G-Technology G-DRIVE ev RAW review: hardy storage

Do you enjoy blogging while boating across the Nile, hiking up Kilimanjaro or perhaps while vehemently guarding your power point at the next overcrowded tech conference? Because if you answered yes to any one of those, you probably need a storage solution that can keep up with your busy life style. Hell, even if you don’t do any of these things you probably do.

Only the hard drive gods know how many of my drives have been destroyed at gravity’s hand. Luckily, G-Technology has been watching people like you for years, and subsequently launched a new bevy of hardy drives for your extreme needs.

G Drive ev RAW 5

While Graham had a go with the more extreme G-DRIVE ev ATC (a review of that will arrive shortly), I had a go with the G-DRIVE ev RAW, the entry level option in G-Technology’s G-DRIVE arsenal.

The ev RAW might be on the lowest rung of G-Technology’s offerings, but it’s “designed to go with you everywhere”, according to the marketing material. This also means the living room, where knocking drives off coffee tables has become one of the house cat’s signature traits. If you happen to have a fluffy feline, and a carpeted floor, the ev RAW can survive drops of up to 2m thanks to a rubber bumper that snugly fits around the drive. Without it, that height is reduced to around 1.2m.

Still, that’s a pretty tall coffee table.

G Drive ev RAW 1

While aesthetic probably won’t be a decisive buying factor for those looking to buy a resilient hard drive, the ev RAW isn’t ugly. The drive shell is crafted of hard plastic, while the rubber bumper is of a ribbed design, with about a 5 or so mm thickness. It’s more than enough to save the drive from damage, but won’t make it feel unwieldy in a briefcase.

The connections are also worth a mention as well. You get USB 3.0, an eSATA connector for those who still happen to use it, and some (for a bit more cash) feature Thunderbolt connectors, which photographers and videographers will appreciate.

G Drive ev RAW 6

Talking speeds for a moment, the ev RAW isn’t sluggish by any means, topping out at around 20MB/s on USB 2.0, and coming very close to it’s quoted 136MB/s on USB 3.0, depending on the size of the file you’re copying. This effectively means transferring a movie from the drive to another PC takes a minute or two.

But like I said before, these are nice extras. What’s important is the ev RAW’s relationship with gravity and hard surfaces. In my drop test (on a carpeted wooden floor, at around 1.4m), the drive didn’t suffer any damage. All files read post drop and with the rubber sheath around it, I doubt it even felt it.

Numbers you should know

Overall size: 131mm x 84mm x 17mm
Drive form factor: 2.5-inch
Storage capacity: 1TB or 500GB (optional variant)
Spin speed: 7200RPM
Quoted transfer rate: 136MB/s
Connections: USB 3.0, Thunderbolt (optional variant), eSATA for G-Dock ev DISK
Price: 1TB: US$130 (R2522), 500GB: US$100

G Drive ev RAW 8

Also, while picking it up to drop it again, the weight of this drive is noticeable — 1TB of drive is usually fairly hefty, but the ev RAW is about as light as a coffee mug. It’s a big bonus for those who do travel a lot.

And that leads to the defining questions: why should I buy this?

Well, there’s a number of reasons to buy a hardier, more drop resistant drive, especially for those who travel a lot — on conventional transport or not. It’s perfect for photographers who can’t afford portable SSDs and those looking for enough capacity for a full 4K b-roll and a bit. And while that rubber bumper does save it from bumps, if you need more protection, the company’s ev ATC case can also ferry it around, thanks to the interchangeability of the design.

Overall, at around R2299, it’s not cheap for the usual R900 or so average 1TB drive, but you do pay for the peace of mind when Mittens gets a bit bored.

Verdict: Attractive, supremely light and honest to its marketing material, the G-DRIVE ev RAW is a well-rounded offering with the only real problem being the price-to-capacity ratio. But keeping in mind that it’s a specialist drive for a niche audience and you’ll have to admit that it’s one of the better buys out there right now.

Score: 9/10

Andy Walker, former editor


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