Modernize Your Security with 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption without encryption key transmission. 

The DataLocker Sentry K300 arrived in a 3 1/2 inches wide by 6 inches tall retail package.  The DATALOCKER name, in black and red font, was listed along the top left of the cover.  Along the left side of the cover, you will find a circular icon detailing the secure encrypted storage, a sticker with 8GB (1GB-1,000,000,000 Bytes “Actual Capacity May Vary. Some Capacity is used for bundled software and is not available for storage).”  Along the right side of the panel, you will find six tenets of the device: 1. Management Ready. 2. AES 256 bit encryption. 3. OLED display. 4. On-Board Menu System. 5. High-Speed uSSD Drive. 6. True Alpha Numeric Password.  The main focal point was the central 7/8 inches wide by 4 inches tall clear plastic window of the Sentry K300 device located above the red product name.  Clearly visible, I loved that I could see the matte black drive, the OLED display, and the push button keypad.  I loved that the cover answered my questions about the product and left me with little doubt about what I was buying.  

Turning the packaging over, I found the DATALOCKER name along the top left and the DataLocker.com/k300 email along the top right.  Just beneath the title, the company provides a list of system compatibility **Works with any system that supports USB storage devices** (Windows, MacOS, Linux, and Android. Just beneath the compatibility section, the company provided a getting started paragraph, website to access the Quick start guide datalocker.com/k300/qsg, the User Manual DataLocker.com/k300/manual, the Warranty information DataLocker.com/warranty, New Device Updates DataLocker.com/device-updates) and logos for 3-year limited warranty, IP57 water resistance, and TAA compliant.  Beneath the website information, you will find a small window that displayed the bottom section of the DataLocker k300 with QR code and “Made in Taiwan.”  Lastly, along the bottom of the panel, you will find several of the product manufacturing labels. 

Using a razor knife, I gingerly removed the device from the cardboard/plastic shell by cutting along the cardboard/plastic junction of the cover.  I would have preferred a “cut here” indicator, but alas, this was not provided. Once out of the packaging, I held the power/arrow button along the bottom left (red/white colored) for 3 seconds and observed that the OLED display illluminated behind a thin piece of plastic with “POWER ON, HOLD 3 SECS, DEFAULT PASSWORD 1234567.”  The pixelated DataLocker logo appeared on the OLED screen followed by instructions to enter the password.  Press the keys for 1234567 and then the device will ask you to change the password.  It is important to note that the minimum password length was 7 characters.  Using the 0 and 1 keys, you can navigate between Connect, Read Only, Boot Mode, and Menu. From Menu, you can chose Change Password, User Password, Strong Password, Minimum Password, SAFECONSOLE, Read Only Mode, Auto Lock, and Zeroize.  As noted above, when I used the enter arrow to attempt to change the minimum password, the system would not allow less than 7 characters.  Interestingly, similar to an old Nokia Phone, I was excited to find that I could use numbers or letter characters. To access the number/letter option, simply press the desired button enough times to get to your password of choice. 

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Navigating to the website, I found a wonderful instruction manual.  The device was listed as the only “platform-independent, keypad, solid-state flash drive to incorporate an OLED display to enable advanced security features,” and utilizes an on-board menu system.  The buttons were oriented in two vertical rows with even numbers to the left and odd numbers to the right.  The lower green arrow served as the enter button, while the lower-left red/white power button served as the power on/off button and back button.  The zero button doubled as the up arrow, and the one-button doubled as the down arrow for window navigation.  Looking closely between the 8/9/power/return buttons, you will find the hardware reset button.  If needed, press a soft pen tip into the hole to reset the hardware.  Each time that you press and hold the power button for three seconds to unlock the device, you will be required to re-enter your password. After a sixty second delay, the device will auto-power off.  When you enter the code correctly, it will take you to the screens listed above.  Select Connect to enter normal read/write mode for admin/user.  Select Read Only Mode to connect in read-only mode for both user/admin.  Boot Mode will allow normal read/write mode by user/admin.  Menu will allow you to connect to the administrator or user menu.  

The instruction manual noted the importance of setting an administrative password (as of v1.24 firmware passwords cannot have more than an 80% repeating sequence). As a major aside, it is important to relay that a lost or forgotten admin password cannot be reset or recovered.  With a functional admin password, the instructions recommended to set up a user password, which can be disabled later by the administrator, if so desired.  With passwords set up, you need only plug the USB into your computer port, notice the open lock diagramed on the OLED screen, and enjoy the ability to transfer data.  With a Mac ecosystem, I tested this device on my wife’s MacBook Pro 15″.  Since the device arrived formatted as NTFS, I needed to format the drive before using it.  This information was clearly available on the website and was easy to follow/complete.  If using Windows only, the NTFS works well because it does not limit the file size for transfer. However, the downside is that the drive is read-only on Linux/Mac OS.  Choosing the FAT32 format will allow you to enjoy full cross-platform access but limit your file sizes to 4GB.  If choosing exFAT, you gain the same benefit as NTFS but “it is not supported by legacy operating systems.”  With the device in the unlocked configuration, navigate to Finder, to Applications, to Utilities, then to Disk Utility App. Select Erase along the top of the panel, add a name for the drive, then choose you file format and erase. Without completing this step you will get a warning that the drive is not compatible.

The only drawback to my review was that I only had 7.4GB of available disc space.  Despite the fact that the device was on the small data end, the Sentry K300 provided proof of concept.  I was impressed with the ability to lock down my data without having to use software encryption, nor requiring a digital export of security keys.   If this is a system that you need, you can purchase an 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB device.  The USB 3.1 G1 DataLocker k300 is capable of 220MB/s Read and 100Mb/s writing for the 8/16/32GB devices and 220MB/S read and 200MB/s write for 64/128/256GB devices.  If using USB 2.0 ports, you will only be limited to 30MB/s read and 20MB/s write.  Weighing in at a remarkable 30.4g(1.07 ounces), the IP57 rated device measured 3 15/16 inches long by 7/8 inches wide by 1/2 inches thick (101mm x 22mm x 13mm).  To test the speed of transfer, I used the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test and found 245 MB/s read and 97.5 MB/s write. This was repeatable with 2 GB and 4 GB data transfers.

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If someone snags your drive and tries to enter the password too many times, the device will erase itself. If you wish to erase it, you can access zeroize from the main menu stream. Perfect for the techie, student, and office commuter alike, the Sentry K300 should keep your data secure. Before you look at the pricetag and gasp, it is important to note that this is not your average priced jump drive at $138 dollars. For that price you get a water-resistant, dust-resistant device, alphanumeric password protection, 256-bit Hardware-based AEC encryption, OLED screen, the ability to Boot from the device, the ability to plug it into anything with a USB-A port, autolock, on device features/management, and thanks to the uSSD SATA III memory, you can fast process times. Think about the value of your data, of your ideas, and of your research. According to the DataLocker website, roughly 20 million USB devices go missing per annum. I would bet that many of them would gladly pay more than the asking price to get their data back.

FEATURES HIGHLIGHT (From DataLocker.com)

  • Supports true alpha-numeric for strong passwords
  • High-speed uSSD SATA III memory
  • User and Admin roles
  • Read-only mode
  • Admin configurable password policy
  • Brute Force Hack Defense
  • Rapid secure wipe
  • Auto-Lock Feature

Learn more about the DATALOCKER Sentry K300.
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