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G-Tech G-Drive Mobile USB (500GB) review: G-Tech G-Drive Mobile USB (500GB)

G-Tech G-Drive Mobile USB (500GB)

Justin Yu Associate Editor / Reviews - Printers and peripherals
Justin Yu covered headphones and peripherals for CNET.
Justin Yu
4 min read

Apple users tend to gobble up internal hard-drive space quickly with large video files, audio tracks, and snapshot images, and using an external hard drive usually requires them to reformat it for use with a Mac. However, G-Tech relieves users of that extra step and readies its G-Drive Mobile USB hard drive with HFS+ with Journaling for true plug-and-play Applehead use. If you're a die-hard FireWire fan, you'll want to look elsewhere, but casual media hounds can easily hook up the 500GB drive up to their Apple systems using USB 2.0 and be ready to go. Finally, the G-Drive's $140 price tag makes it an excellent value for budget-minded shoppers, and we recommend this device to anyone shopping for an easy way to get more storage space.


G-Tech G-Drive Mobile USB (500GB)

The Good

Generous three-year warranty; modern design; formatted for Mac OS (HFS+ with Journaling); rapid transfer speeds.

The Bad

No FireWire port; competition includes built-in backup software at no extra cost.

The Bottom Line

The G-Tech G-Drive Mobile USB's Mac-friendly formatting and good performance make it a worthwhile storage solution for Apple users who don't need FireWire support.

Design and features
The pearly white coating on the G-Drive Mobile USB ensures a perfect match with the current line of Apple MacBooks. Its glossy exterior reminds us of the original Apple iPod, but everyone can appreciate its sleek, subtle design. However, we noticed a few dings in its paint as a result of normal wear and tear; that doesn't bode well when envisioning how it will look after months of living in a handbag or briefcase.

Aside from the large G logo and a small USB port on the top cover, the rest of the drive is barren. It has six rubberized feet on its bottom to prevent it from falling off a desktop. The G-Drive's size and weight of the drive is average for a 500GB drive.

Drive type 2.5-inch external USB flash hard drive
Connector options USB 2.0
Available capacities 500GB
Capacity of test unit 500GB
Supported operating systems Mac OS, Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7 (formatting required for Windows)
Software included None

Like most of the current external hard drives that pass through our labs, the G-Drive Mobile USB includes a single USB cord that connects to the drive and lets it communicate with a host computer. The drive itself draws power from the USB bus, so there's no need for an external power supply. We're sad to see a lack of FireWire supports on this particular model, but the more costly G-Drive Mobile gives you two FireWire 800 ports as well as a USB 2.0 port for added versatility.

Once a connection between your computer and the G-Drive Mobile is made, you can drag and drop files directly from the Finder onto the drive. The process should be straightforward for techies, but beginners might find themselves wishing for the Lacie Starck Mobile Drive's setup assistant that offers instructions on how to reformat, back up files, and partition the hard drive. The LaCie drive also comes loaded with a copy of the Genie Backup Assistant tool that uses folder-based backups and incremental restoration points to keep your data safe. The G-Drive Mobile USB only offers the drive itself with no extra functionality built in--but keep in mind that the LaCie is more expensive per gigabyte.

Cost per gigabyte
The 500GB G-Drive Mobile USB costs $140, which factors out to 28 cents per gigabyte, coming in 1 cent shy of the Fujitsu HandyDrive. The price disparity isn't as significant as the LaCie Starck Mobile that only nets you 320GB for $100.

Cost per gigabyte

As always, we performed a simple data transfer test and compared the G-Drive Mobile USB with four other external drives in a similar price range. According to our tests, the G-Tech beat all four drives by an impressive margin, beating the first runner up at 30.72MBps to read our 6.63GB test data folder. Still, a simple numbers comparison shows that the differences between the top three are so minor that you won't likely notice the difference unless you're transferring a 10GB or larger file.

Performance tests (in megabytes per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
USB read  
USB write  
G-Tech G-Drive Mobile USB
Hitachi SimpleTough
Fujitsu HandyDrive

Service and support
We always prefer a three-year warranty to ensure the physical integrity of a portable hard drive and we're happy to see that G-Tech backs its G-Drive Mobile USB with a generous three-year warranty. It covers parts and labor with tech support available over the phone, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. The company Web site also offers a list of frequently asked questions, product manuals, and an online community forum to chat with G-Drive Mobile USB users.


G-Tech G-Drive Mobile USB (500GB)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 9Support 9