times to make these short films. The footage was also saved onto the drive and the films edited together on location at my favourite cafe right after we wrapped the final filming. You can even see the drive data light flashing in the Tesla video as I was shooting to it just before it was run over!

In closing , do you need the ultimate on-location storage solution? Only your business requirements can answer that question for you, but if you’re after an easily portable SSD external drive for your photography, that will look danger in the face and laugh – this is it.

This drive leaves me nothing to complain about and so I give it five gold stars.

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed my take on the ioSafe Rugged Portable!  –Simon


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