GeekDad Review: Hitachi G-Connect



The G-Connect (Image:

I have been traveling a great deal lately and I am one of those that travels with a veritable toolkit of things that I consider basics for being on the road. A travel power strip with USB outlets, extra chargers and USB cables, a portable hard drive, a gigabit ethernet cable, and a travel size wifi router. I recently had the opportunity to review a product from Hitachi that is taking the place of having to carry a separate hard drive and wifi router.

The G-Connect from Hitachi is a portable wifi router with a built-in hard drive. It is small, easy to carry around, and provides quick and easy connectivity. The device sports a 500 GB hard drive and can share that drive over the wired ethernet, wifi, or USB connections. I have taken this device on the road with me for several trips lately and it has proven itself very useful.

The main advertising point of the G-Connect is that it is portable storage for your iOS devices. This is accomplished through a dedicated iOS app that allows you to access and browse the files on the G-Connect and also stream video directly to your iOS device. This is impressive enough but what is really useful to the family is that it can stream up to five standard definition videos or three high definition videos at the same time. This means if you get a rainy day at the beach house and child #1 wants to watch Doctor Who while child #2 wants to watch Star Wars, you are covered as long as you have two different iOS devices with you and have those videos loaded to G-Connect. This is a neat feature for our household but requires some planning as our media directory is almost topping 1 TB so we have to pick and choose what we copy over.

If your media library is less than the 500 GB drive capacity, you could easily set up a mirror so that the drive always maintains a copy of your library. As a wifi base station the G-Connect is very simple to set-up. It provides an easy to use web interface for configuration and supports password protection for both the wifi and the configuration website. The hard drive sharing also sports a separate password protected area for keeping files private from the otherwise open file sharing access on the drive. Something important to note is that an iOS device is not required to access the information on the drive. When connected via the network or USB, you can browse the hard drive just like you would any other shared drive or through a web interface.

The one thing I would like to see is a tie in to iTunes so that a user, such as myself, could define a playlist of files that the G-Connect can interact with to maintain synchronization with a selected subset of media. This is easy for me to do on my own with a few lines of AppleScript but not all users may have the scripting knowledge to implement such a system.

Overall, I give the G-Connect high marks. It is a solid storage solution and wifi hotspot all in one small package and is now a part of my standard tool-kit.

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