If you want to use a drive on several computers with different operating systems, you need a way to enter a password through something other than Windows software. That's where the Amacom Data Locker Pro AES and its touchscreen LCD from Origin Storage come in.

Two versions of the Amacom Data Locker are available, depending on whether you are content with 128bit encryption or need the additional peace of mind of 256bit security. The other element that is likely to inspire confidence is this Amacom Data Locker Pro's design: it is made from sturdy aluminium and appears hardier than some of the other 2.5in drives we looked at.

The Amacom Data Locker Pro gives you a visual indication of what's happening - there's a status screen on the drive itself. Data Locker gives you a numeric keypad for entering a six-digit passcode that lets the drive mount in an operating system.

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You can also use the LCD screen to change the Amacom Data Locker Pro's passcode, dismount the drive, toggle the encryption on or off, or wipe the drive clean. One annoyance, however, is the loud beeping that it emits when you press the screen (and you can't turn the sound off).

If you plug the Amacom Data Locker Pro into a computer of any flavour, Mac or Windows PC, nothing happens until you input a six- to 18-digit pin into its touchscreen interface. At that point, you see the drive as usual within the OS. Get the pin wrong three times, and the drive powers down. Three more times and the same thing occurs, with a warning that your data is about to be destroyed.

Three more mistakes and you have a brand new, wiped, unformatted hard drive. (And if you're the forgetful type, Origin intends to allow users to upload a passkey to a secure server.)

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See also: CeBIT: a solution to the ultimate security problem

See also: Amacom ezSecure review

Amacom Data Locker Pro: Specs

  • 2.5in SATA hard drive
  • 5,400rpm
  • 128bit AES password encryption
  • transfer rate: 480Mbps
  • average access time: 12ms
  • USB 2.0
  • Windows XP/Vista/Mac OS X/Linux
  • 100% USB bus-powered
  • full disk encryption
  • supports up to 18-digit PIN
  • panic-mode self destruct
  • 2.5in SATA hard drive
  • 5,400rpm
  • 128bit AES password encryption
  • transfer rate: 480Mbps
  • average access time: 12ms
  • USB 2.0
  • Windows XP/Vista/Mac OS X/Linux
  • 100% USB bus-powered
  • full disk encryption
  • supports up to 18-digit PIN
  • panic-mode self destruct

OUR VERDICT

The Amacom Data Locker Pro’s relatively high price factors in the cost of the additional hardware, but the touchscreen is definitely slick, and this drive is worth considering if you need to move sensitive data between machines. This drive fulfils one other important function: it supports Macs as well as PCs.

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