by Doug Crowthers

Lenovo ThinkPad USB 3.0 Secure Hard Drive Review (1TB)

Last year we reviewed the USB 3.0 Lenovo ThinkPad that was available in capacities of 500 GB and 750 GB. Today, we are taking a look at their newer 1TB USB 3.0 enabled hard drive. The 1TB USB 3.0 drive is highlighted by the same security, as we saw last year - a ten digital number pad on the front of the enclosure and 256-bit AES XTS hardware encryption running in the background. The security offers an eight to sixteen digit password for one user ID and one administrator ID. To add to the ease of use of the drive, the drive requires no software drivers and it's built upon the legendary ThinkPad quality. 

Lenovo ThinkPad USB 3.0 Secure Hard Drive Specs

  • Capacity - 1TB (0A36631)
  • Interface - USB 3.0 (Supports USB 2.0 Interface)
  • 5400 RPM hard drive inside
  • Buffer Size - 8 MB
  • Real-time 256-bit XTS AES Hardware Encryption
  • 10-digit keypad
  • BUS powered
  • Dimensions - 0.75” X 3.30” X 4.70”
  • Weight - 6.7 ounces
  • 3 year warranty

Build and Design

The drive features the aforementioned keypad that we saw last year. It supports an adminstartor passoword but unlike the 750 GB version reviewed last year, the 1TB only offers only one uniquie ID. This limits the the drives use by the adminstator and/or a singe user. The drive maintains its "light" access failure and a "hard" access failure feature. The latter locks the drive and literally throws away the encryption key after a pre-determined number of wrong pass key entries, rendering the drive useless and the data inaccessible. The drive can be re-initialized, but the data will not be recoverable.   

The right side of the enclosure features the familiar built-in USB 3.0 cord that tucks nicely into the side. The drive is BUS powered, so there is no need for external power cables. With the cable being built into the unit, this prevents the need to carry another USB cable or worring about digging though your personal stuff to find another USB cable when you happen to miss place the original.

There is really nothing new on physical attributtes of the drive. It is still the familiar rubberized texture of the case, which matches the finish on the classic ThinkPad notebook line. The number pads maintains its wear resistant feature the prevents the wear and tear aon regularly used numbers. This is a very useful feature, so those would be thefts can't narrow down your potential password based on worn keys. 

The ThinkPad USB 3.0 Secure Hard Drive is powered by a 1 TB 5400RPM Toshiba hard drive. This drive features a built-in shock protection at 1000G 1ms in non-operational and 300G 2ms in operation that parks the head when a drop is detected. 

Performance Benchmarks

We tested the Lenovo ThinkPad USB 3.0 Secure hard drive using USB 3.0 on our consumer test platform using IOMeter. Using native USB 3.0, the ThinkPad hard drive pushed just under 100MB/s read and write sequential. For secure backups or transfers between systems, this hard drive had no trouble making quick work of transfers.

  Read Write
2MB Sequential Transfer MB/s 99.6MB/s 99.3MB/s
2MB Random Transfer MB/s 45.4MB/s 36.5MB/s 
4K Random Transfer MB/s 0.22MB/s 0.45MB/s
4K Random Transfer IO 57.5 IOps 116.4 IOps
4K Write Latency (avg/max) 8.59ms  21.95ms 

Conclusion

As business users continue to finding themselves on the go, it becomes more and more important to 1) secure your data during travel and 2) increase your capacity for data storage. The Lenovo's ThinkPad USB 3.0 Secure Hard Drive 1TB continues upon the successful release of last year's units but at a higher capacity. Offerring just under 100 MB/s read and write via USB 3.0, the larger capicity Secure Hard Drive doesn't see any overhead performance impact, while protecting your data through AES 256-bit encyrption.  

The Secure Hard Drive comes with a handy protective carrying case to help protect the drive enclusure while not in use. The drive enclosure by all rights is built well and maintains limited flex under heavy pressure. In addition, its design with both mechanical and electronic shock protection with a rubber bumper around the hard drive, as well as the shock sensor. The drive maintains its "road warrior" status by providing business users the best of all worlds; security, performance and capacity.  

Pros

  • Very good performance
  • Driver-free encryption
  • Rugged look and feel
  • Capacity - 1TB

Cons

  • Limited number of Unique IDs

Bottom Line

The Lenovo ThinkPad USB 3.0 Secure Hard Drive 1TB does everything you need it to do, without drivers and without impacting speed. Lenovo continues to make encrypting your important data very easy; something that more users should get into a better habit of.

Lenovo ThinkPad Secure Hard Drive 1TB at Amazon.com

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