iStorage has announced a new version of its unusual PIN security diskGenie portable hard drive based on solid-state (SSD) drive technology.

Externally, the drive is identical to the HDD version that has been on sale since last year, and features the same 12-button PIN security unlocking system and USB cable that folds into the body of the drive. The main difference is that the SSD technology offers faster data access, lower drain on the battery of the host laptop, and claimed (note the qualification) greater reliability.

The new drives are also available with basic 128-bit AES encryption to complement the heavier-duty 256-bit AES technology used by the company in its drives up to now.

As with all SSDs, however, the downside is price-performance. The cheapest 128-bit AES drive in the range will cost £175 (approx $260) for a mere 30GB, about the capacity of a portable USB hard drive five years ago and considerable dearer. For 256-bit AES in the same capacity add another £20 to the recommended retail price.

More storage comes at an eye-watering price. Available in capacities of 64GB, 128GB and 256GB, with the latter costing £1,209, including VAT, for the 256GB version. The 128-bit AES model slices a little off this at a still hefty £1,009. The warranty on the drives is three years.

“By expanding the diskGenie range to include new encryption levels, platforms and capacities, iStorage aims to ensure that we cater for everyone’s security needs and make it easier to secure data,” said iStorage managing director, John Michael.