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: 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)
|USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) with USB-C
|USB 3.0/2.0 compatible
USB-C to USB-A
|3.74 x 1.97 x 0.59 in (95 x 50 x 15 mm)
|0.20 lbs (0.09 g)
|Rated copy speed
|Up to 1050 MB/s
|256-bit AES-XTS Hardware encryption
|Password via SanDisk Security
|IP67 water and dust resistance
Up to 3-meter drop protection
Up to 2000lb crush resistance
|Supported operating systems
|macOS 10.11 and later
Windows 10 and later (reformat required)
|U.S. cost (at review)
A Mac portable SSD out of the box
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
The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD from the side
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.
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.
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
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.