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Samsung G2 review: Samsung G2

Samsung G2

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

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.


Samsung G2

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.

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.

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.

The Auto-Backup software is a file-based system, which means you have to specify exactly which files and folders are to be saved--the layout is easy and intuitive to set up, allowing full access to version control, scheduling backups, and file compression. The program also installs a small icon in the Windows Taskbar that shows detailed information about the existing data on the drive. Unfortunately, neither program works with Mac OS.

Cost per gigabyte
The S2 Portable offers an excellent deal across all capacities, and we calculate the 500GB model to cost just $0.18 per gigabyte--enough to push the a
LaCie Rikiki and even the S2 out of the first-place position. At just $89 for the 500GB model, the G2 still offers plenty of storage for gigabyte gobblers on a budget.

As always, we performed a simple data transfer test and compared the Samsung G2 Portable to four other external drives in a similar price range. According to our stopwatch, the G2 Portable transferred the folder at 28.46 megabytes per second (MB/s) and wrote it back at 25.01 MB/s, earning a top spot on write speed and coming in a close second behind the
Seagate FreeAgent Goflex to read our 6.61GB media folder. Still, the differences between the top scorers are so minor that you won't tell the difference unless you're transferring a 10-plus GB file.

Speed test
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
USB Read (MB/s)  
USB Write (MB/s)  
Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex
Samsung S2 Portable
Samsung G2 Portable
LaCie Rikiki

Service and support
Samsung protects the G2 Portable with a generous three-year warranty that protects against manufacturer's defects. If your problem is confirmed, Samsung will ask you to send it back for a full diagnostic test and ship you a replacement unit at the same time. For general troubleshooting issues, Samsung provides a comprehensive list of FAQs, a glossary, a user guide, and even a self-diagnostic chart to check your drive for common errors before contacting the RMA service. The company also provides an e-mail form that puts you in direct contact with a Samsung technician.


Samsung G2

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 8