G-Technology ArmorLock SSD review: high speed, high security

The G-Technology ArmorLock SSD combines fast performance and a robust design

T3 Platinum Award
G-Technology ArmorLock SSD
(Image credit: Western Digital)
T3 Verdict

The G-Technology ArmorLock SSD is likely to interest you if you want some extra physical and digital protection for your storage: it can survive drops, dunks and crushes, and you can manage access to it through the accompanying ArmorLock app for Android and iOS.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Excellent security features

  • +

    Decent performance

  • +

    Straightforward setup

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    On the expensive side

  • -

    Chunky in terms of its aesthetics

  • -

    Only one storage option (2TB)

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The G-Technology ArmorLock SSD is likely to catch the eye of anyone looking for one of the best SSDs or the best external hard drives at the moment: it wraps 2TB of super-fast solid-state drive storage in a chunky protective shell to guard against damage and drops.

Not only that, but it comes with an accompanying mobile app for Android and iOS that lets you manage access to the drive, erase its contents, and more besides. It's the perfect choice if you want to minimise the chances of anyone else getting hold of your files.

This is also a strong contender for one of the best external drives for Mac at the moment, showing just how impressive and versatile it is. Read on and we'll explain everything you need to know about this portable SSD, from the setup process to the transfer speeds.

G-Technology ArmorLock SSD review: design and setup

As soon as you unbox the G-Technology ArmorLock SSD, you can tell this is a portable USB drive with a little extra something about it: it's clad in thick plastic, and has the appearance of a professional drive you might see in the office of an important government intelligence agency. At 134.37 mm x 81.53 mm x 18.54 mm (5.29 inches x 3.21 inches x 0.73 inches), it won't fit in your pocket, though you can easily hold it in one hand. We don't have an official weight, but it feels nice and light in the hand.

All that extra cladding comes with benefits. The drive is able to survive drops of up to 3 metres (nearly 10 feet) on to a "carpeted concrete floor" should it fall out of your bag or off the edge of a table, while it also comes with IP67 dust and water resistance (so it can survive in a reasonably shallow pool of water for up to 30 minutes). It also comes with 1,000-pound crush resistance, apparently, so you're covered for most accidental mishaps.

You're not going to have any problems setting up the G-Technology ArmorLock SSD: just plug it into a Windows or a Mac computer to get started. You get both USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables included with the drive – albeit rather short ones – so you can connect it up to any laptop without buying anything extra. It's all USB powered too, so there's no need for an extra power brick or a connection to the mains.

In order to move data to and from the G-Technology ArmorLock SSD, you need one of the mobile or desktop apps that Western Digital provides. We'll get into the details of it below, but essentially it means that if your phone is protected by a fingerprint sensor login, then so is this portable SSD drive. You don't need any special technical knowledge to set all of this up – you just install the mobile app, scan the QR code on the drive, and follow the instructions. The app handles firmware updates as well.

G-Technology ArmorLock SSD review: specs and performance

G-Technology ArmorLock SSD

(Image credit: Western Digital)

The first key spec is the 2TB of storage, which is the only storage configuration option available on this particular drive. When it comes to performance meanwhile, Western Digital promises you can get up to 1,000MB/s read and 1,000MB/s write speeds from the G-Technology ArmorLock SSD (it supports up to USB 3.2 Gen 2 over USB-C), and there's special heat management here (helped by an aluminium core) that means those speeds shouldn't be affected by the drive overheating. 

To give you an idea of how that works in the real world, we were able to transfer around 5GB of data to the drive from a 2018 MacBook Pro (supporting USB 3.1 Gen) in around five seconds. The same bundle of files was transferred from a 2021 Windows laptop (with USB 3.1 Gen 1) in roughly 8.5 seconds. This is a drive that you're not going to have to worry about from a performance perspective, and even substantial amounts of data are going to shift over very speedily.

We've mentioned the durability and the robustness of the drive design, and it comes with a stack of security features on the software side too. It comes with 256-bit AES-XTS encryption, and access can be controlled through the accompanying Android, iOS or macOS app – the drive will work with Windows, but you need to run the ArmorLock app on another platform to manage and unlock the drive. If someone else needs temporary or permanent access to the drive, you can manage this too.

What's more, if you lose the drive, you can see where your phone was last connected to it. These are some advanced-level security features, and they work very well in practice, but this all comes with an extra cost attached. If you're not taking your drive out into the great outdoors, or you're not carrying around government secrets on the device, then you might not consider the extra expense to be worth it. If security is a priority on the other hand, then this won't disappoint.

G-Technology ArmorLock SSD review: price and verdict

G-Technology ArmorLock SSD

(Image credit: Future)

The G-Technology ArmorLock SSD absolutely impressed us in just about every aspect of its operation, from its transfer speeds to the ease with which we were able to manage the drive with the AmorLock app. From both the hardware and the software perspectives, this drive is going to keep your data safer and more private than almost anything else – oh and it comes with a five year warranty too.

Performance is towards the high end, with support for the latest and greatest NVMe and USB 3.2 Gen 2 standards. While there are certainly external USB drives that will hit higher benchmark scores than this, you won't be waiting around for too long for your files to transfer in either direction. It'll work across Windows and macOS computers, and it can be controlled using the ArmorLock apps for Android, iOS and macOS, so it's a versatile and flexible piece of hardware too.

Where the G-Technology ArmorLock SSD really shines is in the extra physical protection built around the drive, and the wealth of security-related features you can get at through the ArmorLock app. Being able to manage the devices and the users who can access the disk data is perfect for everything from a top-secret work project to that as-yet-unreleased screenplay that you've been working on.

We do have a few minor complaints – a native app for Windows would be nice, for example – but there's nothing major. All we would say is that you need to be sure that you're going to use the extra security and disk management tools on offer here, because it's definitely more expensive than the average external SSD drive of this capacity. Check the widgets on this page for the latest pricing on the web, but at the time of writing we're seeing it for sale for around £350 / $400 online.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.