The Armor A66 is the first portable hard drive I’ve reviewed in a long time since the WD My Passport in September 2019, and it might be my last.
With solid-state drives (SSDs) getting more affordable, there are fewer and fewer reasons to get hard-drive-based portable storage.
On top of that, generally, all single-hard-drive-based external storage remains the same in terms of performance — they all cap at the speed of SATA 3, 6Gbps.
The Armor A66, as the name suggests, has some extras: It’s a rugged storage device. But as such, it’s also a bit of irony: no matter how tough its outer housing is, its hard drive on the inside can die from drops or shocks comparatively much more easily than an SSD, which has no moving parts.
But at the current cost of less than $70 for 2TB of storage space — there are also larger capacities — the Armor A66 is still a decent rugged portable drive for those who don’t need more than around 100MB/s copy speeds and have a habit of handling storage devices with care.
Silicon Power Armor A66: A rugged portable drive of questionable design
The Armor A66 looks cool for a portable hard drive out of the box.
As a storage device that’s based on a single 2.5-inch internal hard drive, it’s a bit large, measuring a tad larger than my palm — and I have big hands. But it’s large for a reason.
The drive’s housing comes with different layers of protection to keep the internal hard drive safe from shocks and drop — to a certain extent. It’s also designed to make it water-tight.
The drive’s top and bottom are black, but its middle enclosure, called “all-around bumper” comes in Black, Blue, or Yellow. This part also has a groove that runs along the drive’s three sides to work as a cable holder.
And this is where things get interesting.
Awkward connection design
The Armor A66 includes a USB cable that’s unlike most standard cables you’d find in other portable drives. It’s a USB-A to USB-A cable — the drive’s USB port is the same as one found in a computer. In other words, it’s somewhat of a non-standard cable.
As a result, if you misplace yours, it’s hard to find a readily available replacement. And for this reason, it would be a much better design if the cable itself is permanently attached to the drive instead of being something you’d need to jank out of the groove and then attach to the port.
On top of that, the drive will not work with a USB-C port without an adapter.
In short, cable-wise, the Armor A66 is awkward — it’s so much worse than the design found in the Armor A75 that came out some four years ago. If you’re serious about using it, make sure you get a spare cable right away.
Silicon Power Armor A66: Hardware specifications
|Capacity||1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 5TB|
|Models||Black body with Black, Blue, or Yellow rim|
|Interface||USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps)
USB-A female port
|Dimensions (LWH)||1TB/2TB: 5.48 x 3.78 x .63 in (13.9 x 9.6 x 1.6 cm)
4TB/5TB: 5.48 x 3.78 x .94 in (13.9 x 9.6 x 2.4 cm)
|Weight||1TB/2TB: .46 lb (209 g)
4TB/5TB: .72 lb (328 g)
|Bundled Software||SP Widget|
|Ruggedness||Military-grade MIL-STD 810G shockproof,
IPX4 water resistance protects
|Certification||CE, FCC, BSMI, Green dot, WEEE, RoHS, KC, RCM|
Silicon Power Armor A66: Detail photos
Frill-free drive, terrible software
Out of the box, the Armer A66 is formatted using the NTFS file system, so it’ll work right away with any Windows computer. You can easily reformat it for Mac if need be.
The drive doesn’t come with any special features, such as hardware encryption, but it does come with the SP Widget software via download, which you’d wish it didn’t. Seriously, don’t use it!
I first had experience with SB Widget four years ago with the Armor A75 and thought it was terrible then. Well, the Armor A66 uses the same version.
The software is so bad. The interface looks like something out of a high-schooler programming homework and functioned even worse in my testing. Again, don’t bother!
Silicon Power Armor A66: Fast hard drive-based performance
The Silicon Power Armor A66 did well in my testing and was fast for a hard-drive-based portable drive.
Via a5Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 1 connection, it averages around 130MB/s in sustained copy speeds, the fastest among its peers, by a small margin.
The drive worked with USB 2.0, too, and in this case, averaged around 39MB/s, which was about as fast as this standard can be.
The drive remained cool and quiet even during extended tasks. It just worked.
In terms of ruggedness, I tossed it around a few times on the carpet floor and left it in the kitchen sink for over five minutes (it sank!), and it survived intact.
Fast hard-drive-based performance
USB-A female port instead of USB-C
Impractical connection design
Terrible SP Widget software
The Silicon Power Armor A66 would have been a terrific portable storage device had it come out five years ago. These days, though, you might question why it doesn’t use a solid-state drive on the inside instead.
Nonetheless, if you’re looking for an affordable, high-capacity portable drive to carry on the go that can handle a bit of rough-housing, the Armor A66 is worth consideration. Alternatively, you can also check out the many SSD alternatives.