IStorage DiskAshur² Portable SSD Review

While there’s no shortage of portable SDD’s out there, you’ll be hard pressed to find one that offers so much in terms of protection, that’s where the iStorage DiskAshur² Portable SSD shines above the competition. It offers a built-in PIN pad for physical protection as well as a host of other software/hardware level protective properties.

  • USB 3.1 Encrypted Portable SSD
  • Capacities up to 4TB*
  • FIPS PUB 197 validated
  • AES-XTS 256-bit hardware encryption – no software required
  • OS & Platform independent
  • Employs EDGE* Technology
  • Available in 4 colours: Phantom Black, Ocean Blue, Fiery Red & Racing Green

Just like other drives from the iStorage family, it’s packed full to the brim with safety features, to ensure your data remains safe, should the drive ever be stolen or compromised. Such features include military grade AES 256-bit XTS full-disk hardware encryption, BadUSB protection and FIPS PUB 197 encryption algorithm just to name a few.

Like many portable SSD’s the iStorage DiskAshur² Portable SSD has a rectangular profile. It’s also travel friendly sized at just 124 x 84 x 20mm, which makes it both pocket and bag-friendly when compared with its reasonably light weight of only 180g.

The most noticeable difference in design when compared to most other portable SSD’s is the PIN pad on the front. It consists of 10 alphanumeric keys and three function keys. Much like an old mobile phone, there are three letters on each number key from 2 to 8, while the number key 9 has four letters and number key 1 has no letters. The PIN pad is also hiding a nifty little security feature of its own, in the form of an anti-wear coating on each key. The aim of this coating is to prevent to keys from wearing down, therefore preventing anyone from looking at the keys and figuring out the most used ones, which in turn could help them decipher your PIN.

A rubberized casing has been used for the exterior of this drive and this has enabled the drive to receive an IP56 rating. This means there’s some protection offered against both water and dust ingress.

If you fancy a bit of color, you’ll be happy to know that this drive is available in the following four colors. Fiery red, Phantom black, Racing green and Ocean blue. My review unit is the Racing green color.

A USB cable is built-in to the drive itself, however, it’s very short. Not a problem if you’re using it with a laptop, but a big problem if you need to use it with a PC. My review unit did come with a separately packaged extension cable, but I am not entirely sure if this is the case for customer bought units.

The drive also features a tamper-proof protection mechanism. If it senses that someone’s trying to break the case to access the main SSD. If any attempts to do so the drive will automatically delete everything stored on it.

The iStorage DiskAshur² Portable SSD is available in six capacity options. 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB and 4TB. My review unit is the 512GB version. Of course, there is a price difference with each capacity, with the cheapest being the 128GB model at £139.00 and the most expensive being the 4TB at a whopping £1,899. At first, these prices may seem steep, but it’s important to remember these drives are equipped with advanced security options at both the hardware and software level.

When you receive the drive, you should immediately change the default PIN to something more secure. To do this you need to plug it into any available USB port on your computer or laptop. once plugged in and ready to go, the red status light will be lit up, meaning the drive is in standby awaiting your PIN, which by default is 11223344, input this PIN and then press the unlock button, which will give you access to the drive. From here you hold both the unlock and number 2 key until a blinking green light appears, now input your new PIN which can be anything from 7 to 15 digits long, then press the unlock button and re-enter the new PIN before finally pressing the unlock button again.

Once your drive is protected by its new PIN, you will get a total of 10 attempts to correctly enter the PIN. The first five wrong entries will freeze the drive, which will require you to disconnect it and then reconnect it. This will then give you access to your final five attempts, if you mess this up, the drive will erase itself, permanently getting rid of everything stored on it.

iStorage advertises the drive with read speeds of up to 294Mbps and write speeds of up to 319Mbps. While it certainly isn’t the fastest drive you can buy, these are still decent speeds, especially as the main purpose of this drive is business use. A few tests with drive speed software gave me speeds that are slightly lower than advertised, with a read speed of 250 Mbps and a write speed of 306Mbps.

Any business serious about data protection really should have something like the iStorage DiskAshur² Portable SSD. It’s an investment well worth the price. Packed with so much security, it’s like a portable Fort Knox for your and more importantly your potential client’s data.


  • So much protection
  • IP56 rating


  • USB cable is rather short