The RuggedKey by LaCie is a tough, durable and rugged USB 3.0 USB flash drive. It is drop-resistant, and the design also seals the drive from temperature and water damage. It comes with a year’s worth of free cloud storage. On the downside, because the rubber rugged case and the actual USB key are separate parts, the case could be misplaced.
RuggedKey is offered in capacities of 16GB and 32GB and comes with a two year warranty.
- 100-metre drop resistant
- Heat and cold resistant
- USB 3.0 up to 150 MB/s
- 256-bit encryption
- Design by Neil Poulton
The RuggedKey comes supplied in plastic tamper-proof packaging. While this makes sense for display in stores, it makes for a frustrating start. I found the packaging difficult to open, and the environmental friendliness of this type of packaging is questionable. LaCie could do well by using a small thick cardboard box (which I believe they have done in the past for other products).
With the packaging out of the way, we can get a good look at the RuggedKey. I love this design of this product, it looks modern and captures attention on any desk. The circuit board for the USB key is encased in metal and feels very sturdy. The key slides into a thick rubber case, which acts as the rugged protection for the key. Because of how chunky the rubber is, this key has a much ‘stronger’ feel to it than other rugged USB keys.
The rubber case does its job well, as this key can be dropped from 100 metres, and even exposed to extreme temperatures and liquids. The only flaw I could find with the design is the shape of the key – its a P shape, which means it takes up two USB slots, or blocks the Thunderbolt port, if used on a 15.4″ MacBook Pro. On an iMac, Mac Pro, or a MacBook that has USB slots next to the MagSafe connector, this isn’t a problem.
The key itself has a brushed metal finish which is very smooth and looks great, although fingermarks do show up easily on it. Otherwise, it looks stunning and compared to most USB keys it looks infinitely more stylish.
The 100-metre drop test – LaCie proves it
The LaCie RuggedKey is built to withstand accidental drops from heights far above what you’d encounter on your way to the office. Its rubber construction is 100m drop-resistant. That means ultimate protection for your key – and your data – for all of life’s little stumbles.
After making the video, LaCie also stated: “Additionally, we drop tested the LaCie RuggedKey from 100 meters onto concrete and it survived.”
Features and Performance
This drive also offers some great features, besides the tough enclosure. You can download LaCie’s password protection software, which enables you to protect the drive with 256-bit AES software encryption. Included in the price of the drive is also Wuala cloud storage (free for a year) – this is LaCie’s cloud storage, which competes with the likes of iCloud and Dropbox. RuggedKey can also be used as a backup solution, as it is available in capacities up to 32GB. Software such as Carbon Copy Cloner, Time Machine, SuperDuper, LaCie Genie Timeline and Intego Backup Assistant can be used with the RuggedKey.
In this price range, the performance of this drive is good. We put it through the tests to see what speeds it could achieve when reading/writing files. Using AJA System Test, two tests were run on a Mid 2012 MacBook Pro (non retina) with the RuggedKey plugged into a USB 3.0 port on the Mac. The first test was a 1GB file, video frame size 1280 x 720 10 bit. An average write speed of 41.4 MB/s and read speed of 170.9 MB/s was achieved. The second test was with a 1GB file, video frame size 4096 x 2160 10-bit RGB, where it achieved 41.2 MB/s write, and 175.7 MB/s read. The final test was file size 128MB 720×486 8 bit, where it achieved 39.2 MB/s write, and 159.8 MB/s.
Please note, if plugged into a USB 2.0 port (for example, on an older iMac, or a Mac Pro), it will operate at USB 2.0 speeds.
The 16GB RuggedKey comes pre-formatted as a MS-DOS FAT drive and has a total capacity of 15.94GB. It is prebundled with LaCie’s backup software including Private-Public for AES 256-bit encryption and secure cloud storage with Wuala Online.
The great design, tough enclosure, free cloud storage, backup software and performance of the LaCie RuggedKey make it worth consideration for anyone looking for a high-end, durable and rugged USB flash drive. The price is higher than some competitors but the bundled software, year’s free cloud storage, and two year warranty make it worth it.
We recently also reviewed LaCie’s XtremKey which is more expensive than the RuggedKey but boasts more rugged abilities, uses a metal enclosure instead of rubber and achieves higher read/write speeds.
Where to Buy
ResExcellence recommends Amazon to buy your LaCie RuggedKey. The 16GB model is $40. The 32GB model is $69.99. The RuggedKey is available in most countries via Amazon – if it’s not available on your Amazon store, try LaCie’s site.