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SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD Review: An Exciting Pro-Grade Portable Drive

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The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD is the latest in Western Digital’s large portable family, including the previous SanDisk Extreme/PRO and WD My Passport brands.

But it has some minor novelties of its own: The look and the HFS+ pre-configured file system—it’s ready for Time Machine backup right out of the box.

On the inside, though, this is very much a rebranded version of the other two. Still, if you’re looking for a reliable USB-C-based secure portable SSD that can take a beating, at current costs of $140 (500GB), $230 (1TB), and $360 (2TB), the G-Drive SSD won’t disappoint.

SanDisk Professional G Drive SSD
The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD looks the part.

SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD: WD’s latest rugged portable drive in town

Both SanDisk and G-Drive are brands that Western Digital has acquired over the years. And in early 2021, the two merged into a new Professional lineup for gamers and professionals.

The G-Drive SSD is one of those new storage devices. At its core, this is a compact, rugged portable drive that houses an NVMe SSD on the inside to deliver top data copy speeds.

The throughputs also depend on the USB standards, and on this front, the G-Drive SSD is a bit behind its SanDisk Extreme PRO: It doesn’t feature the USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20Gbps) but stops at USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps).

The drive also works with Thunderbolt (3 and 4), but in my testing, it didn’t work (well) with USB 2.0—the test computer did recognize it via this port, but the performance was extremely slow.

This lack of support is not a huge deal since most devices support at least USB 3.2 Gen 1 (formerly USB 3.0) anyway.

SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD: Hardware specifications

The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD can withstand some beating. I tossed it around many times during my testing and left it in a water-filled kitchen sink for a couple of hours, and it survived with no issues at all.

Capacity (Part Number)500GB (SDPS11A-500G-GBANB)
InterfaceUSB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) with USB-C
USB 3.0/2.0 compatibleYes/No
Cable includedUSB-C
Dimensions3.74 x 1.97 x 0.59 in (95 x 50 x 15 mm)
Weight0.20 lbs (0.09 g)
StorageNVMe SSD
Rated copy speedUp to 1050 MB/s
Encryption support256-bit AES-XTS Hardware encryption
SecurityPassword via SanDisk Security
RuggednessIP67 water and dust resistance
Up to 3-meter drop protection
Up to 2000lb crush resistance
Supported operating systemsmacOS 10.11 and later
Windows 10 and later (reformat required)
U.S. cost (at review)$140 (500GB)
$230 (1TB)
$360 (2TB)
WarrantyFive years
SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD’s hardware specifications

A Mac portable SSD out of the box

Out of the box, the SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD is preformatted in the HFS+ file system to work right with a macOS computer with the support for Time Machine backup.

This file system choice is rather significant because most portable drives I’ve reviewed come with exFAT to work with multiple platforms interchangeably, including macOS and Windows. Picking HFS+ means Western Digital aims to please Mac users.

However, as a storage device, the G-Drive SSD will work with any platform, but Windows users will need to reformat it, which took just a few seconds in my case.

One thing to note: The drive comes included with the installers of the SanDisk Security software for both Windows and Mac preloaded.

If you choose to reformat it without first copying the software onto another place, it’ll be erased during the process, and currently, there’s no way to download it.

So, for now, Windows users who want to use the drive’s security feature will need a Mac to get the software out of it before reformatting it. That’s a bit of a hassle.

SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD: Detail photos

SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD
The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD’s retail box

SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD
The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD includes two USB cables for it to work anywhere.

SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD
The “underside” of the SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD

SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD

The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD from the side

SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD
The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD has a USB-C port on one end.

SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD
And on the other end, it has a single status light.

SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD
The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD’s retail box’s backside

Familiar security feature

The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD features the same hardware encryption and protection feature as the My Passport SSD and other WD portable storage drives.

Specifically, you can use SanDisk Security, a rebranded version of WD Security, to enable password protection for the drive. And this protection feature worked well in my testing.

SanDisk Professional G Drive SSD
The SanDisk Professional G Drive SSD uses the same security features as other WD portable SSDs.

By the way, once you’ve turned on the security feature, there’s no way to access the data the drive stores if you forget the password, and there’s no mechanism to reset the password, either. Keep that in mind.

SanDisk Professional G Drive SSD: Excellent performance, runs warm

Without the support for the 20Gbps USB standard, the SanDisk Professional G Drive SSD can’t be the fastest portable SSD you can find. But for a USB 3.2 Gen 2 drive, it performed very well in my testing.

SanDisk Professional G Drive SSD Performance
SanDisk Professional G Drive SSD’s performance

I tested the top-tier 2TB version with both USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) and USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps), and it was among the stops on the charts, with a sustained copy speed of up to 830MB/s and 660MB/s, respectively.

On the downside, as noted earlier, the drive didn’t work well with USB 2.0. It was the first of its kind that I’ve seen that didn’t. That is likely because the portable SSD requires more power than this old port can deliver.

On top of that, it ran relatively warm in my trial, too, even when idle. It wasn’t boiling but enough to cause discomfort if I held it for longer than 10 seconds in my palm.

SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD's Rating

8.2 out of 10
SanDisk Professional G Drive SSD 5
9 out of 10
8 out of 10
7.5 out of 10


Fast NVMe-based performance

Rugged, water-resistant, compact design

USB-C with included cables

Effective security feature


No USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 or USB 2.0 support

A bit pricey

Not convenient for Windows users

Runs a bit warm


Though excellent, the SanDisk Professional G Drive SSD is not a must-have.

It’s just an alternative to other equally excellent portable SSDs. But if you’re a Mac user and want a drive that will work right away for your needs, this is a slightly better buy.

For everyone else, the new SanDisk Professional G Drive SSD is another exciting portable storage option worthy of your consideration.

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    • Lol, Jim! Thanks for reporting the typo. Next time you can just highlight the text and hit the red button that appears. But I appreciate your message.


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