The diskAshur M2 from iStorage is a portable SSD that features hardware encryption, allowing you to transport your files on the go whilst making sure they don’t end up in the wrong hands. The drive is compact, well-made and includes a bunch of handy features to keep your data secure and safe without the need for any additional software.
The diskAshur M2 has a premium metal construction that is extremely compact which feels great and is of a high quality. The drive has an outer shell which protects the drive and slides over a rubber seal at the bottom to provide the drive with an IP68 dust and waterproof rating. This area also has a chrome-finished area with the iStorage logo, this looks great, but the chrome finish can get covered in fingerprints and smudges, so a matte finish may have been better as it would look better after regular use.
When the outer shell is removed, the rubber seal works with the two feet on the underside of the drive to prevent it from sliding around on your desk when it is plugged into a laptop. There is also some information about the drive on the underside such as the serial number and capacity, the drive is available in a range of capacities from 120GB to 2TB – for this review I have the 1TB model.
The top of the drive is where the action is, the top is home to the authentication keypad that is used to input a 7-15-digit pin which then unlocks the drive. There’s a shift key which gives you a total of 20 usable keys for your pin as well as the unlock button. This is all below three indicator LEDs which are used to see the status of the drive.
There’s not too much else to the design of the drive aside from the connector at the top, this is a USB Micro-B Super Speed connector, so it’s not Type-C port on the drive itself, unfortunately, but iStorage has included both a USB Type-A and Type-C cable in the box so it’s ready for use regardless of the port selection on your computer. These cables and the drive itself are stored in the included carrying case, which provides even more protection and a handy place to store the USB cables when on the go.
The main appealing feature of the diskAshur M2 portable SSD is its AES-XTS 256-bit hardware-level encryption. This approach to encryption has its benefits because it requires no software to be installed on the computer to decrypt and use the drive, just pop your PIN into the keypad and you’re set. This makes the M2 great if you find yourself using multiple computers or end up at a computer which you are unable to install software on – this also means that the drive works as a regular drive with any operating system, the OS just recognises it as a drive once it is decrypted.
To go along with this the M2 also has some additional security features such as administrative management, which could be particularly useful in an enterprise environment, as well as auto-locking, self-destruction and drive reset functionality. With many electronics, you may not read the manual, but for the diskAshur M2 it is probably a good idea to as there is a lot of customisability and features and it talks about how to set the PIN.
Aside from security features, the drive also has some physical attributes that make it well suited for being on the go. The metal design and build of the drive gives it a rugged construction that feels strong – iStorage claim the drive can withstand the weight of a 2.7-ton vehicle, this paired with the drive’s IP68 accreditation makes it a great choice in comparison to plastic-construction portable SSDs for being on the go.
The diskAshur M2 is an SSD, so it offers fast data transfer speeds between your computer and the drive. The drive features USB 3.2 and is backwards compatible with claimed speeds of up to 370MB/s read and write.
Unfortunately, I do not have a computer with USB 3.2, only 3.0, so I have not been able to take the full advantages of the drive – but it still performs impressively over USB 3.0. During my testing, I conducted benchmarks in CrystalDiskMark and ATTO Disk Benchmark. Throughout the testing I saw consistent speeds across both read and write, which both performed very similarly to one another – averaging around 330MB/s and a peak speed of 350MB/s. Of course, this is lower than the advertised 370MB/s, but it is not far off and part of that could be due to my computer not having USB 3.2.
Outside of benchmarking, I also tested transfer speeds with a 13.1GB MP4 file, taken from my iPhone 12 mini review, which is just over 15 and a half minutes long. I was able to transfer the video file from an internal SSD within my computer to the diskAshur M2 in just under 50 seconds and copy it back to a different internal SSD in 33 seconds.
The iStorage diskAshur M2 is an extremely compact and portable SSD featuring encryption and security features that ensure your data is protected on the go without the need for additional software, allowing it to work with any computer. I think the drive has a great use-case for work, storing backups or even students – but these security benefits do, of course, come at a premium cost in comparison to a USB SSD without the security features.
The iStorage diskAshur M2 is available to purchase on Amazon.
iStorage diskAshur M2iStorage diskAshur M2
- Encryption does not require additional software
- Fast transfer speeds over USB
- Additional security features
- Costly in comparison to a standard USB SSD
- No USB Type-C connectivity on the drive
- Outer case can sometimes be difficult to remove