These days the state of portable external HDD storage is pretty much yawn worthy. Another year, another small tweak here or there to differentiate the ‘new’ model from the ‘old’. With that said there are exceptions to this rule. There are companies still willing to take risks and break for the status quo. Silicon Power and their Armor line-up is a great example of this counterculture in action. This is a line we have looked at extensively in the past and while the end-result was a bit… variable, they all had one thing in common. That common theme was Silicon Power are not afraid to take risks and create different takes on what external storage should look, act, and even feel like. Their latest foray into portable external storage solutions is the Armor A66 series… and it is special. Not special as in takes a short bus to school special, but special in that finally we see the culmination of many years of work finally pay off.
First and foremost, the A66 is the first 2.5-inch HDD based Armor model to make us excited in many years. Yes, finally another company has broken the ‘secret’ to creating an external chassis design that is durable, dependable, and practical. Prior to the Armor A66 the last company to do it was LaCie and their Rugged line. We have been using those rugged drives since ’06 and over the years they may have gotten a bit better, but the underlying idea remains the same – protect the hard drive at all costs. Using a combination of hard plastic and soft rubber the Silicon Power A66 offers somewhat similar OCD levels of protection (unless you need it to survive being run over a car). Unlike LaCie, Silicon Power then ups the ante with an integrated USB cable holder – so that if you have one, you can always have the other.
Then, and unlike LaCie, Silicon Power offers something that few ‘rugged’ style portable storage devices offer – value. To be precise, this device costs noticeably less than LaCie and all the others we are aware of. To be precise, at a mere $70 USD for the 2TB variant you can almost buy two of these drives for the cost of one LaCie Rugged Mini 2TB’er. Now that is a combination of performance and price that we like to see. Of course… paper specifications have been known to gloss over glaring issues. Thus, the question most people will have when they see this model and other more well-known brands’ take on rugged external storage is simple: does it make sense to save the cash and go for the less expensive model or is a LaCie still the best overall model to buy? Let’s find out.