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Samsung G2 review: Samsung G2

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The Good Inexpensive, low power consumption; small footprint; bedazzled case design; three-year warranty.

The Bad Included backup and password protection software doesn't support Mac OS.

The Bottom Line With its embossed cover and rainbow of colorful designs, the Samsung G2 Portable hard drive is a consumer-focused external hard drive that offers the most basic plug-and-play storage functionality. You don't get many extras, but impressive benchmark scores, a competitive cost-per-gigabyte, and a generous three-year warranty demonstrate its core competency and earn this drive our CNET recommendation.

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8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8

The G2 Portable, along with the recently reviewed S2, is the latest series to enter Samsung's family of 2.5-inch external hard drives. Samsung offers both the G2 and S2 drives in capacities up to 640GB, but only the G2 carries the EcoTriangle label to indicate low power consumption and minimal noise emission. The 500GB black version ($89) Samsung sent us for testing blasted through our throughput tests with high marks in both read and write scores, while fashionistas and designers alike will appreciate its glittered chassis. Coupled with an affordable cost per gigabyte, the Samsung G2 Portable hard drive earns our recommendation for anyone in need of a basic external hard drive.

Design and features
The G2 is slightly thinner than the S2 Portable at 3 inches wide, 4 inches long, and less than an inch thick, although both fit easily into a jacket pocket. The weight of the device varies slightly according to capacity, but most travelers won't have a problem with its size, especially if the drive winds up in a carry-on bag or a laptop case in transit.

Drive type 2.5-inch External USB Flash Hard Drive
Connector options USB 2.0
Size (LWH) 4.4 by 3.11 by 0.6 inches
Weight 0.32 pounds (500GB)
Available capacities 250GB, 320GB, 500GB, 640GB
Capacity of test unit 500GB
OSes supported Microsoft Windows (2000, XP, Vista, 7), Mac OS 10.4.8 and later
Software included SecretZone and Auto Backup

The G2 Portable is available in four bright colors (cobalt black, silver white, olive green, and cobalt blue) that are not only visually pleasing but also help to distinguish your drive from the sea of external storage solutions floating around the office.

While the glossy finish on the S2 exudes a corporate aesthetic, the front of the G2 Portable might appeal more to the creative professionals; the top is embellished with a beaded glitter pattern that adds a rough texture that actually protects the case from the inevitable scratches that occur from frequent travel.

The S2 Portable is self-powered, so the only USB 2.0 cord you need is included in the box, and a soft blue LED glows on top of the device to signal when it's transferring data.

Samsung provides two supplementary programs (for Windows only) bundled onto the drive: Samsung Secret Zone and Auto Backup software. The former is a simple imaging program that acts as a digital lockbox for your passwords and other private data. The executable file comes already loaded onto the stock drive (no physical installation disc), and installation is as easy as choosing a password and specifying exactly how much space on the disk to dedicate to the new image.

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