I've been trying out the G-Tech G Drive slim portable hard drive for a few days and I'm quite impressed with it. The unit I tried was the 320 GB version, and in my "everyday user" tests, the drive performed remarkably well.
The first thing you notice about the G Drive is that it looks like it was designed by Apple. As usual, that's a very good thing. And as a matter of fact, the G Drive website says that the external hard drive was made to mimic the look and feel of the MacBook Air. Perhaps it's the design of the G Drive that made Apple give this external their unofficial blessing. In a retail setting it's sold exclusively at Apple Stores and can usually be found hooked up to one of the MacBook Pros on display.
The G Drive slim is made of a lightweight compact aluminum enclosure with a black rubber trim around the edges and features a single USB 2.0 port. The size of the enclosure is roughly 5"x3.2" and only 9.9mm thick. Best of all, it weighs only 0.33 pounds, so throwing it into your backpack, laptop case, or even a jacket pocket hardly adds any noticeable weight to your baggage.
Inside the G Drive slim you'll find a 2.5" 5400RPM Hitachi hard drive. Since the G Drive slim uses a USB interface, you've got a theoretical data transfer rate of 480 MB/s. But as to be expected, real-world usage is always slower. Still, transferring a 1 GB folder full of photos from my Mac to the drive took only about 38 seconds. That's not too bad for a consumer drive where design is clearly the most important element.
Out of the box the G Drive slim is Mac-ready. It ships formatted for any Mac running OS X 10.5 of later. The drive is also Time Machine-compatible right out of the box. Also, for those of you with a Mac and PC household, though the drive is Mac-inspired and ready, you can still use it with any PC running Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7.
Nowadays a 320 GB USB drive doesn't sound like much, especially one that costs US$99. However, the target audience for this drive isn't one who wants to back up dozens and dozens of HD video files or use the drive as a scratch disk for video editing. It's for those people who want a quick, stylish, and easy way to store and transfer their photos, documents, and music. And most of the people in that group (including me) care more about design and portability than having the latest and greatest Thunderbolt devices.
The 320 GB G Drive slim is available for US$99 at Apple retail stores, Apple Online, and on Amazon.com.