One of the best parts about the constantly falling price of memory has been an increasing ubiquity. Anyone can pick up a few gigabytes of portable storage on the cheap, and easily grab those music files or movies or documents or photographs to easily share them across computers. All it takes is a thumb drive, or a portable hard drive, and you can have copies of your stuff ready at hand.
Unless you lose it, or it’s stolen. In which case, unless you’ve been using some serious tools, you might as well consider your data compromised. If it’s just your vacation photos, that’s probably not a big deal. But if it’s sensitive information from your company- presentations or reports, for example- then the problem is potentially much larger. And that’s where DataLocker comes in, offering solutions both optical and magnetic, in the form of the DL3 500GB portable hard drive and their SecureDisk writable CD media.
The CDs themselves seem pretty normal- until you pop in the disk and take a look at the software included for burning. Offering AES 256 bit encryption, you simply choose a password, and can select whether to close the disk and finalize the burn or leave any remaining room open. No additional software is required, and no installation needed, as everything is included onboard. One downside, though, is that the discs only work on PCs; Macs are unsupported at this time (Linux also appears to be unsupported). As long as you don’t write the password on the disk itself, you can pass it to any colleague or friend and rest at ease knowing that the disks are well-nigh unbreakable. The idea is sound, and the price isn’t too bad- $3 for a CD, a bit more for a DVD, and using the system is super-simple.
But if 5GB isn’t enough storage for you, DataLocker also offers rugged, portable, sexy hard drives in either 500GB or 1TB capacities. And they support USB 3.0 as well, making them quite fast. Self-encrypting, there again isn’t any software or drivers needed to use the DL3, and we loved the way the aluminum body looked and felt. This is a drive that definitely stands out, with a very nifty, futuristic LCD touchscreen built into the drive itself. You’ll need to input your passcode to unlock the data, and there are quite a few features that set it above other competitors. For instance, you can have the data “self-destruct” if there are too many incorrect attempts. You can have the keypad re-order the layout randomly to avoid fingerprint lifting. They’ve thought of most everything- the only other feature we might’ve liked to see is the ability to ‘trace’ where it is plugged in if an internet connection is available, offering some sort of remote functionality.
This isn’t a solid state drive (though they do offer some), and it isn’t the best option for those who simply need some inexpensive storage. Instead, this is a serious option for those concerned with security, whether for government, financial, or medical applications- or for those who simply want prying eyes kept firmly away from their data. At $379 list price for the 500GB model, it’s pricey, but you’re paying a reasonable premium for a touchscreen on your hard drive, even without the other features. It’s solidly built, looks good, though did run a bit warm- we’re definitely using the DL3 the next time we have sensitive files to transport.