Apricorn Aegis NVX: A rugged, super-fast, hardware-encrypted solid-state drive that fits in your pocket [Review]

If you have personal files that you want to be able to access when on the go, there are a couple of concerns you may have. Firstly, you may not fully trust cloud providers to keep your files safe and secure. Secondly, you might be worried about the risks associated with storing your files on a USB memory stick, as it could be easily lost or stolen. Fortunately, there is a solution that addresses both of these concerns: the Aegis NVX.

This rugged, 256-bit AES XTS hardware encrypted USB drive offers the best of both worlds for accessing personal data while maintaining security. Unlike cloud providers, you have complete control over your files as they are stored directly on the internal NVMe SSD, eliminating the need to rely on third-party services.

The Aegis NVX is small enough to fit comfortably in any pocket and the hardware encryption ensures that even if the USB drive falls into the wrong hands, the files remain encrypted and inaccessible without the proper authentication.

The device’s rugged design ensures durability, making it resistant to physical damage. It has an aircraft grade 6061 aluminum alloy enclosure, a polymer coated wear-resistant membrane hybrid keyboard, and is IP68 certified dust and water resistant.

To get started with Aegis NVX, you just need to connect it to your computer, and set up a PIN. For security reasons, it doesn’t come with a default one. With the LEDs glowing solid green and blue, press the unlock and 9 keys together. This will cause the green light to start blinking. Enter an admin PIN of between 7 and 16 digits in length (it’s preset to 7 by default). This pin can’t be made up of a single digit, like ‘1111111’, or all consecutive numbers, such as ‘1234567’.

When entered, press the green unlock button, enter the PIN again and press the green unlock button once more. The green light will glow steadily for three seconds, then the blue light will indicate that the drive is in admin mode. It will stay this way for 30 seconds or until you press the red lock key.

To access your drive’s contents at any time, plug it in (or press the red lock key), enter your admin PIN, and then press the green unlock button.

If other people are going to use the drive, you can add a user PIN which will give them more limited access. You can also create one-time user recovery PINs, and set read-only or read/write modes for both admin and user. It’s possible to create a self-destruct PIN as well. If threatened, you can give out this PIN which will cause the drive to be wiped when entered.

The device offers strong protection against brute force attacks — after ten incorrect PIN attempts the keypad will lock. It is possible to get another ten attempts (the process is detailed in the manual) but after this point the drive will delete all the data on it.

The device comes pre-formatted in NTFS for Windows, so you will need to reformat it if using it on a Mac. The drive isn’t recognized by any operating system when locked.

The Aegis NVX comes with an integrated USB 10Gbps type-C cable and in the box there’s a zippered protective case pouch, quick start guide, and USB C-to-C and C-to-A cables.

In my tests, the Aegis NVX worked perfectly, locking and unlocking quickly every time, which isn’t the case with other similar drives I’ve had in the past.

Aegis NVX is available in a choice of storage capacities — 500GB, 1TB and 2TB (I tested the 500GB model). It is priced from $339/£267.03 – $739/£582.11.

You can buy the drive directly from Apricorn here.