We first caught a glimpse of the Maxtor Black Armor back in January at CES 2008. Since then, we've been excited to get it into our labs for testing to see if it measures up to the rest of the market. After a few months of waiting, we finally got it and...not so much.
The Black Armor's No. 1 concern is data security. Like a little digital lockbox, everything inside the hard drive is protected by 128-bit government grade encryption that's built into the hardware itself, rendering the drive useless in the wrong hands. The owner sets a username and password, and only he or she can access the drive. Furthermore, a convenient "traveler" mode prevents thieves from completely wiping out your data. Only the host, at their home computer, has the permission to format the drive.
But the Black Armor isn't cheap in comparison to other externals out there. It's $150 and you only get 160GB, which factors out to 81 cents per GB--far more than the industry standard. In fact, in the same CES report, we also debuted a 320GB Toshiba drive for just $250.
Take a look at our full review of the Maxtor Black Armor hard drive for a more detailed description of this drive.