We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Storage Devices Reviews
15,669 Reviews

Silicon Power Armor A70 500GB review

£81 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Silicon Power

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

The Silicon Power Armor A70 500GB portable hard drive offers a reasonably worry-free level of ruggedness and some impressive security features.

The Silicon Power Armor A70 500GB is as portable as any portable USB 2.0 external hard drive. Except that the 'Armor' in its name signifies considerable resistance to actions that would otherwise damage a normal hard drive.

According to Silicon Power, this drive can survive being dropped onto the floor or being left under one metre of water for half an hour, and is pressure, vibration and dust-proof. But be warned that the goal is to have a hard drive that can survive small accidents - deliberately subjecting it to extremes of these will kill it, of course - like any consumer hard drive.

Design and features

The model we received for review was red and had smooth edges, except for the sides where a black strip runs across. Since the casing is not glossy, fingerprints are not an issue. Oddly for a drive in late-2010, the USB connector on the drive's side is of a proper, full-USB kind, unlike others which connect over mini-USB.

Two USB cables are provided. One really short cable, presumably meant for connecting to a laptop, can be stored in the small ridge reserved for it at one side of the drive, when not in use. A longer, normal sized USB cable is also present in the package. This longer cable is a Y-cable with two USB connectors to draw power, in case you have an old PC that may not supply enough power to operate this drive over a single USB port.

Features bundled include the mini-CD that contains the SP widget software. This lets you backup and synchronise data with the PC. It can also lock access to the PC, on the basis of a password or time. These security software features are in addition to the hardware itself, which is 'rugged' as described earlier.


To prevent bottlenecks, our colleagues at PC World India used their top-end test-rig for testing. On synthetic benchmarks they measured a read speed average of 32.6 MBps and a write speed average of 28.9 MBps. Read and write access times averaged 17.5ms and 8.2ms respectively, with a CPU usage of 1 per cent on average.

Real world file transfer read/write speeds conducted when the drive was empty showed a speed of 28.9 MBps and 23.15 MBps respectively for a single large file (6.42 GB), but fell as expected to 20.9 MBps and 12.83 MBps respectively when copying multiple smaller files (1,287 files totaling up to 2.33 GB). Transferring these small files from the first partition to a second one on the same drive (simultaneous read/write) was at a speed of 9.2 MBps.

Internally, the drive uses a Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B 2.5in hard drive. As is usual for a 500GB drive, the actual available data storage capacity is 465.76 GB. This portable drive carries carries a warranty of 2 years from Silicon Power.

The rugged nature and additional software could have propelled this drive into our Top 5 Portable hard drive list, but price considerations made it miss out narrowly.

See also:

Group test: what's the best portable hard drive?

USB storage reviews

Silicon Power Armor A70 500GB Expert Verdict »

USB 2.0/1.1
supports Windows 7, Windows Vista, Win XP, Win 2000, Mac 10.3.X and above, Linux 2.6.X and above
2-year warranty
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

The Silicon Power Armor A70 500GB portable hard drive offers a reasonably worry-free level of ruggedness. On the flip side, it doesn't look great, or offer data transfer speeds that break the USB 2.0 barrier, so only buy this if you think the price is justified by the ruggedised chassis and security features.

  • Seagate BlackArmor WS 110 review

    Seagate BlackArmor WS 110

    Seagate calls its BlackArmor WS 110 a direct-attached storage (DAS) device, but in most respects it's a fairly standard external hard drive. Aimed at businesses looking to back up individual computers, the BlackArmor WS 110 provides AES 256-bit hardware encryption, extremely fast transfer speeds and comprehensive backup software.

  • Transcend SSD18C3 USB 3.0 solid state drive review

    Transcend SSD18C3 USB 3.0 solid state drive

    The 64GB Transcend SSD isn't super fast and it won't blow your mind. What it has going for it are two things: a small size and better data reliability due to it having no moving parts that can break if it's dropped.

  • Iomega eGo Portable 500GB USB 3.0 review

    Iomega eGo Portable 500GB USB 3.0

    The Iomega eGo Portable external hard drive has a capacity of 500GB and a USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed USB) interface. It's a decent drive for storing and transferring large files to a USB 3.0-equipped laptop or desktop PC.

  • Verbatim Portable Hard Drive USB 500GB review

    Verbatim Portable Hard Drive USB 500GB

    The Verbatim Portable Hard Drive USB packs a huge 500GB hard disk inside its modest proportions.

  • Western Digital My Passport Edge (500GB) review

    Western Digital My Passport Edge (500GB)

    The WD My Passport Edge adds good looks and better transportability to Western Digital's My Passport line of portable hard drives. It's fast, but tops out at 500GB instead of the 2TB available with the non-Edge My Passport. Here's our WD My Passport Edge review.

IDG UK Sites

Spotify launches on PS4 as Tidal arrives on Sonos: It's Tidal vs Spotify music streaming

IDG UK Sites

It's World Backup Day 2015! Don't wait another minute: back up now

IDG UK Sites

Get the free Adobe Comp CC iPad app for rapid layout design

IDG UK Sites

New 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (early 2015, 2.7GHz) review: Just about the greatest upgrade any...