At a Glance: Apricorn Aegis Fortress L3 Review
True to its name, Apricorn’s Aegis Fortress L3 is one of the most secure storage devices you are likely to ever see. In addition to being remarkably durable, the drive is equipped with a built-in keypad that requires a password before any information on the drive can be accessed. But be prepared to pay out for these extra features.
The Apricorn Aegis Fortress L3’s exterior is constructed out of milled aluminum and designed to be tamper-proof. The drive is FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified, which means it’s both physically and electrically secured. Any amount of force sufficient to crack the device open would likely destroy the electronics inside in the process.
Before using the Fortress, you will be required to set a personal pin that is between seven to 16 characters in length. Multiple users can be configured each with their own separate pins, and all pins are encoded with AES 256-bit encryption to prevent any attempts at hacking into the drive. Be careful, though: The drive also features what Apricorn refers to as Programmable Brute Force Protection, which will erase the encryption key and destroy any data on the drive in the event that the incorrect pins are entered multiple times.
Although the Fortress L3 was designed predominantly for security and not speed, the drive is still reasonably fast. Our sister site PCMag tested one of these drives with a capacity of 512GB first hand against several other external SSDs.
In PCMag’s customized Folder Transfer Test, the drive was able to transfer a 1.2GB folder in just five seconds. This isn’t stunning performance, and it actually tied for last place, but it’s still not significantly slower than competing drives.
In Crystal DiskMark’s random read/write test, the Apricorn Aegis Fortress L3 performed well against the competition, far surpassing the Secure Data Secure Drive.
The Apricorn Aegis Fortress L3 512GB is set with a relatively high MSRP of $359, and the drive is currently selling for $227.99 on Amazon. Even with this substantial discount, the drive is easily one of the most expensive 500GB external SSDs on the market. Its performance doesn’t make up for this high price tag, so whether the Fortress L3 is worth buying is entirely up to your need for security. That said, I’ve seen few drives that can offer a comparable degree of safety and security, and as such, I would highly recommend it. Most users, however, would be served equally well with a less expensive drive that supports software AES 256-bit encryption.