First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Hitachi G-Drive Mini external hard drive
A fast, portable external HDD with FireWire and USB 2.0
Hitachi’s G-Drive Mini is aimed at Mac users: its styling takes some cues from the unibody MacBook Pro, and its complement of FireWire 800 alongside USB 2.0 ports suits long-time Mac aficionados. It’ll still work on a Windows computer, of course, and its 7200RPM internal drive speed means it’s able to offer good transfer speeds (although USB 2.0 isn’t fast enough to show it off).
- Fast transfer speeds for an external drive
- Plenty of connection options
- High price at RRP
- Bulky enclosure
Hitachi's G-Drive Mini is aimed at users who need a portable drive but don't want to sacrifice performance. Inside is a reasonably speedy 7200RPM 500GB drive: not as quick as an SSD, but faster than the majority of external drives on the market. If your laptop has FireWire 800 the G-Drive Mini is a great external drive, but using USB 2.0 doesn't reveal its full performance.
Price$ 169.95 (AUD)
Hitachi G-Drive Mini: Design and features
The G-Drive Mini looks different to the G-Drive Slim, which was designed to be as thin as possible (as you’d expect). The aluminium finish is the same, but the Mini has a swiss-cheese perforated shell and a finned heatsink on the base, looking like a smaller version of the full-size G-Drive. The enclosure is relatively tall and slightly bulky for a 2.5in laptop enclosure.
Around the back of the drive, you’ll find a pair of FireWire 800 ports — one for connecting to your laptop or PC, and another to daisy-chain another FireWire device if needed. There’s also a mini USB 2.0 connector as a backup. A 12V power supply port is built into the back along with a power switch, but bafflingly no power supply is included. We can understand including a connector for external power for any situation where a laptop’s USB port isn’t able to supply enough power, but you’ll need to purchase a power supply separately. We do appreciate the inclusion of a power switch.
Hitachi G-Drive Mini: Performance and specifications
The hard drive inside the Hitachi G-Drive Mini is a 7200RPM SATA-II model with a 16MB cache — it’s the Travelstar 7K500. When it was originally released it was a high-performance drive amongst 2.5in models, but it has been around since mid-2010 and we’d be certain of better performance from a drive like the Seagate Momentus XT, if only it were available in an external configuration.
The Hitachi G-Drive Mini is more than fast enough to hit the maximum throughput of USB 2.0, maintaining an average read rate of 33.2MB/sec in our testing. Writing was marginally slower at 29.0MB/sec. Read access time was an unexciting 17.3ms. FireWire 800 produced better results with read speeds of 69.7MB/sec and write speeds of 55.3MB/sec. This is not as fast as an eSATA drive might produce, but most eSATA ports are not powered and therefore aren’t practical for portable use.
We’ll update this review with a graph of our results over FireWire 800 soon.
We think the Hitachi G-Drive Mini gives good performance over FireWire 800, and the best performance that can be expected over USB 2.0. It would make a good portable scratch disk for bandwidth-heavy programs like Adobe Photoshop or Premiere.
Hitachi G-Drive Mini: Conclusion
Hitachi’s G-Drive Mini may come in a slightly bulky enclosure, but its performance over FireWire 800 is enough to put it significantly ahead of any USB 2.0 drive. Newer laptops would be better served with a powered eSATA or USB 3.0 external drive, but older and newer Mac laptops (and desktops) could make good use of the G-Drive Mini.
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GGG Evaluation Team
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
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