The age of portable disk drives may be leaving us forever with cloud storage and cloud computing becoming so prevalent, but I don’t think it’ll ever fully dissipate unless we give up physical storage as a medium altogether. And if that ever happens, well, then we should all start worrying. Until that day, I recommend sticking with the fastest and slimmest devices available.
The G-Drive Slim from Hitachi provides one of the two as the name suggests. At just 10mm thick, the G-Drive Slim is only barely larger than most of today’s smartphones. It’s just a tad thicker than the Samsung Galaxy Note, the same width, and shorter by half an inch. That is to say, you can slip it in and out of a pocket comfortably. It also has a rugged aluminum top and bottom shell and a rubber band around the edges, so while I don’t recommend tossing it around, it can take a beating.
As far as thin drives go, the G-Drive Slim is extremely thin, but perhaps not what today’s want or desire. It runs on USB 2.0, which lacks the speed that most of us want from an external hard drive these days. Furthermore, competitors like Western Digital offer similarly-sized drives that are the same price yet are USB 3.0 ready. If you’re heavy on large file transfers, the G-Drive Slim isn’t the drive for you. It may be better protected and better insulated than most slim drives, but it’s slow. I’ve transferred a handful of large files and file batches, anywhere from several hundred MB to 100GB, and it’s not pretty.
While the G-Drive Mobile is compatible with both Firewire 800 and USB 2.0, the Slim is really stuck between an ancient rock and an even older hard place. It relies on technologies that are still widely used, but that no reasonable consumer has any reason to get. The G-Drive Slim looks great and hip, and it totally works with the Apple products it’s intended for, but this product comes at a technological transition. At least the G-Drive Mobile works pretty fast over Firewire and can utilize USB 2.0 as a backup; the Slim has no such convenience. The best users get is a slick-looking portable drive. If that’s important to you, then look no further. But as it stands today, there is no other reason to put down $80 on this drive when for the exact same price you can buy a USB 3.0 portable drive that’s just as thin. It won’t look as good, and it won’t match your MacBook as well, but that’s a small price to pay. And if you’re thinking of getting a drive that looks good beside your MacBook Air but doesn’t cost $400+ because it uses Thunderbolt, then the Slim is a decent model. But rumor is that Apple will start using USB 3.0 in the next generation of MacBook Pros and Airs, which may come as soon as this summer. So your victory will be short lived.
Bottom Line: A decent hard drive that’s outdated because it only uses USB 2.0, but is very good looking Pros:
- Looks great and is perfectly sized
- Outdated; doesn’t support USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt
- Expensive for the type of drive it is. 500GB model should be half it’s current $80 price