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G-Technology G-Connect review: G-Technology G-Connect

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The Good The G-Technology G-Connect works as a portable drive or a NAS server with a built-in wireless router that supports five iOS devices for media streaming via a mobile app.

The Bad The G-Connect is confusing to use and is so far behind its competition in terms of features.

The Bottom Line The G-Technology G-Connect is a try-hard portable/wireless storage device that doesn't achieve much in the end.

5.1 Overall
  • Setup 5
  • Features 4
  • Performance 6
  • Support 7

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.

Whenfirst 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.

The G-Connect iPad app is easy to use and allows for streaming content from the G-Connect's built-in 500GB of storage space.
The G-Connect iPad app is easy to use and allows for streaming content from the G-Connect's built-in 500GB of storage space. Dong Ngo/CNET

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.

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