G-Drive mobile USB-C review: An external drive that's stylish and fairly fast
- 13 March, 2019 03:00
The G-Drive mobile USB-C external drive has forward-looking connectivity and stylish design that can help it stand out from the crowd, when performance is fairly even among competitors. USB-C connectors are the new standard for Macs and newer PCs (though USB-A ports will likely hang around for a while longer on the PC platform). G-Technology always delivers attractive designs that mesh particularly well with Apple's products. Alas, along with the Apple design cues, comes an relatively Apple-like price.
Design and specs
The G-Drive mobile USB-C comes in three capacities: 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB for $80, $95. and $150 respectively. 2TB or 4TB are your best cost per gigabyte. It's also available in three matte shades: gray, silver, and gold. All three drives measure 4.33 inches long and 3.23 inches wide, but where the 1TB and 2TB drives are 0.41 inch thick, the 4TB is 0.75 inch thick. That's because more platters must be stacked to reach the larger capacity.
The drives is USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps throughput). Gen 2 (10GBps throughput) would be overkill, as the older standard still easily outstrips the speed of the 2.5-inch hard drive inside the G-Drive mobile USB-C. I'm assuming it's a Western Digital mechanism (industry slang for a hard drive), as that company owns G-Technology.
Note that you may see "compatible with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3" in the advertising. As Thunderbolt 3 uses the same Type-C connector as USB, and Thunderbolt 3 ports almost always support USB 3 as well, that simply means you can plug the drive into a port labeled Thunderbolt 3 and it will work. It doesn't mean you'll actually be using Thunderbolt.
A three-year warranty is provided on all capacities.
The G-Drive mobile USB-C (blue bars) proved to be a nice little performer compared to the Sony PSZ-HC1T (available on Amazon) and the WD My Passport X though there was an anomaly with CrystalDiskMark in sustained sequential writing (large file) that didn't mesh with our real-world copy results. Normally synthetic benchmarks project high compared to what we see in the real-world tests, as is the case with the read scores. In this case the write scores were actually what we saw in the copy tests.
AS SSD also rates the G-Drive mobile USB-C as a slightly slow writer, but again, that was not evident in our real-world copy tests that will be next up.
When it comes to external hard drives, which are most often used for backup or transporting data, we tend to believe the copy tests more than synthetic benchmarks such as CrystalDiskMark and AS SSD. The copy tests say the G-Drive mobile USB-C is as well suited to common tasks as the next drive, slightly better than the Sony, and a lot better than the WD.
All in all, performance isn't a worry with the G-Drive mobile USB-C. It's about as fast as the rest of the single-drive boxes. You'll need to go SSD or RAID to find anything significantly faster.
As G-Technology is big in the Apple market, we included Black Magic's Disk Speed test. Its conclusion echoed what we saw in the other synthetic tests, though not as dire on the writes as CrystalDiskMark.
The G-Drive mobile USB-C is fast and ticks the style box nicely, especially when it's sitting next to a MacBook. If you like your external drives thin and good-looking, and you have the cash, then you'll like this one.