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The G-Connect is a 500GB network-attached storage device designed to provide wireless access to video, music, photo, and document files for up to five different iOS devices simultaneously. Sounds pretty sweet, right? Well…it ain’t.
Let’s start with the “wireless” part of the G-Connect’s promise. In order to set up the G-Connect, you first have to connect it to your Mac via USB 2.0 so that the drive can be loaded full of multimedia goodness. We’re OK with this: while wireless syncing is no longer the stuff of science fiction, it’s still pretty slow compared to the transfer speeds that can be achieved by even a pokey wired standard like USB 2. Next, in order to use the G-Connect as a multimedia file server for an iOS device, you have to disconnect it from the computer, yank the USB cable out of it, and replace it with a power adapter. Now, with the aid of a free iOS app, you can stream video, music, photos, and documents to your iPhone or iPad. To use the G-Connect as an Internet access point, it must have an Ethernet cable plugged in to it.
How could something so simply designed be so complicated to use?
For those of you keeping count, that’s three wires you’ll have to fiddle with to catch a glimpse of the G-Connect’s full “wireless” potential. The device’s mobility is further stymied by the fact that without a built-in battery, it’s uniquely unqualified for use on a road trip or any other adventure that takes place away from an electrical outlet. That’s a shame, considering it’s when you’re on a flight, commuting, or looking to entertain the kids on a cross-country drive that having additional storage space for videos and music would be a welcomed treat. The G-Connect also disallows Wi-Fi passthrough (the ability to connect to a secondary wireless network while accessing the drive’s content wirelessly), making it impossible to use, for example, the wireless Internet at your favorite coffee shop while browsing the G-Connect’s files.
If you can get past the glaring disappointments served up by the hardware side of things, the G-Connect’s iOS software works pretty well. After several failed attempts to update the device’s firmware, we were able to wirelessly connect the G-Connect with our Mac in order to set up a user account and password for use with the drive. Upon entering the same credentials into the G-Connect app on our iPad, we were able to access protected video files purchased from the iTunes Store, browse photos, and listen to music with no noticeable lag, stuttering, or onscreen artifacts.
The bottom line. Due to the G-Connect’s need for a wired power source, sluggish USB 2.0 connectivity, and its frustrating lack of Wi-Fi passthrough, we can’t recommend it as a portable storage solution to iOS users on the go.
Mac OS 10.5 or later; Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7; Ethernet connection required in order to use the device as a Wi-Fi hotspot
Provides 500GB of storage for music, image, video, and document files that can be wirelessly accessed with an iOS device.
No internal battery. No Wi-Fi passthrough. Unable to wirelessly serve files while connected to a computer. Device setup requires a Mac or PC. Setup was complicated by an out-of-the-box firmware update requirement.