Review and Field Test of G-Technology G-Drive ev ATC Portable Hard Drives

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As photographers, keeping our data safe is of the utmost importance. Being able to trust your hard drives to work and survive all types of conditions and hardships is something to consider. As a wildlife photographer, I often find myself out in the elements, and when traveling, my gear has to put up with the rugged nature of travel, while still being ready to work when called upon. Recently I have been putting the G-Technology G-Drive ev ATC hard drives through their paces and I think these might just be one of the best rugged and solid ways to keep data safe on the move.

Review G Technology G Drive ev ATC Portable Hard Drive

G-Drive ev ATC hard drive features

The ATC is part of the G-technology ev series, a set of drives offering a simple workflow from the field to the studio. The ATC builds upon the standard RaW and ev drives by adding a polycarbonate protective shell to the main drive offering protection from bumps, dust, sand and even full submergence in water to keep your drive and data safe.

The case itself is solid – the simple blue and black design that is stylish and bright enough to easily find in dark conditions. The polycarbonate shell feels very solid in the hand and fits the drive like a glove. It seals closed with a latch system that might seem flimsy, but offers a solid click and seal to ensure the drive is closed off from the elements.

G-Drive ev ATC hard drives - The G drive inside the ATC case

G-Drive ev ATC hard drives Locking mechanism for waterproof closure

The G-Drive ev ATC comes in two varieties, offering Thunderbolt or USB-3 connections for your chosen device. The cords are built into the case itself so you don’t need to worry about forgetting them, a really well thought out design. Of course, the case adds an extra amount of bulk to the setup that might be a problem for those photographers wanting to keep things as small as possible, but personally, I think the extra size is a worthy trade off for the added protection.

Testing the drives during travel

Testing the drives out, they have accompanied me on a few international trips, coming as my primary and backup drives for work in the Falklands, Canada, and Finland. On each trip I have worked with two drives, keeping one as a primary and the other as secondary backup. The fast data transfer speeds were great, 1GB of data transferred in less than a minute over USB-3 meaning backups were swift and simple.

On returning flights keeping data separate is important (in case of a lost bag) and I had no worries about packing one of these with the G-Drive ev ATC hard drives into my checked baggage, knowing the solid construction would keep it protected from any rough handling from the dreaded baggage handlers! On all of my trips, the hold drive never skipped a beat, being ready to upload as soon as I got home to my office.

G-Drive ev ATC hard drives Using the internal drive with the EV docking station

The drive easily pops out and can be inserted into the G-Dock for easy file transfer back home.

In the office the workflow is simple. Popping the drives out of the housing I can easily slot them into the Ev docking station (called G-Dock) that gives me Thunderbolt speeds to upload images directly to my main drives for editing, backup and archiving. The ease of being able to just slot in one drive saves faffing around with multiple SD and CF cards again, keeping my workflow streamlined.

Extreme testing

To further test the drives I wanted to put them through the mill so I decided to rough them up with some real world testing. Grabbing one of the drives in the ATC case I took it out onto location and basically treated it like I didn’t care it was full of precious data. Dropping it onto the ground, into muddy puddles and even throwing it into my local river before rescuing it again down stream.

G-Drive ev ATC hard drives Tested in the dirt and mud without a hitch

Each test was passed with flying colors and even after fully submerging the drive underwater with my hand for a minute, it was in perfect working order. Of course, one problem with the drive is that you do need to check that everything is latched down. Human error, not fully closing the latch or getting something stuck into the gasket could compromise the waterproofing and seal, so it’s best to always be careful. I mean I doubt too many of us regularly throw our drives in a river intentionally…

G-Drive ev ATC hard drives Underwater isnt a problem for the ATC

As a drive, they are built solidly, but one area that I feel would be a great improvement is the use of SSDs rather than normal disk drives. Including an SSD would just add another level to the rugged nature of the drives making them even more durable for life on the road, while also giving faster transfer speeds. This would be especially useful for those editing and working with video files on the move as well.

As a photographer, G-Drive ev ATC hard drives suit my needs very well. The large 1TB hard drive easily has enough storage for a long photo shoot on location and with the protective shell offering great durability to my drives I am sure they will be part of my workflow for many years to come.

Read more from our Cameras & Equipment category

Tom Mason is a professional nature photographer and content creator from the UK. Passionate about the natural world, he aims to document and share stories from the wild. A professional lecturer Tom loves engaging and enthusing others about wildlife photography and helping them to achieve their own goals. Check out his website here.

  • aszopory

    Hi mate can you just clarify does this allow you to transfer from a sd or cf card to this hd without a pc on location ?

  • jatinahujamail

    Their drives are fast (at least the ones I buy), are built like tanks,
    and I’ve never had one fail (I’ve lost count but I know I have at least
    40 of them that I use for work). http://www.studiolighting.photography This drive is a bit different in that
    it is actually a drive INSIDE a protective case. The drive itself
    slides into the case to make a connection. The drive itself also has a
    USB3 connection built into it, so you can use it with or without the
    protective case. The CASE is prewired with a permanently connected
    Thunderbolt cable that clips around the parameter of the case. This is
    really the only part of the design that worries me; what happens if the
    cable fails over time from use? I guess I’ll just buy a new case if
    that happens. BTW, additional compatible G-Tech drives are easily
    purchased and can be swapped out from the protective case or simply used
    as stand alone drives (the drive itself has a USB3 connection; whereas
    the case offers a Thunderbolt cable – so you get the connectivity of
    both). I have not run speed tests on this drive but at 7200rpm I have
    to believe it should perform equally well as my other G-Tech drives.
    There are certainly cheaper drives on the market but, frankly, I won’t
    trust my work and my data to a “bargain” drive. The advantage of this
    design over other manufacturers shock-protected drives is that you don’t
    HAVE to use the somewhat bulky protective case all the time – just
    unlatch and slide the drive out and use it as a typical stand alone
    drive.

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  • Wow! This is an amazing product! Thank you so much for creating this article. Aloha and Mahalo, Anthony Calleja Photography https://www.anthonycalleja.com

  • Tom Mason

    Yes they certainly are awesome drives! Love the fact you can switch in and out different internal drives. The cable as you say is probably the weakest area but in testing it has put up with a lot of abuse! Spare cases are also available but I don’t think I’ll be needing one any times soon!

  • Tom Mason

    Sadly it doesn’t link directly to an SD Card without a PC. The WD drives do that however not this one. Cheers, Tom

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