Tough gadgets are all the rage at the moment, you've got your tough cameras, your tough laptops, even your tough USB memory sticks, but what about a tough hard drive? In steps the ToughDrive Sport, yes you guessed it a tough external drive coming in a range of storage sizes from 250GB to 500GB but can it withstand a beating? We get into a fight to find out.
At 15.5 x 9.1 x 2.1cm in size, the shock resistant hard drive is lightweight and fairly small. The ToughDrive is coated in a rubberised material giving it that rugged feel while wrapped around the edge of the drive is the accompanying USB cable.
That cable serves to give the edges a little more protection (read bounce) and the cable itself is covered in nylon cordage to look like a climbing rope. For the die hard adventurer in you, there is even a big hole and karabiner included in the box so you can hang it from something else, although as the warning on the side states "NOT FOR CLIMBING".
Why you would trust your life to a karabiner that came in a hard drive box is beyond us, but then I suppose it's the same as McDonald's telling you the coffee could scald you.
The drive can be dropped from 2 metres without damaging the contents inside say Freecom and in controlled experiments (read throwing it around the garden and office) we can vouch for its toughness: it still works put it that way.
The "Tough" element isn't just the case however, it's also a password protection system that offers 256-bit password protection. Passwords are stored on a chip that give you access to the drive if the correct password is given however those who think that they can rip the drive out of the casing to gain access to the data think again. Freecom say it won't work.
The downside is that if you forget your password or should you lose your ToughDrive, the only way for anyone to be able to continue using the drive is by reformatting it. True to form once we had turned on the password protect system - our drive wasn't accessible until we tapped in a six letter or more password.
With a USB 2.0 cable the need for a power adapter isn't there and transfer speeds are as good as you would expect.
It is clear that the Freecom ToughDrive Sport might be called a ToughDrive, but it's not going to withstand a good beating in the same way a Panasonic ToughBook will. The casing is still plastic, it isn't waterproof and we wouldn't like to go anywhere near the mountain pictured on the back of the box but still if you are of the clumsier variety this will allow you to store your data without fear of breaking it when either you or those in your life (read children) throw it on the floor.