Review: Fantom Drives G-Force 3.1 USB-C SSD great for on-the-go video editing

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 28
Fantom Drives has long been purveyors of external drives, almost always encased in a durable metal body. Their new 1TB G-Force 3.1 drive carries on that tradition with the addition of USB-C.




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Like the rest of the Fantom Drives lineup, the 1TB G-Force 3.1 we tested is wrapped in aluminum. We are generally fans of aluminum external frames, but Fantom Drive's can come off a bit utilitarian. They look like an extruded metal tube with the internals secured inside, versus a more detailed exterior that has a bit more work put into it.

Aside from looking sleek, that aluminum body also doubles as a heatsink, preventing the SSD from overheating without the necessity for a fan. On one of the plastic ends there is a series of vents for air to escape and the other houses and offset USB-C 3.1 gen 2 port and a bright blue LED.

If it were up to us, the LED would be a bit more subtle and less piercing, but that is largely a matter of preference.

That metal frame also offers quite a bit of protection for the delicate internals. This can even be seen in this short video Fantom Drives shared putting the G-Force 3.1 through the ringer.



Speeds and performance

Internally, is an SSD ranging from 240GB to 2TB, that the company claims has speeds up to 560MB/s across the board regardless of capacity. Of course, we put the 1TB model on our test bench ourselves to see what it gets in actuality.

G-Force 3.1 Blackmagic Disk Speed Test results


Between using it to edit some videos on the go and the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, we got some pretty good speeds. Real world results were a bit below the advertised, usually averaging around the 468MB/s write speed we saw in Blackmagic, which isn't uncommmon.

Read results were better, hitting around 518MB/s.

In the real world

What does that mean in actual file transfers speed? We were able to move a 3.75GB file in just under eight seconds. Definitely fast enough for on-the-go editing.

In the box, Fantom Drives includes both a USB-C to USB-C and a USB-C to USB-A cable, which is helpful for keeping the future in mind but still supporting legacy devices that still use the Type-A connector.




We do wish that they included some sort of carrying pouch, one that would help protect our other gear from the slightly sharper edges of the metal. Metal on metal never seems like a good idea, so we do make an effort to keep it separate from other delicates in our gear bag.

Editors note: After publication, Fantom Drives agreed a bag should be included. It has been shipped to those who have already purchased and will be included in all new purchases.

Other than that, if you're in the market for an external SSD, the Fantom Drives G-Force 3.1 is fast, rugged, durable, and adaptable for any situation.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Fantom Drives is fairly priced, coming in at a similar price point to many other drives on the market. The 240GB model starts just below $90 on Amazon.

Exclusively for AppleInsider readers, we have discount codes for purchasing directly from Fantom Drives store. Use code Ai480 for $10 off the 480GB SSD, code Ai1000 for $20 off the 1TB SSD, and code Ai2000 for $40 off the 2TB SSD.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    nunzynunzy Posts: 660member
    I like attaching drives and expansion cards with external cables. That way, you don't even need a screwdriver.
  • Reply 2 of 10
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,521member
    Do these external USB-C SSD backup drives store data encrypted so if you loose or someone steal than he/she can not access your data on such drive without attaching your Macbook/Pro which also supposedly secured with your password and finger print ? My concern is how do you secure data on such drive unless data is stored encrypted.
  • Reply 3 of 10
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,224administrator
    wood1208 said:
    Do these external USB-C SSD backup drives store data encrypted so if you loose or someone steal than he/she can not access your data on such drive without attaching your Macbook/Pro which also supposedly secured with your password and finger print ? My concern is how do you secure data on such drive unless data is stored encrypted.
    This drive does not automatically do so. However, you can encrypt an external drive when you format it in Disk Utility.

    https://support.apple.com/guide/disk-utility/encrypt-and-protect-a-disk-with-a-password-dskutl35612/mac
    fotoformatfastasleep
  • Reply 4 of 10
    Seems good, there need to be more of these SSD portable drives outdoor, and that fits the plate. They are still a little on the expensive side, but that’s to be expected given it is SSD. Here’s to hoping the 2 TB drop to under $200 in the next couple of years.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 10
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,198member
    It's nice to see more and more USBc devices coming out.

    It would really be nice if this unit was a TB3/USBc interface and fall back to USBc for non TB3 ports.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 10
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,224administrator
    sflocal said:
    It's nice to see more and more USBc devices coming out.

    It would really be nice if this unit was a TB3/USBc interface and fall back to USBc for non TB3 ports.  
    I suspect the TB3 Titan Ridge/USB 3.2 failover drives will start to appear in the late fall.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 10
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,607member
    Seems good, there need to be more of these SSD portable drives outdoor, and that fits the plate. They are still a little on the expensive side, but that’s to be expected given it is SSD. Here’s to hoping the 2 TB drop to under $200 in the next couple of years.
    I’d also love to see more of these. I’ve been using the SanDisk Extreme Portable and at $127 for 500 GB on Amazon it’s a decent price. 

    edited August 24 watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 10
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 1,728member
    sflocal said:
    It's nice to see more and more USBc devices coming out.

    It would really be nice if this unit was a TB3/USBc interface and fall back to USBc for non TB3 ports.  
    Why? With USB 3.1 gen 2 at 10Gbps, the bottleneck then is the SATA III 6Gbps interface inside the box, which it looks like it's maxing out. Thunderbolt 3 would offer no performance improvement as it literally cannot go any faster while only raising the price. Go look at some of the TB3 drives using NVMe sticks (and their price tags) if you need better performance.

    I am making a couple assumptions here though, that it actually is a 2.5" drive attached to a SATA III interface — basically due to the shape/size and speed which would match up. I can't find anything that says otherwise.
    edited August 24 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 10
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,137member
    sflocal said:
    It's nice to see more and more USBc devices coming out.

    It would really be nice if this unit was a TB3/USBc interface and fall back to USBc for non TB3 ports.  
    I'm not interested in paying an additional $100 for that feature.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    My experience with Fantom drives is that only the case is solid and nice. I dumped that brand and G-Force long time ago as they used to go bad after not longer than six months. It is a shame to lose data. Maybe SSD version is better, but Isimply cannot trust the company anymore. You can put there whatever you want but Seagate, Samsung and Synology do far better job in storage department regardless of interface.
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