Tackle All Terrain with the ArmorATD Rugged Hard Drive by G-Technology

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Keeping your data and files safe is arguably one of the most important things you can do. Photographers on the move should take special care to protect their files, because one accident can mean the loss of invaluable images and video. This is why I greatly appreciate the explosion in “rugged” hard drives that are perfect for travel, no matter where that travel takes you. The latest drive to find its way to B&H is the ArmorATD hard drive from G-Technology, which is available in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB options.

G-Technology ArmorATD USB 3.1 Gen 1 External Hard Drive
G-Technology ArmorATD USB 3.1 Gen 1 External Hard Drive

Looking and Playing the Part

Just by looking at it, you know the ArmorATD can take a beating. The rubber bumper and slick blue aluminum enclosure will put up with many of your everyday bumps and even a couple of more serious drops. Official ratings score this drive as able to withstand the shock of a 3.9' drop to a carpeted concrete floor (this refers to the 1TB and 2TB models, the 4TB is rated to up to 3.3'). It feels good in the hand and is fairly lightweight, as well. One thing I loved was the feeling of closing up the rubber bumper. There is a small flap that protects the USB Type-C port (USB 3.1 Gen 1) and this feels very secure, enough that I don’t think a few stray water droplets or dust particles would enjoy easy access to the insides.

So, it looks good, it feels good, and its ratings are good. What else can it stand up to? There is rain and dust resistance, something I completely believe based on how it feels, though it’s not something I feel comfortable testing myself—it’s more of a just-in-case thing. Also, it offers crush resistance of up to 1,000 lb. That’s pretty good—and you could probably run it over with a car and be just fine. I tossed it around to see how it would fare, and you can’t even tell anything happened to it. I wouldn’t make a habit of it, but having it jostling around in a backpack as you trek in the great outdoors will be a breeze for the ArmorATD.

Putting Data Through It

G-Technology has long been a reliable brand in storage and the ArmorATD is no exception. It’s also very easy to use on either Windows or Mac, since it comes pre-formatted as ExFAT. After I plugged it into my MacBook Pro, I even got the Time Machine messaging, a great sign that it will work just fine with macOS. Specs put the HDD inside at up to 140 MB/s, and running my basic speed test corroborated that. I was seeing very, very consistent speeds of ~125 MB/s. This is what I would expect from a drive of this type. It’s certainly no SSD, but considering the relative affordability of these capacities, it’s hard to compare the two drive types anyway.

Another move I’m glad is securely taking hold is a migration to USB Type-C. It took a few years, but we are finally at the point where everything comes with it as standard, and that is great. Here, it is a simple USB 3.1 Gen 1 connection with a theoretical limit of 5 Gb/s, which greatly exceeds the maximum speeds of the HDD being used. This means you shouldn’t be concerned that it isn’t boasting the latest and greatest USB standards or Thunderbolt™ 3. You don’t need it and won’t receive any benefit. It does come with a nice USB Type-A adapter if you are still in need of it.

As for actual use, the ArmorATD does the job. I loaded a Capture One Session onto it with about 100 raw images and it was fine. Then I put a couple of 4K videos on it and loaded them into DaVinci Resolve without issue and had real-time playback. Now, if you start running multiple streams from the drive you will hit a bottleneck, and if you are using heavy files such as ProRes 422 HQ or CinemaDNG you will certainly hit that limit much, much sooner. I would argue that the ArmorATD isn’t meant for those use cases. This is more of an everyday drive, something you can bring on vacation or if your photography demands aren’t pushing the limits of technology.

Taking landscapes and want to offload at the end of the day? Perfect. Tethering the just-announced FUJIFILM GFX 100 and using continuous shooting modes? Maybe not. Taking your DSLR/mirrorless/action cam for a drive and doing a simple edit? It’ll do just fine. Loading up some RED 8K footage? Don’t hold your breath. It’s all about knowing the limitations of your equipment and finding what works for you. The G-Technology ArmorATD checks all the boxes your everyday photographer or videographer would want and comes in at a very affordable price for the amount of storage you get in a small, rugged package. It’s an easy one to recommend. Oh, and G-Technology backs it with a limited 3-year warranty.

Are you a fan of tough, rugged hard drives? Is the ArmorATD looking good for your next storage purchase? Be sure to leave any comments or questions, below!

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