Corsair Padlock 2 Review

by Allison Johnson Reads (9,286)
  • Pros

    • PIN-enabled security
    • Hardware-based encryption
    • 8GB of storage
  • Cons

    • High price tag
    • Physically large USB drive

Your bank and e-mail accounts are secured with a code, so why not your flash drive? The Corsair Padlock 2 is an 8GB flash drive secured by a user-created PIN. With the security code enabled, prying eyes won’t be able to find your secured files without knowing the PIN. How does it work? And is it worth a significantly higher price than a standard flash drive? Take a look.

Corsair Padlock 2 Specifications:

  • Capacity: 8GB
  • Operating Temperature: 0°C to 40°C
  • Storage Temperature: -20°C to +60°C
  • Operating Humidity: 10% to 90%
  • Storage Humidity: 5% to 90%
  • Maximum Operating Altitude: 3,048 meters (10,000 feet)
  • O/S Support: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Me, Mac OS X v9.x and above, Linux Kernel 2.4.2 and higher
  • Emission Certifications: FCC, CE, VCCI
  • MSRP: $79.99
  • Street Price: $53.99


Build and Design
The Padlock 2 is built with 256-bit AES data encryption hardware and doesn’t require any software for use. It’s also compatible with any operating system. And it’s not just secured by your PIN number, it’s also built with rubber padding to keep the drive itself safe in your laptop bag, purse or any kind of rough environment where a password-secured flash drive is desirable.

It’s a little bigger than your garden variety flash drive, but that’s due to the hardware-based encryption and a row of buttons and LED indicators along the exterior. Included with the flash drive is a Corsair-branded lanyard and a USB extension cable (just in case the drive is too big to fit in the cramped USB ports on your laptop).


In Use

I plugged in the device for the first time and a blue light glowed from the end of the USB stick. A little green indicator light illuminated the unlocked symbol, and Windows XP recognized the drive without any trouble.

Setting the PIN for the first time really couldn’t have been simpler. I watched the tutorial at Corsair’s site and followed the steps to set my own PIN for the Padlock 2. Total time spent watching the video and setting the code? Maybe three minutes.

The PIN is set by holding down the key button for three seconds. The lock/unlock buttons start flashing, indicating that you should enter the 4-10 digit number of your choice. Mine was … well, I can’t tell you that, or it wouldn’t be a secret.

Press the key button again once you’ve entered your number and the lights will blink once more so you can re-enter the PIN and confirm it by pressing the key button for the last time. That’s it.

To access your files on the drive, you’ll press the key button, enter the PIN, and then press the key button again and the green unlocked light will blink. Plug it in to your computer and you’re all set. The USB key will stay unlocked for twenty seconds. If you haven’t plugged it in by then, it automatically locks itself again. The drive will also lock automatically when it is removed from your computer.

Entering the PIN incorrectly five times causes the device to lock up for two minutes. If you’ve forgotten your PIN completely you’ll need to restore it to factory settings and all data saved to the drive will be lost. Better make sure you’re comfortable with the PIN you choose before you move all of your top-secret files onto the drive.


There are directions in the user manual to reset the PIN, and the user can also choose to keep the drive unlocked even after a PIN has been set. There’s an internal battery inside the Padlock 2, and it will charge automatically when plugged into a computer. The user manual also offers guidance on recharging a completely dead battery.

The Padlock 2 also allows the user to set a Master PIN that will remain the same while a secondary PIN can be changed regularly to access the drive. The advantage to setting a Master PIN is that if the secondary PIN is forgotten, you’ll be able to use the Master PIN to reset the secondary PIN and avoid the total reset, which deletes all files stored on the device.

Copying a 1.08GB file to the Padlock 2 took about 2 minutes and 44 seconds. I didn’t find that it was any slower or faster to use than my standard USB drives, just a whole lot more secure.

Conclusion
It’s not hard to find an 8GB flash drive for under $20, so does it make sense to spend at least another $30 for the Padlock 2? That all depends on how valuable security is to you. The encryption method that the Padlock 2 uses is highly secure, so it’s not likely to be hacked. If that’s important to you for work or other purposes, then the Padlock 2 is worth the investment.

And of course, the Padlock 2 can’t protect you from yourself. If you’re careless with the PIN and you don’t set an easily remembered master PIN, you could find yourself having to wipe the drive in order to keep using it. However, I didn’t have any trouble with the PIN and I found that the drive was easy to use. I didn’t have to install any software to use the Padlock 2, which I liked a lot. For $50, 8GB of storage space and a little peace of mind isn’t bad.

Pros:

  • PIN-enabled security
  • Hardware-based encryption
  • 8GB of storage

Cons:

  • High price tag
  • Physically large USB drive


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