I expected performance to be down on normal portable drives, since the data is having to be encrypted and decrypted when written and read, but the ThinkPad SHD still showed a good turn of speed. Writing a 1GB single file to the drive returned 16MB/s, while reading back the same file resulted in a transfer rate of 17MB/s. Firing up the read test in HDTune returned almost identical figures. This means that the ThinkPad SHD isn't the fastest portable hard disk out there, but it also means that the encrypted nature of the drive hasn't noticeably slowed it down either.
Unsurprisingly, the ThinkPad USB Secure Hard Drive doesn't come cheap, with this 160GB version carrying a price tag of £108. To put that into context, something like a 320GB Western Digital Passport portable hard drive can be had for less than £70 online. So, you clearly won't be buying the ThinkPad SHD for its cost per gigabyte. That said, if keeping your data secure is paramount, this Lenovo drive makes a very good case for itself.
Like any niche product, you either need the security features of the Lenovo ThinkPad USB Secure Hard Drive or you don't. The ThinkPad SHD offers simple, but extremely effective security in a portable storage device, and if you need to keep your data protected at all times it's a dream come true. It may be more expensive than other portable drives, but none of them can protect your files from prying eyes.