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G-Technology G-Drive Slim review review: A hard drive with MacBook Air written all over it

Thanks to its compact, sturdy design and fast performance, the G-Tech G-Drive Slim makes a great addition to a MacBook Air's limited storage.

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Dong Ngo
Dong_Ngo.jpg

Dong Ngo

SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

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4 min read

G-Technology's G-Drive Slim is the latest in a trend of ultrathin USB 3.0-based portable external hard drives on the market, directly competing with Seagate's GoFlex Slim and WD's My Passport Edge.

G-Technology G-Drive Slim (500GB, USB 3.0)
7.7

G-Technology G-Drive Slim review

The Good

The <b>G-Technology G-Drive Slim</b> offers fast performance and a nice design for a relatively friendly price.

The Bad

The G-Drive Slim could be a little more compact, and it doesn't come with any bundled software.

The Bottom Line

Those with a notebook computer, especially a MacBook Air, will find the G-Drive Slim a very good companion.

And the new G-Drive is indeed very slim, almost as thin as the GoFlex, but it's clearly wider and longer than the My Passport Edge. Still, it definitely belongs to the small group of compact portable drives currently on the market. The new drive supports USB 3.0 and showed very good performance in my testing. That, plus its sturdy build and the affordable price of around $90 for 500GB, makes it an excellent buy for mobile users, especially MacBook Air owners.

But you can use the G-Drive Slim with any computer, including Windows machines, as long as you know how to reformat it. If you want a drive to use with Windows right out of the box, I'd recommend the GoFlex Slim or the My Passport Edge.

Drive type 2.5-inch external USB hard drive
Connector options USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Available capacities 500GB
Capacity of test unit 500GB
Dimensions (LWH) 5.06 inches by 3.23 inches by 0.39 inch
Weight 0.33 pound
OSes supported Windows 2000 or later (reformatting required), Mac OS 10.4 or later
Software included None

Design and features
The G-Drive certainly is slim, at 0.39 inch, and it looks thinner than it actually is. The G-Drive's aluminum chassis looks good, and matches the design of the MacBook Air.

On one side, the G-Drive Slim has one Micro-USB 3.0 port. This port works both for data and power. All you need is a standard Micro-USB 3.0 cable (a foot-long cable is included) to make the drive work. Being bus-powered is now a standard feature on USB portable drives. The G-Drive supports USB 3.0 but also works with USB 2.0. I tried it with many ports on many different computers, and all of them were able to power the drive and get it connected to the host computer.

Though thinner, the G-Drive Slim is clearly longer and wider than the My Passport Edge.
Though thinner, the G-Drive Slim is clearly longer and wider than the My Passport Edge. Dong Ngo/CNET

The G-Drive Slim is designed for Mac and is preformatted in the HFS+ file system. Once plugged into a Mac running OS 10.4 or later, the drive works immediately, and it supports Time Machine. In my trials, it worked with Windows computers, too, though as I mentioned, I needed to reformat it into NTFS, which took a few seconds. Otherwise, plugging it in is the only thing you need to do in terms of setting it up.

The new drive doesn't come with any software. This is mostly because you can just use it with Time Machine for backup purposes. Windows users will have to get third-party software for that.

Performance
The G-Drive Slim performed very well as a USB 3.0 portable drive. It's not the fastest I've seen, but it was faster than drives of a similar physical size in many of the tests.

I tested the drive with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. When used with USB 3.0, the drive offered 87MBps and 100MBps for writing and reading, respectively. For these two tests, the My Passport Edge registered 83MBps and 98MBps, and the GoFlex Slim averaged 82MBps and 102MBps. Overall, the G-Drive Slim outdid its rivals in most of the tests, by small margins.

When used with USB 2.0, the drive scored 26MBps for writing and 33MBps for reading, slightly below the average. The G-Drive Slim worked very quietly in my testing and produced no vibration and almost no heat at all.

CNET Labs external hard drive USB 3.0 performance (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  

IoSafe Solo G3
110.98 
109.1 

Seagate Backup Plus
110.1 
90.9 

Lexar JumpDrive Triton
112.19 
90.8 

Silicon Power Armor A80
102.7 
87.8 

LaCie Minimus USB 3.0
104.9 
87.7 

Clickfree C6
103.4 
87.7 

LaCie FastKey
115.5 
87.1 

G-Drive Slim
100.3 
86.7 

Hitachi Touro Mobile Pro
103.5 
86.2 

WD My Passport Edge
97.68 
82.6 

Seagate GoFlex Slim
101.9 
82.4 

HP Portable Hard Drive
83.65 
69.4 

LaCie RuggedKey
116.82 
41.7 

CNET Labs USB 2.0 external hard drive performance (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  

G-Technology G-Connect
31.3 
30.9 

LaCie FastKey
36.6 
28.8 

Lexar JumpDrive Triton
33.13 
28.8 

Seagate Backup Plus
33 
28.74 

LaCie Minimus USB 3.0
36.5 
28.7 

Clickfree C6
33.1 
28.7 

Seagate GoFlex Slim
37.3 
27.7 

LaCie Rugged Key
35.22 
26.6 

G-Drive Slim
32.74 
25.6 

WD My Passport Edge
32.69 
25.1 

Conclusion
Sturdy, compact, fast, and nice-looking, the new G-Drive Slim USB 3.0 portable drive makes a great companion for mobile users, especially those with a MacBook Air.

G-Technology G-Drive Slim (500GB, USB 3.0)
7.7

G-Technology G-Drive Slim review

Score Breakdown

Setup 8Features 7Performance 8Support 8
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