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Review: G-DRIVE Mini [UPDATE]

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The G-Drive Mini has a lot to offer for people who need FW and USB connectivity. There was some confusion about the retail price of this unit. You can get the HDD for $89 and that’s in the league of all the other drives out there. What else can the Mini offer? Click to read my review.

The Mini is very light (9 oz) and has the usual G-Drive case as all other models. The test unit has 2 Firewire 800 and one USB2.0 ports (triple interface). There is also an on/off switch and a 12V DC in. As usual you can find all the USB and FW cables in the box. The drive is formatted for OSX, and Time Machine (?) which is generally a good thing however Windows users will have some trouble setting up the Mini for on first use. Inside the rugged aluminum enclosure is a 5400 rpm drive that can do good speeds over the Firewire ports. As for USB speeds were okay but nothing special really. My early conclusion is that if you want to use this device over USB, look for something else.

What I really liked when testing the SSD version of the same drive a while back was the SSD. No moving parts, no second thoughts when dropping my bag with the drive in it, and great speed. That drive had a retail price of $1300 for the 250GB version. This is all gone with the new Mini. I have a constant fear of killing it because of the HDD – just like with any other portable drives. I believe that this Mini could (should) have an SSD instead. It’s portable, yes, you can move it around and it’s very light. But you can’t just toss it in the backpack because you’ll eventually break it. And then there are cheaper models with a lot more storage that you can break.

Above connectivity, the industrial design can be a selling point of the Mini. It really looks good just about anywhere you place it. I even tried out with the Xbox and installed games on it and it blends well with the TV and all the other stuff in the living room. But then again this is supposed to be a portable drive.

If you need an external HDD and you are a heavy Apple user you will appreciate the Mini. It will look good with all the Apple stuff you have, you can use Firewire and it’s very light to carry around. I would definitely go for the SSD version and possibly save $ on broken drives. USB 3.0 would be a great addition and it would also justify the price. SSD with USB3 and FW ports and we have a deal. Of course for $89 I can recommend this drive to anyone who is in need of a cheap HDD with FW ports. You will get faster transfers than over USB. I would go for the 500 GB model though – it costs $20 more but doubles the storage.

The good:

  • Light (only 9 oz)
  • Industrial design: looks good, blends with everything that’s made by Apple
  • Connectivity: 2 Firewire, 1 USB is all you’ll ever need
  • Price: $89 for the Mini is sensible
  • Silent

The bad:

  • No USB 3.0
  • HDD: not SSD

Specifications:

Ultra portable external storage solution

Storage capacities up to 500GB

Time Machine ready

Mac OS formatted out of the box (Windows compatible)

Two high performance versions:

Combo Interface: (1) FireWire 400, (1) USB 2.0 Port

Triple Interface: (1) FireWire 400, (1) FireWire 800, (1) USB 2.0 Port

FireWire Bus powered – no AC adapter required

Compact size, weighs less than 9 oz

Unique silent cooling technology with high quality all aluminum enclosure

Industrial design complements MacBook Pro and other laptop computers

Standard 3-year factory warranty

MSRP:  $89.99 for 250 GB, $109.99 for 500 GB

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