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BlockMaster SafeStick hardware-encrypted USB drive

Tough enough?

To test the SafeStick, we copied across a 2GB file then duplicated it on the drive itself. We also used the open source utility TrueCrypt to create a 256-bit AES encrypted file space on a 16GB PNY Attaché USB Flash drive. We then performed the same copy and duplication operations. Both devices were hooked up directly to a MacBook Air's USB 2.0 port.

We repeated the tests this time using a folder containing 100 10MB files - 1GB in total.

2GB File Transfer

BlockMaster SafeStick

Time in Seconds (s)
Shorter bars are better

In each case, the SafeDisk proved much quicker than the combination of TrueCrypt and low-cost Flash drive. But then the latter is a lot cheaper. You pays your money, as they say.

100x 10MB File Transfer

BlockMaster SafeStick

Time in Seconds (s)
Shorter bars are better

And you do pay a lot of money for the SafeStick. A decent 16GB USB drive will set you back around £35 - or a lot less if you opt for a generic product, though it may be slow and contain poor-quality Flash chips - but we saw the 16GB Safestick advertised by a variety of online retailers for between £130 and £208. That's a hefty markup for a security chip.

Opt for the 32GB version and you're looking at shelling out £250-416, depending on who you buy it from. Shop around. At the other end of the scale, the 1GB SafeStick costs £35-44.

SafeStick also has the benefit of better physical protection, though that's likely to be more of a concern to BlockMaster's big-business customers - how many partners are going to saw into a Flash drive to see if their other half is stashing pr0n on it?

Verdict

The SafeStick has all the right credentials to satisfy folk obsessed with security and file-transfer performance. Data copies quickly, and it's locked down tightly, physically as well as digitally. But you can make your own version using free software for a fraction of the price, and with no appreciable reduction in data security. ®

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BlockMaster SafeStick

BlockMaster SafeStick hardware-encrypted USB drive

No question, SafeStick is a smart, highly secure USB file store. But it's way more expensive than DIY alternatives.
Price: £35 (1GB) £40 (2GB) £55 (4GB) £80 (8GB) £130 (16GB) £250 (32GB) RRP