If data security on the move is in your thoughts and the cloud for various reasons is more of an obstacle than a solution, then the WD ArmorLock is an excellent solution, up to 2TB of encrypted space with various smart controls and unlocking also controlled by the iPhone. .
G-Technology, the high-end of Western Digital
Unfortunately, we talk too little about G-Technology: yet the brand is very important in the market. Part of the Western Digital family (together with SanDisk), it offers drives in the top end of the market, such as the excellent G-Drive Mobile that we reviewed here a short while ago and which is, at the moment, the fastest external drive that we tried.
G-Technology ArmorLock, let's say it immediately, is not as fast, but it places itself on a more demanding user profile in terms of security: a lawyer who has to move a large amount of sensitive data, a photographer who has shots that can be compromising , an architect with projects for a tender still in progress, a company administrator with copies of delicate contracts to be transported in the clear on a mobile disk.
The aesthetic is given by a break-proof and weatherproof case, with some characteristic inserts, such as the yellow grid.
Aesthetically, the G-Technology ArmorLock does not differ much from the look of its brother G-Drive Mobile, apart from the yellow color instead of the blue one.
The shape is robust, with a coating in a rough material that looks like reinforced plastic, capable (says Western Digital) of cushioning a fall of up to 3 meters, a crushing of up to 453 kg and finally IP67 certified, therefore capable of resisting splashes and to dust.
The contents of the package with the disk and the two cables
Basically, a device capable of accompanying you from the courtrooms to the Amazon jungle, passing through the desert to a construction site, without fear of being beaten, falls or other.
The disk has a USB-C connector on the back (there is space for USB-C / USB-C and USB-USB-A cables in the package) and a white LED in the opposite one, which indicates operation.
On the upper surface, above the aesthetics with the yellow part, there are two other LEDs, one white and one yellow which respectively indicate when the device is unlocked or locked.
The USB-C connector makes the drive extremely ductile for all modern computers
The disc is managed entirely by an App for macOS and Windows, with (optional) help from one for Android and iOS, but we'll come back to these shortly. The Apps are used for unlocking and formatting the disk, which from what we have been able to see allows the choice of the filesystem between NTFS, ExFAT and HFS + therefore no APFS, the most modern system to manage SSD disks.
The operation that is possible with Disk Utility, even if we have not tried: basically if the operation from the App is not allowed, it is possible that the disk shows here and some inaccuracy in the data in an unexpected format.
On the other hand, speed is not the key feature of this disk even if, it needs to be specified, it is the best that GUSB-C technology offers today, with declared values of 1,000 MB / s in reading and writing, supported by values that we have. found just below.
The speed is high, suitable for direct use of general and even professional documents
Basically, the drive is as fast as the SanDisk Extreme V2 Portable SSD, although the shape is much larger and the software support, as we'll see shortly, much greater.
The speed, however, allows the direct use of RAW video or photo files for direct editing, as well as disk images of virtual disks with Parallels Desktop 16, which due to their nature of being very heavy in terms of size, are suitable for use from external disks, when fast.
We have already talked about one of the safety aspects, in the sense that the disc as we have said is resistant to shocks, dust and splashes so we must not fear that the disc will work even in situations not suited to the IT world.
But the most important aspect of this disk is the AES-XTS hardware level 256-bit encryption, with key management based on the NIST P-256 elliptic curve, operations that are carried out in a completely transparent way through the ArmLock App. available on the Mac App Store for Mac, or in the respective stores for iOS and Android (apparently no Windows 10, an operating system that still offers an integrated system for software encryption).
The App for unlocking and managing, here on iPhone
We have initialized the disk using the Mac App which, in a few steps, identifies and initializes the disk allowing you to use it as if it were a normal external drive.
Immediately after we proceeded to download and install the same App on the iPhone too, so that we can also unlock it from the latter: in fact, once the disk is connected to a computer, first look for the App installed, if not the find try to connect to the internet and, thanks to this, receive the certification from smartphone.
Once the disk has been unlocked, it remains so until restart, physical disconnection or obviously until manual locking via App.
During the pairing phase, however, a recovery key is provided which can be used in an emergency and, in any case, the disk sends its GPS position at each disconnection, so as to be traced in case of loss or theft.
The App for Mac, which allows manual unlocking and user management
How to use
During the test we carried out we used the disk as an external drive for photos and videos connected to a Mac mini: compared to the SanDisk Extreme V2 Portable SSD, the G-Technology ArmorLock needs from a practical point of view, only the release immediately afterwards. the reboot, an operation that is done in a matter of seconds, after which it operates like a normal disk all the time.
The speed is excellent (to have a higher speed you need to go to more capable memories or opt for the Thunderbolt 3 or 4 connector) and had no problem with the Apps (we tried direct access with Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator, Word , Excel and Parallels Desktop), who see and use it like a regular disk.
The 2 TB space (single cut) is such that it is very good for a mobile drive and the internal SSD is very quiet: in addition, the anti-drop coating allows the drive to heat up less than its SanDisk cousin.
The App monitors the use of the disk, and before each disconnection it tries to send the GPS coordinates to the user, useful in case of loss or theft
Analyzing the G-Technology ArmorLock it is immediately clear that it is an extremely sophisticated model, just an excellent software support for Mac and mobile, which combines the security of a Hardware encryption with an incredible operational convenience.
Together with this we are faced with a very fast disk that does not fear any operating environment, from the office to the forest: the cost is affected by all this quality, with a price that is still higher than the average even if the increase is justified. intrinsic safety guaranteed by the manufacturer.
It is clearly not a model for everyone: those who want absolute speed can opt for the G-Drive Mobile model, while those who want a small but still fast drive can think of the SanDisk Extreme V2 Portable SSD model. The ideal user of this model is those who have great privacy and data maintenance needs, even in mobile, and with 2TB available space, generally, there is no shortage.
• Fast and quiet • Shock, water and dust proof • Integrated hardware encryption • Excellent software support
• High cost • No Windows support
• 557.99 Euro (2 TB single denomination)
G-Technology ArmorLock is available starting from the Italian website of the parent company or more conveniently also at Amazon.it