Whether you’re looking for that last-minute tech gift or you just want faster PC accessories for the new year, this quartet of power-savvy devices will meet your needs handily.
How about an external hard drive that turbo-charges data transfers with combined USC-C and USB 3.0 capabilities? Or consider a high-power charger for smartphones and laptops, or a clever power extension cord for the desktop, or a state-of-the-art microphone. These gadgets will help start 2017 with a better computing experience!
G-Drive Mobile USB-C moves data in a flash
USB-C has been the standard on Apple products for a while, but it’s just now making a significant appearance on Windows-based devices. That fact is highlighted with G-Technology’s 1TB G-Drive Mobile USB-C (more info; Figure 1), which displays a tiny acknowledgement of Windows compatibility on its packaging. It is, nevertheless, a fine addition to both new and old Windows machines.
In a bit of platform proofing, the slim drive comes with a USB-C to USB 3.0 cable, so even PCs lacking the newer port can take advantage of the G-Drive’s blazing transfer speeds. Adding to the innate performance capabilities of USB 3.0 and USB-C, the drive spins at a quick 7200 RPM — significantly faster than the 5400 RPM of most external hard drives. With USB-C connections, G-Technology claims that its drive can transfer data at up to 136MB per second. Put another way, that’s about a gigabyte of data in less than 10 seconds. For comparison, my legacy USB 2.0/5400RPM drive took just over four minutes to transfer a gigabyte file. I’ll take a few seconds, any day.
Available in four colors (silver, space gray, gold, and rose gold) the Mobile USB-C drive is wrapped in aluminum and weighs just six ounces. It lists for U.S. $120, but you can find it for less online. Yes, similarly sized external hard drives are nearly half the cost, but excellent speed always comes with a higher price tag. And though my test unit was formatted for Macs, I had no problem using it on my Windows-based laptop. The company also offers a downloadable Windows Format Wizard.
NuPower Power Adapter bridges past and future
Compact and portable power packs are handy for providing a needed charge to small devices when there’s no access to an AC outlet. NewerTech’s NuPower 60W USB-C Power Adapter (site; Figure 2) looks much like the dozens of other battery-based chargers available, but that belies its power and versatility.
The 2-inch by 4-inch black metal box weights under five ounces and charges with a detachable AC adapter. Power-out ports include both USB-C and standard USB Type A formats, making the Power Adapter capable of recharging a wide variety of smartphones, tablets, and even some small laptops. I was able to re-power my Dell XPS 13 (see the Nov. 17 Best Hardware review) simply by plugging the NuPower into one of the PC’s USB-C ports — the same ports that also handle data transfers.