G-Tech G-Drive ev ATC w/Thunderbolt review:

A fast, durable and flexible portable drive

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The G-Tech G-Drive EV ATC with Thunderbolt is fast, tough and supports both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connections. The outer shell is watertight, the internal drive can be swapped out with other drives in G-Tech's EV series.

The Bad The drive is bulky, limited to only 1TB capacity and expensive if you're not looking for a durable drive.

The Bottom Line Those in need of a speedy portable storage device that can handle a rough, dirty or wet environment, the G-Tech G-Drive EV ATC is an excellent buy.

8.0 Overall
  • Setup 8.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 8.0
  • Support 7.0

The G-Tech G-Drive EV ATC w/Thunderbolt is applicable only to those needing a tough, weather-proof portable storage device. And if you have already had other products in G-Tech's EV series, you'll likely love this new drive.

Rugged enough to handle drops from up to 6.6 feet (2 meters) and water-tight, the new storage device is made for those working rough, dirty or wet environments. The drive is also flexible enough to work with a Thunderbolt or USB connection, and can even fit in other EV housing unit, such as the G-Dock EV. Performance-wise, this is of the fastest non-solid-state-based portable drives I've seen, both via Thunderbolt and USB 3.0.

All things considered, at the current street price around $150, the G-Drive EV ATC is an excellent deal, much better than the recently reviewed Sony HDD HB which is slower, more expensive and not watertight. (In Australia it's AU$320 which makes it a little less of a value proposition.)

Obviously, most home users without the need for these rugged features, will find the G-Drive EV ATC overkill and rather expensive. A standard portable drive like the WD My Passport Ultra, or Seagate Backup Plus Slim will be a better deal. For more options, check out this list of top drives on the market instead.

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The D-Drive EV ATC has an integreted Thunderbolt cable wrapping around its sides. Dong Ngo

Design

Measuring 6.46 x 4.25 x 1.2 inches (16.41 x 10.80 x 3.05 cm), the G-Tech G-Drive EV ATC is bulky. This is because it has a water-tight, shock/drop-resistant outer shell that keeps the drive on the inside safe from outside environment. The drive has an integrated Thunderbolt cable that's tuck around it side, the kind of convenient design resembling that of the LaCie Rugged All-Terrain drive. This Thunderbolt cable itself comes with a lid to keep its connector safe when not in used.

G-Tech says the ATC can handle drops (on a soft surface, such as a carpet) from up to 6.6 feet (2 meters). I tried that during my testing and the drive indeed was fine after a few drops on the floor. I also tried spraying water to it with a garden hose for some 20 seconds and dropping it in a kitchen sink (the drive floated right up) for a few minutes. When dried up, it worked like normally again. By the way, though big, the ATC is quite light weighing in at just 0.82 pound (0.37 kg).

Note that the drive doesn't have any security features. This means, while it can keep your data safe from mishaps or bad weather, it can't protect your data in case of loss or theft.

Apart from Thunderbolt, you can also use the G-Drive EV ATC with an USB port. In this case, however, you need to open it up and pull out what it houses on the inside, which is the G-Drive EV RAW. The RAW drive is very compact, about the size of a typical portable drive, measuring just 5.14 x 3.29 x 0.65 inches (13.06 x 8.36 x 1.65 cm). It has one standard Micro-USB 3.0 port (the package includes a standard USB cable) and a SATA port. The latter allows it to work with other hosting in G-Tech's EV series, such as the G-Dock EV that came out two years ago. You can take the RAW drive inside the G-Drive EV ATC and put inside the G-Dock.

This kind of two-in-one design makes the G-Drive EV ATC flexible. You can use it as either a rugged, weatherproof Thunderbolt drive, or a rugged, compact USB portable drive.

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On the inside, the G-Drive EV ATC houses a G-Drive EV RAW drive. Dong Ngo/CNET

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