Imation Defender F200 Biometric Flash Drive

Author
Logan King
Editor
Aron Schatz
Posted
November 9, 2010
Manufacturer
Imation
Product Page
Defender F200
Views
56815
Imation Defender F200 Biometric Flash Drive
The Imation Defender F200 Biometric Flash Drive is a privacy-oriented flash drive that takes an innovative approach to security. The software that provides the security is fast to load, straightforward in its presentation, and quite easy to set up and use. We wish it was a little faster, though.

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Page 1
Introduction

One fairly popular niche segment for flash drives is the security market. The demands of flash drives in that market are quite different than the demands in other markets. Things like read/write performance, aesthetics, and even size (to an extent) are all secondary concerns compared to the amount of privacy that such drives offer. What is typical in the market are things like hardware-based drive encryption tied together with a "strong" password. This is coupled with some kind of auto-formatting if you screw up the password one too many times. While such designs work perfectly well, Imation thought it can do better. ASE Labs has the Imation Defender F200 Biometric Flash Drive on the test bench which brings a fingerprint scanner to the table in addition to the standard password system of other drives.

About Imation

Quote

Imation is a leading global developer and marketer of branded products that enable people to capture, save and enjoy digital information.

Our world-class portfolio of digital storage products, audio and video electronics, and accessories reaches customers through a powerful global distribution network. The goal is a company with strong commercial and consumer businesses and continued long-term growth and profitability that creates shareholder value.

Imation Corp.'s global brand portfolio, in addition to the Imation brand, includes the Memorex brand, one of the most widely recognized names in the consumer electronics industry, famous for the slogan, "Is it live or is it Memorex?" and the XtremeMac brand, the top name in innovative accessories for iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV. Imation is also the exclusive licensee of the TDK Life on Record brand, one of the world's leading recording media brands.

http://www.imation.com/en-us/About-Imation/Company-Information/


Packaging

The Defender F200 comes in a straightforward, easy on the eyes box. There is a nice red gradient present on the box. In the front and center, you can see the drive itself behind a small window. There is also some more information about the security features in the bottom right corner of the box.

Retail Packaging
Page 2
Specifications

[*]USB 2.0 Compliant, USB 1.1 Compatible
[*]Compatible with Mac OS 10.5 and up, Windows 2000 and up.
[*]Available in 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB and 32GB capacities
[*]Dimensions: 3.35” (L) x 1.02” (W) x 0.51" (T)
[*]SKU: DTL+/16GB
[*]FIPS 140-2 Level 3 - Validation Pending
[*]WEEE Compliant
[*]RoHS Compliant
[*]5 Year Limited Warranty
[*]SKU: 27812
[*]Newegg Link, Amazon Link
[/LIST]

Marketing Summary

Quote

An ergonomic swipe sensor, with hardware based matching brings you biometric fingerprint identification in a distinguished rugged metal design. The enclosure offers you a product that is tamper-resistance, waterproof and dustproof.

In addition to the physical features, this unique USB flash drive delivers a fast and efficient hardware-dedicated security processor that provides advanced portable security through on-board AES 256-bit encryption, authentication, manageability and biometrics. It also provides hardware protection against malware in any environment, securing your digital information.


Packaging Contents

Opening up the box reveals the Defender F200, a small product manual, and a USB extension cord. The extension cord is a nice bonus. It allows you to use the fingerprint scanner without putting too much pressure on your USB ports. It also helps with practicality since it prevents the F200's rather large dimensions from causing any problems. The cord itself is very heavy-duty with a thick wire and a quality feel.

Packaging Contents


One thing to note is that the product manual in the retail versions of this drive may be different from the one in our press version of the drive.
Page 3
Defender F200

The F200 is quite a standout by itself. Its exterior dimensions are quite a bit larger than your typical flash drive. It is about the size of a pocket knife when the lid is attached. To the touch, the exterior of the drive feels like a high-quality piece with a nice painted steel casing and cover. Also of note is the small steel cable used for connecting it to lanyards or keychains. It looks a lot nicer than the typical plastic cord or keyring used in most drives, and all that needs to be done to install things to it is unscrew the connecting joint.

Defender F200


Taking the cover off reveals the pièce de résistance of the flash drive, the fingerprint scanner. It is set in the center of a recessed groove with the surrounding area being made of quality-feeling hard plastic. To the left of the scanner are a pair of LEDs. The top one alternates between red and greed (for when you are not logged in/logged in, respectively), and the bottom one is blue and functions as an access LED.

Fingerprint Scanner


Finally, we feel we have to mention something minor that still stuck out to us. Take a look at the design for the joint that keeps the lid on the drive. It has spring loaded metal clips and a rubber ring to seal the drive from water. Quite an attention to detail!

The back of the drive has the drive's name and serial number printed. It also has some of the certifications that it meets embossed in the plastic.

Drive Back
Page 4
Setup

Because of the amount of customization that this drive offers for its security, it is exceedingly important that the software for doing so is user-friendly. Having realized that, Imation designed the F200 to offer the customization required but straightforward and helpful enough to not overwhelm. For example, when the drive is inserted for the first time, you are presented with a screen overflowing with adjustable features and settings.

Initial Setup Page


However, simply selecting the help button brings up a new page that extensively details the functions of each setting, all presented in relatively easy to understand language.

Sample Help Page


The way this software is designed is stellar. It offers extensive customization of virtually everything about the security. You can set which fingers you want to scan. You can set it to require a password in addition to the fingerprint. You can set how precise the fingerprint scanner is. You can even set it to destroy data after a certain amount of failed log-in attempts as well as how many attempts it will accept before doing so. And despite the level of adjustment offered, for each page of the set up process you still get a built-in help dialog for each process. All told, Imation hit a home run in user-friendliness which isn't something you typically expect in this market segment.

Use

Using the F200 is also quite straightforward. You simply plug it in and wait for the autoplay notice to pop up and click on it. After the log-in screen pops up, you just do what you need to do and it logs you in.

Log-In


One thing that surprised us is how "normal" the drive acts. There is no long delay from when you plug it in to when the software initializes. There is no fiddling around with sequential drive numbers. It basically just acts like a normal flash drive. That is a commendable trait.
Page 5
Performance Testing

Testing the drive was done on a computer running Windows 7 Professional. The test was run using Flash Memory Toolkit, and the flash drive was plugged in as the only flash memory in use. As Imation makes no claims regarding the read/write speeds of the drives, and because the drive is targeted at security rather than outright performance, the test was done to get a general idea of the performance of the drive rather than as a means of comparison to anything else on the market.

Performance Testing Results


Our testing concluded showing some rather middling performance. An average read speed of 18.7MB/s and an average write speed of 8.1MB/s will still probably be enough for most users of a drive like this, though.

Conclusion

Once again, ASE Labs has reviewed a product that goes above and beyond the call of duty in meeting a certain market, but is still quite incompatible with the mainstream. At an eye-watering $115 (Newegg Link, Amazon Link) for the 2GB model that we reviewed, the value simply isn't there for casual storage use. That isn't to say that the drive is overpriced for what it does, because it is not. But it is designed for a certain niche, and it meets the requirements of that niche quite well. If you want comprehensive data storage with an interesting spin on the typical premise, we at ASE Labs can absolutely recommend the Imation Defender F200. The software is fantastic, the drive is well built, and when all is said and done it actually works quite a bit like a normal flash drive.

ASE Labs would like to thank Imation for making this review possible.

Comments

images/siteimages/upload/2010/10/22/4249m9i.jpg Packaging Front images/siteimages/upload/2010/10/22/4250ms3.jpg Packaging Rear images/siteimages/upload/2010/10/22/4251mk8.jpg Packaging Opened images/siteimages/upload/2010/10/22/4252mqn.jpg Packaging Contents images/siteimages/upload/2010/10/22/4253mgn.jpg Defender F200 images/siteimages/upload/2010/11/03/4285m2d.jpg Fingerprint Scanner images/siteimages/upload/2010/11/03/4284mfx.jpg Drive Back images/siteimages/upload/2010/10/22/4256mns.jpg Article Preview Pic images/siteimages/upload/2010/10/22/4257mfx.png Initial Setup Page images/siteimages/upload/2010/10/22/4258mji.png Sample Help Page images/siteimages/upload/2010/11/03/4283m83.jpg Retail Packaging images/siteimages/upload/2010/11/04/4286m6n.png Log-In images/siteimages/upload/2010/11/04/4287l00.png Performance Testing Results

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