The G-DRIVE SSD Ultra-Rugged and Portable NVMe SSD is SanDisk Professional’s version of a fast rugged SSD for offloading photos and video. It supports transfer speeds up to 1050MB/s read and 1000MB/s write, and can be password-protected with a 256-bit AES-XTS hardware encryption. The drive connects to your computer with a USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB-C port at 10Gbps.
In the box I found a drive that fits the palm of your hand, two 50cm cables — one USB-C and one USB-C to USB-A, and a leaflet with a URL from where you can download the SanDisk Security app. I first tested my 2TB test unit. 2TB is the maximum size and I found its performance to be close to the advertised maximum speed at 911MB/sec read and 853MB/sec write speeds.
With that out of the way, I took a good hard look at the drive’s design. Let me put it this way, just like LaCie’s orange line of portable disks, this drive will not win itself a place in New York’s MoMA, but it isn’t ugly, either. I’d say it’s robust industrial design. There’s a big G on the front bezel, a dark grey rubberised coating on all sides with what look like cooling ribs all across the length of the device, and a bolted on top bezel in what looks like solid aluminium where you will find the USB-C port. At the other end is a small LED that lights up — luckily not too bright — when the drive is in use.
The drive is advertised as ultra-rugged durable because it has IP67 certification, which means it is water proof in up to 1m of liquid for 30 minutes and completely dust resistant. In addition, SanDisk claims it will withstand a crush of up to 900kg/2000lb (you can drive a small car over it without harming it), and has drop resistance up to 3m on a carpeted concrete floor. I drove my 700kg car over it and it didn’t budge, so I’d say it’s sturdy enough.
So far, I found the drive a top performer fitting in nicely with other, top drives on the market. But then there’s the SanDisk security app. It’s a small app that comes with its own uninstaller — which merits a big plus from me — and it’s meant to make encrypting the drive easy as pie.
It succeeds in that mission, although it took a minute before the decrypting service would finish the job on a drive that held no more than 39MB worth of files. The reality, though, is that you don’t need it. One of the macOS services — the stuff you access by selecting a file or folder and right-clicking — is called “Encrypt” and it’s blazingly fast, applying the same AES-XTS 256-bit encryption to the disk.
Yet, I give it a thumbs up because using an app specially developed for this task is easier for those who aren’t used to working with Macs or don’t know how to use the services menu. For those users, the fact that it is slower than the macOS built-in version is insignificant in contrast with the reassurance of having a guide that makes sure they’re not doing anything wrong.
In short, the SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD is a very fast, very robust and secure device not much bigger than the NVMe drive that’s inside. It retails at €411.99. That is some €50 less than other SSD drives in the same category.