|Ease of Use: 10 out of 10|
Overall Review Score
out of 10
|Platforms Supported: 10 out of 10|
|Features: 9.9 out of 10|
|Customer Support and Documentation: 9.9 out of 10|
|Pricing: Score: 9.9 out of 10|
Perfection is elusive, but this device and its software are close, we give it a 9.9 rating.
Every once in a while, a powerful solution comes along to a vexing common problem. In the case of the Kingston IronKey D300S Encrypted Flash Drive, the problem is how to store valuable data in a secure, encrypted, versatile, portable, and affordable facility. Specifically, the device provides XTS-AES 256-bit Encryption. In addition, it is FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Certified. This means even the US government trusts the encryption and hardware security so it’s really a ‘battleship hardened’ storage device that fits in your pocket.
For over 30 years, Kingston has been a leader in secure portable data storage technology. With increased cybersecurity concerns, especially in an era of widely distributed work platforms, Kingston’s suite of encrypted flash drives offers an accessible and effective solution.
The focus of this review is the Kingston IronKey D300S Encrypted Flash Drive, a serialized device with a unique serial number and bar code on the drive itself. This feature allows network administrators to simply read or scan the code instead of plugging in the drive. When a drive is deployed, returned or during any physical auditing or asset management of hardware, this feature makes the process both efficient and streamlined.
An additional feature, especially useful for those with concerns about keylogging programs used by hackers, is the virtual keyboard, which allows the user to use the cursor on a visual keyboard to type out sensitive information such as passwords.
There may not be a magic bullet for protection against loss or compromise of data held in a convenient portable drive, but with all the features and ease of use, the Kingston IronKey D300S Encrypted Flash Drive is about as close as it gets. Excellent functionality, in a device with such elegant simplicity, wins a high rating in this review.
Ease of Use: Score: 10 out of 10
The first thing the user will notice is the weight and solid feel of the device; clearly it has a lot packed into a standard size USB drive.
The Kingston IronKey D300S Encrypted Flash Drive is a true plug & play device. The first time it’s connected via USB (USB 3.0 compliant and 2.0 compatible), the autoplay program launches a new window with the first available drive designation. The device uses 2 drive letter designations – one shows as the first available USB ported drive to launch the program, then it uses the next consecutive one for data files. (It may identify itself as a “DVD Drive.”)
The user interface is a simple popup screen that asks for the creation and confirmation of a password.
The excellent User Manual can be accessed from the file list on this second drive. Some users may prefer to proceed with the very user-friendly flow of prompts to use the flash drive. For those who prefer to read the User Guide in advance, it can be accessed online at https://media.kingston.com/support/downloads/IKD300S_User_Guide.pdf
Sequentially, once the device is inserted in the USB port, the AutoPlay window brings up a drop-down menu. The user will choose “Run.exe,” the IronKey Unlocker program. That in turn will ask for the user’s account information, including name, organization, and password, as well as acceptance of the software agreement.
The installation program will then run automatically, and it’s very quick to do so, including formatting the data partition. A popup will appear upon completion.
This is the point at which the File Explorer will open, including a second window with the second drive letter designation; this will be the location of the saved encrypted files.
Note that the IronKey D300S icon appears in the task tray at this point. Right-clicking on the icon brings up this menu:
Using the Kingston IronKey D300S Encrypted Flash Drive
Launching the program and storing files and folders is very easy and intuitive. The first time, it appears to be easiest to use the “ShutDown” option, eject the device, then re-insert it to launch the Password screen with choices of actions to take.
It’s worth noting that the flash drive is pre-configured with the number of failed PW attempts set at 10, before it protectively shuts down all functions. At that point, it’s required to re-format the device, and lose all stored data!
Files to be encrypted and stored are moved to the flash drive by simple drag-and-drop procedure, or they can be copied and pasted if the user prefers.
The file transfer process is very quick, especially if the port is USB-3.
Once file transfer, encryption, and storage are complete, the ShutDown function can be completed from the task tray or within the program itself.
Other options include device reset and ability to put the drive in read-only mode, easily selected by the user as circumstances require.
The user interface is simple and intuitive in order to make it as easy as possible for IT administrators to deploy to their employees.
For employees, it is equally easy for them to set a password and begin securing their data without delay.
Successful shutdown will be shown by this popup window:
As for the key features such as Capacity, Encryption and Management, it is available from 4GB up to 128GB which is ample storage for critical information, trade secrets, passwords and even cryptocurrency wallets. It supports very strong XTS-AES 256 bit encryption and can be purchased standalone serialized or serialized managed for larger organizations.
Just as it’s not required for the driver of an automobile to have in-depth understanding of the internal combustion engine or the electrical specifications of the motor, the usefulness of the encryption of the data on the IronKey D300S is not dependent on the user’s understanding of the technical aspects of how it operates. It’s literally plug-and-play.
Platforms Supported: Score: 10 out of 10
Although this review is based on and concentrates on the PC/Windows version of the IronKey D300S, the device also supports both Mac and LINUX operating systems.
The User Guide provides full coverage and instructions for all three operating systems, including a few notations on differences in the applications and the means to utilize any of them without difficulty.
Features: Score: 9.9 out of 10
With the IronKey D300S, Kingston concentrates on providing a convenient, secure, and auditable solution to a specific problem: encrypted storage in a portable flash drive with powerful password protection. The device does one job and does it well. Supporting features complete the functionality of the IronKey D300S.
In addition to the functionality of the device, the two newest features add layers of cyber security to the underlying password and encryption protocols.
- IronKey D300S has a unique serial number and bar code on the drive itself, allowing administrators to simply read or scan the code instead of plugging in the drive. When a drive is deployed, returned or during any physical auditing or asset management of hardware, this feature will make process the more efficient and streamlined.
- The second feature, a virtual keyboard, enables users to enter a password clicks of the mouse instead of using a physical keyboard, thereby providing a greater level of protection any possible keylogging when using D300S on other computers.
Beyond the software functions included in the D300S flash drive, the physical attributes of the device include waterproof resistance to a depth of 4 feet.
The Kingston IronKey D300S meets frequently requested IT requirements, in order to help achieve compliance with relevant corporate applications and government regulations: in particular, it is FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified and TAA compliant.
Customer Support and Documentation: Score: 9.9 out of 10
As noted earlier, the User Guide is an excellent resource for those users who prefer to use a printed set of directions. The manual is divided into three sections corresponding to the 3 operating systems (Windows, Mac, and LINUX).
The program itself is transparent and logical, and can be used easily by most computer professionals and consumers without reference to additional documentation.
Kingston provides and maintains a robust customer support operation for all Kingston products. This resource can be accessed online at
Pricing: Score: 9.9 out of 10
Pricing for the IronKey D300S encrypted flash drive starts at a retail price of about $90 for 4GB capacity, and increases with greater storage capacity up to 128 GB. The manufacturer recommends checking with the buyer’s preferred reseller or distributor, as lower prices may be available. For current pricing information:
It’s worth noting that the price includes a standard 5-year warranty and free technical support for all sizes of the D300S flash drive.
Overall Review Score: 9.9 out of 10
The D300S assures both ease of use and peace of mind that confidential data and information are well protected from the risks and threats associated with loss, theft, or stolen digital devices.
This encrypted flash drive admirably accomplishes the principal task it is designed and intended to perform.
It’s a simple, effective, and complete solution.
Learn more about the D300S Encrypted flash Drive at Kingston online, today: