Portable drives — especially those housing a regular hard drive on the inside — need to be handled with care. It’s just common sense, but if you find that hard, however, the Silicon Power Armor A75 is for you.
This portable drive is designed to keep data safe from mishaps, but it still manages to be compact, stylish, and fast. At some $60 for 1TB (or $85 for 2TB), this is the drive for those working in rough environments, or just downright clumsy.
Silicon Power Armor A75’s: Rugged and stylish design
The Armor A75 has a full aluminum body with stylish grooves that help with a grip. The drive doesn’t attract fingerprints at all, and you can easily wipe off any stains on its shiny surface.
The all-metal housing serves more than making the drive aesthetically pleasing. It also enables the Armor A75 to be compliant with MIL-STD 810G military-grade shockproof. Specifically, the drive is slated to survive drops from up to 1.2 meters (4ft). Just about 12 mm in thickness, this is one of the thinnest shockproof portable drives you can find.
I tried dropping it a few times on a hardwood floor, and it indeed worked fine after that. Still, like all storage devices, you shouldn’t drop it for fun — the A75 houses a regular hard drive — and not a solid-state drive — on the inside. While a drop doesn’t brick the drive, it could create bad sectors leading to a shorter life span.
Silicon Power Armor A75: Hardware specifications
|Interface||USB 3.1 Gen 1 (6Gbps) with a USB-C port|
|USB 2.0 compatible||Yes|
|Shockproof level||MIL-STD 810G|
|Dimensions||4.9 x 3.2 x .5 inch (124.4 x 82 x 12.2mm)|
|Supported OS||Windows XP and later, Mac OS 10.5 and later|
Silicon Power Armor A75’s detail photos
USB-C with USB 3.0 speed
The Armor A75 has a USB-C port which is a welcome feature since it’s future-proof. Two things to note here, however. First, the drive features USB 3.1 Gen 1 (a.k.a USB 3.0) meaning it has the cap speed of just 5Gbps, half that of USB 3.1 Gen 2.
Second, the drive includes only a USB-C to USB-A cable. If you need to use the drive with a USB-C or a Thunderbolt 3 port, you’ll need to get a USB-C to USB-C cable yourself.
Archaic files system, hard to use software
Out of the box, the drive is preformatted in FAT32 which is a terrible choice. While FAT32 allows the drive to work interchangeably with both Mac and Windows computers, it has the max file size of just 4GB.
Since many types of data, especially movies, require a lot of more than 4GB to hold, most portable drives don’t use FAT32 but exFAT instead, like the case of the Samsung T5. That said, you need to reformat the Armor A75 into a different file system right away to avoid future problems.
The Armor A75 includes SP Widget software that supposedly helps with backups and encrypting the drive. You should skip this software entirely, however.
For one, to download it you will need to register an account with Silicon Power. Most importantly, the software itself is terrible. It’s like a half-done homework project of an amateur programmer who is not sure about the nature of his assignment in the first place. Use Windows’ File History and Mac’s Time Machine for backup instead.
Silicon Power Armor A75: Fast performance
The Armor A75 was fast in my testing, for a USB 3.0 drive that is. It has a sustained copy speed of 117MB/s for writing and 119MB/s for reading; both were close to the fastest among its peers.
The drive also works with a USB 2.0 port, but in this case, it topped at around 35MB/s.
Silicon Power Armor A75's Rating
Compact, stylish and rugged design
USB-C to USB-C cable not included
No support for USB 3.1 Gen 2
The Armor A75 isn’t a must-have portable drive. But if you’re in the market for a relatively affordable storage device with an extra layer of protection against accidental drops, it’s worth considering.
If you’re willing to spend more, check out the similarly rugged SSD-based Samsung T5 that’s much faster, and even more compact.