G-Drive mobile USB-C review: An external drive that's stylish and fairly fast

Styled with Apple products in mind, this somewhat pricey 2.5-inch external USB drive also ticks the performance box

g drive mobile usb c external drive
G-Drive
At a Glance

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. 

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best external drives. Go there for buying advice and reviews of the latest products. 

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.

g drivemobile usb c silver 4tb front hr12 G-Technology

G-Technology drives follow Apple's design cues and look like they belong with that company's products.

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.

Performance

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. 

g tech cdm 6 IDG

For some reason, CrystalDiskMark 6 didn't like the G-Drive mobile USB-C when it came to writing. This result doesn't quite mesh with what we saw in our real-world 48GB copies, so take it with a grain of salt. Longer bars are better.

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.

g tech as ssd IDG

AS SSD is obviously designed for SSDs, but its sustained throughput tests have generally proven accurate with hard drives as well.The G-Drive fared well against the competition. Longer bars are better. 

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. 

g tech 48gb IDG

The G-Drive mobile USB-C proved a better reader than the Sony and WD, and just generally a bit faster at most tasks where lots of data was involved. 

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.

screen shot 2019 02 04 at 11.29.54 am IDG

As G-Technology is big with Apple users, we ran Black Magic's Disk Speed as well. Not spectacular, not a dog. Again, the synthetics were a bit low in the write department, though 110 to 115MBps was the average speed in the 48GB copy tests shown above.

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.

Conclusion

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. 

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At a Glance
  • As external 2.5-inch hard drives have become mostly a commodity item, the G-Drive mobile USB-C's type C connector and thin good looks stand it in good stead. It's not the fastest we've tested, but fast enough for everyday use.

    Pros

    • Thin design
    • Stylish in gray, silver, or gold with Apple design hints
    • USB-C connector

    Cons

    • Pricier than the competition
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