Saturday, January 23rd, 2021

G-Tech G-Drive Mobile USB-C (2018) Review: Your Mac’s Handy Friend

The G-Tech G-Drive Mobile USB-C is a relatively compact portable drive.
The G-Tech G-Drive Mobile USB-C is a relatively compact portable drive.

The recently released G-Drive Mobile USB-C from G-Tech is similar to the previous model that came out two years ago. It’s now just slightly faster and includes two new capacities, 2TB, and 4TB.

If you think the new capacities are not a novelty, you’re right. There are plenty of 2TB and 4TB portable drives on the market. However, if you have one of those Thunderbolt 3- or USB-C-only Mac computers your, options are still pretty limited.

The support for USB-C, therefore, makes the new portable drive quite a catch. With a suggested retail price of less than $150 for 4TB, it’s one of the less expensive drives that give you a huge amount of extra space you’d like for your Mac. And if capacity is not a big concern, you can get the 2TB or 1TB versions for $95 and $65, respectively.

G-Tech G-Drive Mobile USB-C Portable Drive

7.9

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

8.0/10

Value

7.0/10

Pros

  • Fast performance, high capacities
  • USB-C-ready, compatible cable included
  • Useful software utilities

Cons

  • More expensive than non-USB-C portable drives
  • No sleep mode when idle

G-Drive Mobile USB-C: Familiar design

The new G-Drive shares the same design as the previous version though slightly thinner except the 4TB version which is noticeably thicker. Overall, this drive is a compact rectangular box that holds a standard 2.5-inch internal hard drive on the inside.

On one side, the G-Drive has a USB-C port. Next to this port is a tiny white status light that flashes during operation. The drive has an aluminum chassis that feels sturdy and tough, though it’s not rated as a rugged drive. Like all storage devices, you’re supposed to handle it with care.

Along the sides, the drive comes in silver or space gray. On top, there’s a shiny G logo of G-Technology. In all, the whole package looks pretty nice.

Out of the box new drive includes two USB cables. One cable has USB-C connectors on both ends to use with USB-C-ready (or Thunderbolt 3-ready) computers. (By design, all Thunderbolt 3 ports can work as USB-C ports.) The other is a USB-A to USB-C cable that allows the drive to work with the majority of existing computers that have regular USB-A ports.

Hardware specification

Detail photos

G Tech 4TB G Drive Mobile USB C 1 e1540410034324

The 4TB version of the G-Tech G-Drive Mobile USB-C.

G Tech 4TB G Drive Mobile USB C 10

G Tech 4TB G Drive Mobile USB C 9

G Tech 4TB G Drive Mobile USB C 8

G Tech 4TB G Drive Mobile USB C 7

G Tech 4TB G Drive Mobile USB C 5

G Tech 4TB G Drive Mobile USB C 4

G Tech 4TB G Drive Mobile USB C 2

Mac-ready, Windows-compatible

Like the earlier model, the new G-Drive Mobile USB-C is pre-formatted in HFS+ file system and will work with a Mac right away. If you want to make it work with a Windows computer, you have two options.

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Option one is to reformat the drive, into either a Windows native file system (namely NTFS) or exFAT which will work with both Windows and Mac interchangeably. To do this, you can use native formatting tools of  Windows or macOS. Alternatively, you can use G-Technology Format Wizard pre-loaded on a small separate partition of the drive itself.

The second option is to install the included Paragon HFS+ for Windows utility which enables a Windows computer to read and write HFS+ file system. I prefer the first option since it allows the drive to work with all Windows computers and not just one with the extra software installed.

G-Drive Mobile USB-C: Fast performance

I tested the 4TB version of the new G-Drive, rated as the slowest among the three capacities, and yet it was already quite fast.

In copy tests, where I transferred a large amount of data from a host computer – which runs on an NVMe solid-stated drive — on to the portable drive, it registered the sustained speeds of 119 megabytes per seconds for writing and more than 129 MB/s for reading. Both numbers were impressive among non-SSD portable drives.

G Tech 4TB G Drive Mobile USB C 2

Other than the fast performance, the drive also worked well even during long operations. It was quiet and stayed cool.

I did notice, though, the tiny vibration caused by the spinning of the internal drive on the inside. Interestingly, the drive didn’t stop spinning even when there was no activity. It did share power status with the host computer, however. In other words, the G-Drive doesn’t seem to have a sleep mode, which is not a huge deal.

Conclusion

There’s nothing earth-shattering about the new G-Drive Mobile USB-C. But if you’re looking for a reliable portable drive with abundant storage space to use on the go with your new MacBook Pro, this is a good choice.

Also consider the Armor A75 from Silicon Power if you want something that can take a beating, or the My Passport SSD, or the Samsung T5 if you need top USB performance and ultra-portability.

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