G-Technology G-Drive Mobile USB review

Updated drive is slimmer and lighter – but loses FireWire

The original G-Drive Mobile hard drive was popular with many Mac users as it had both USB and FireWire interfaces. The USB port meant that it could be used with any model of Mac, while those featuring FireWire – that’s practically all bar the MacBook Air – could take advantage of the faster FireWire 800 interface.

That FireWire version of the drive is still available, but now G-Technology has released the G-Drive Mobile USB that comes with just the faster USB 3.0 interface.

The G-Drive Mobile USB is about £20 cheaper than the FireWire version. It’s also slimmer and lighter, measuring just 13mm thick and weighing 162g, compared to 18mm and 250g for the FireWire model. That lightweight design and silver-grey finish should help make it a good companion for your MacBook.

It’s quite solidly built and should be able to cope with a few knocks when it’s out on the road, and to give you some extra piece of mind the drive is also sold with a three-year warranty in case of breakdown.

Our only minor complaint about the design is that – as with quite a few other portable drives we’ve seen recently – the status light is tucked away right at the back of the drive, alongside the USB interface. So should you want to watch the flickering light of activity, you won’t actually see it unless you turn the drive around and have the USB cable poking untidily toward you.

The G-Drive Mobile USB is designed specifically for Macs and it arrives already formatted as HFS+ although, of course, it’s no problem to reformat it for use with Windows PCs if required. There’s no bundled software provided with the drive, and it will work automatically with Time Machine just like any other connected storage drive.

The G-Drive Mobile USB is available in either 750GB or 1TB capacities, priced at about £90 and £110 respectively. There’s also a special ‘Slim’ version of the drive that’s even more compact, available only through the Apple Store and available with 500GB capacity for £70.

The internal hard drive is rated at 5400rpm, and its performance is respectable rather than outstanding. When copying smaller files it managed write and read speeds of 107 MB/s and 104 MB/s, which are typical for 2.5in disksUSB 3.0 drives.

Measured performance with larger file sizes in the AJA System Test wasn’t quite so good, dipping slightly with a write speed of 89 MB/s and read speed of 95 MB/s. Even so, those speeds are only a little below average so we wouldn’t discourage anyone from buying it on that account. 

Read more Storage and hard drive reviews here.

OUR VERDICT

Professional users who need a really fast back-up drive may want to look elsewhere. However, the G-Drive Mobile USB still performs well enough for routine Time Machine back-ups, and its lightweight, slimline design makes it very easy to carry when you’re travelling with your MacBook.

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