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Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 review: Heavy security in a lightweight design

Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200

Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200

3.5 / 5

The Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 is a decent encrypted flash drive, but unless you have a very specific security need, it's probably not worth the cost.

Privacy and security are high priorities for many when choosing a device to hold their data. With the threats of hacking and malware attacks, encrypting your device is the best way to protect against them.

Unfortunately, ordinary flash drives lack built-in security, which puts your data at risk if misplaced or stolen. All someone would have to do to access the data is plug the drive into a compatible device and open it.

The Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 addresses this issue by safeguarding sensitive files behind an alphanumeric keypad and deleting them if an unauthorized user tries to break in.

Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 — A hybrid-looking design

At first glance, the Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 looks like a hybrid between a numerical keypad and a flash drive, and in a sense, it is.

The IronKey is about the same size as a regular flash drive by being 3.14 x 0.79 x 0.42 inches and weighing .88 ounces. However, its width does prevent it from being easily plugged in next to other connected accessories. When plugging it into a 2022 MacBook Air, it left no room between itself and the other connected accessory in the neighboring port.

To protect against water and dust, the drive's casing is enclosed in tough epoxy, giving it an IP57 certification. This means that the IronKey is protected from limited dust ingress and water submersions between 15 centimeters and one meter in depth.

On the front is an alphanumeric PIN keypad used to unlock and access the content on the drive. While the overall size of the IronKey is small, the numbers and letters on each key are still large enough to see without squinting.

Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 alphanumeric keypad
Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 alphanumeric keypad

With the alphanumeric keypad, you have the option of creating a numerical or textual PIN to unlock the drive.

Each key has a layer of polymer on top to hide fingerprints and protect them from any potential damage. Hiding any added fingerprints will prevent others from guessing your passcode based on an analysis of the marks left.

Above the alphanumeric pad are two lock icons: one is locked, and the other is unlocked. A turned-on light underneath either one will indicate the current state or mode the IronKey is in.

Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200
Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200

Included with the IronKey is a case that fits snugly over the drive. It sports the company and product name on the exterior and protects the keypad from damage when traveling with it.

Conveniently, there is also a non-detachable wired loop incorporated into the end of the drive. This design choice lets you hang the IronKey from a keychain or hook.

Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 — Configured compatibility and capacity size

Usually, importing and exporting speeds would be similar across all capacities, but the Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 uses a different method. Depending on the capacity and USB version you have will determine the reading and writing speeds the drive is capable of.

For USB-C flash drives, ones with an 8-to-32 GB capacity will read data at 145 MB per second and write at 115 MB per second. 64-to-512 GB capacity drives will read at the same speed as the lower-capacity ones but will write at 20 MB per second.

Inside the IronKey is a rechargeable battery that receives power whenever you plug it into your device, enabling compatibility with any operating system. With its inclusion of USB-C, you can connect it to any device that supports it, such as the iPhone 15, compatible iPads, and Macs.

Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 — Maximum security

The Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 offers top-of-the-line security to keep your imported documents safe. However, because of this, accessing your documents is not as easy as plugging in the drive and diving into them.

The IronKey provides robust security through its FIPS 140-3 Level 3 military-grade encryption rating, meeting the latest US and Canadian government standards for cryptographic hardware. That's also paired with XTS-AES 256-bit encryption for sector-based data protection. In simpler terms, your documents are highly secure on the IronKey.

When first using the IronKey, you must create a User PIN allowing you to unlock the drive. The passcode must be between 8-to-15 digits or characters long, cannot be only repeating numbers, and cannot be consecutive numbers in a row.

Once you have created your User PIN, you'll use it to unlock the drive every time you want to access the data on it. However, plugging in the IronKey before entering your passcode will result in the drive staying non-detectable.

Due to the IronKey's built-in rechargeable battery, you can conveniently type in your passcode and unlock the drive before connecting it to your device. This is handy when plugging the IronKey into computers that locate their ports behind themselves or in tough-to-reach areas.

Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 unlocked
Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 unlocked

Once the PIN is typed in, the light under the unlocked icon will turn solid green, signifying the drive is ready to be used. You will have 30 seconds to plug it into your device before it automatically locks itself again.

After you finish the drive, you can remove it from your device, automatically locking itself for security. This means you don't have to physically lock it each time you unplug the drive from your device.

While the User PIN allows you to access most of the features on the IronKey, an Admin PIN will take you further. Setting up an Admin PIN follows the same requirements as the User PIN and gives you deeper access to the security features offered.

The Admin PIN is like the parent of the User PIN. In instances of forgetting or mistyping your User PIN ten times, you can use the Admin PIN to access the drive and reset the User PIN.

However, unlike the User PIN, if the Admin PIN is forgotten, you'll have to reset the drive — erasing all the content on it — and create a new code from scratch. If the Admin PIN is mistyped ten times in a row, then IronKey will automatically crypto-erase all the content on the drive and reset it to factory settings.

Additionally, when you're sharing the drive with a friend or using it on an unsecured computer, there's Global Read-Only mode. This allows you to limit the drive to data reading and prevents any data from being written on it.

Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 — Maximized security that is not made for everyone

The Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 is an impressive flash drive that offers maximum security in a minimalistic design. Although anyone can use it, that doesn't mean it's the perfect fit for everyone.

Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 and cover
Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 and cover

A highlight of the IronKey is how it excels in file transfers. During our tests, it efficiently imported over two gigabytes of data in under twenty seconds while simultaneously moving multiple folders onto itself.

While the security and transfer speeds are impressive, only getting 8 GB of storage for $75 is not. Depending on what you're using the IronKey for will determine if that's enough storage, but for many, it won't be.

With its thorough implementation of security, the IronKey is better suited for high-level people, such as lawyers, doctors, and politicians. However, if you're digitally storing sensitive information about yourself — such as your birth certificate, social security number, and banking details — then the IronKey is an excellent option.

If you need a safe place to digitally store documents, then the Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 is worth looking into. However, if you need a flash drive to store family vacation photos and journal entries, a basic flash drive will do the job for you.

Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 — Pros

  • Strong security measures
  • Numerical or alphabetical password options
  • Compatible with all operating systems and USB-C devices
  • Offers different modes for different actions

Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 — Cons

  • Blocks other accessories from accessing neighboring ports
  • Different capacities provide different read and write speeds
  • High price

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Where to purchase the Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200

You can purchase the Kingston IronKey USB Type-C Keypad 200 from their website starting at $74.99, and from Amazon from $76.99. It is available in blue and has storage options from 8 GB to 512 GB.