If there were Razzie Awards for the worst storage devices, the G-Technology G-Connect would win in a few categories. Yet, it's not categorically a bad device for you to just write off; it's good enough for you to keep it and keep wishing it could do more.
When first introduced last June, the G-Connect was intended to rival the Seagate GoFlex Satellite wireless storage extender for mobile devices. Now shipping a year later, the G-Connect has no improvement over its competitor, offering about half of what the Seagate does. For example, there's no battery, no support for USB 3.0, and it currently only has an iOS mobile app.
In all fairness, the G-Connect does well when all conditions required for it to be useful are met: when plugged into a network via a network cable and hooked to power via its power adapter. In this case, up to five clients, preferably iOS devices, can connect to its Wi-Fi network stream media in its 500GB of internal storage and surf the Internet at the same time. But mobile devices are not so mobile anymore when they have to be tied to a power socket.
That said, at around $180, the G-Connect makes a slow USB 2.0 portable drive, a lacking NAS server because of its limited storage, and an immobile portable wireless storage extender for the iPad. It might be a good fit for hotel hoppers, however, since it helps share the in-room Internet access.
If you're looking for a similar device that can do a lot more, check out the GoFlex Satellite, which costs about the same and offers USB 3.0, support for iOS and Android devices, and, most importantly, includes a battery that offers up to 9 hours of usage.
|Drive type||2.5-inch external USB hard drive with wireless N access point and Gigabit Ethernet port |
|Connector options||USB 2.0|
|Size (LWH)||2.4 x 7.2 x 5.1 inches |
|GoFlex Media app for iOS-based devices.||9.8 ounces|
|Available capacities||500 GB|
|OSes supported||iOS, Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, 7), Mac OS 10.5.8 or later|
Design and features
The G-Connect is about as compact as most portable drives that are based on standard 2.5-inch internal hard drives. It comes with one Gigabit port, a USB 2.0 port, and 500GB of built-in storage. With these specs, the device is designed to be a portable hard drive, a NAS server, and a wireless storage extender, all in one.
As an external hard drive, it supports just USB 2.0. A year ago, this wouldn't be a problem but now, most if not all portable drives offer USB 3.0, which is much faster than USB 2.0. The drive is bus-powered and comes with a Y-shaped USB cable that requires two USB ports. In my trials, most of the time, the drive works when plugged into just one USB port. Note that when the drive's USB port is used, it can only work as an external hard drive. There's another power port to work with an included power adapter and a USB-to-power cable, for the G-Connect to work as a NAS or a wireless storage expander. The power adapter converts a regular power socket into a USB power socket, similar to the power adapter of an iPad and in fact can be used with an iOS device. If this sounds confusing it's because this whole USB bus-powered, and USB power-only design makes it indeed confusing as to how you should power the device.
As a NAS server, the drive offers just 500GB, a very small amount for an entire network. Plus it lacks many features other NAS servers would offer, such as support for an FTP server, backup, and so on. The drive does work with Time Machine for Macs, but in this case it will need to be formatted in HFS+, which means it won't work with Windows anymore as a portable drive. Also note that the G-Connect's Gigabit Ethernet port will only work as a regular 10/100 Ethernet port -- some 10 times slower -- if its built-in Wi-Fi network is turned on. In this case, it's not much of a NAS server.