G-Technology ArmorLock Encrypted NVMe SSD Review: Your Phone is the Key

G-Technology ArmorLock Encrypted NVMe SSD is a robust portable SSD that you unlock with a phone app.

G-Technology ArmorLock Encrypted NVMe SSD
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Comparison Products

Today, we put the 2TB G-Technology ArmorLock Encrypted NVMe SSD up against the Best portable SSDs on the market. We included the Thunderbolt 3-powered Samsung X5, LaCie Rugged SSD Pro, and G-technology G-Drive mobile Pro. We also threw in some USB-based competition, including the SanDisk Extreme Pro v2, LaCie Rugged SSD, Samsung T7, and WD MyPassport SSD.  

G-Technology ArmorLock Encrypted NVMe SSD

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Transfer Rates – DiskBench

DiskBench is a storage benchmarking tool that allows us to test a storage device’s transfer or copy performance with real data. We test external drives with three file transfers that consist of 25GB of photos (10GB of jpgs and 15GB of RAW photos), 50GB of movies, and 25GB of documents. First, we transfer each folder from a 1TB NVMe SSD to the external device; then, we follow up by reading a 3.7GB 7-zip file and a 15GB movie back from the device.

Game load performance doesn’t vary much between most of these fast portable NVMe SSDs, but the ArmorLock Encrypted NVMe SSD lags the competition and lands in last place. 

Trace Testing – PCMark 10 Storage Test: Data Drive Benchmark

PCMark 10 is a trace-based benchmark that uses a wide-ranging set of real-world traces from popular applications and common tasks to measure the performance of storage devices. To test drives that store files rather than applications, we utilize the Data Drive Benchmark.

Like the previous benchmark, G-Technology's ArmorLock Encrypted NVMe SSD isn’t particularly responsive to PCMark 10’s Data Drive Benchmark. It scores second to the last place in this test, just ahead of Samsung’s DRAM-less T7.

Synthetic Testing - ATTO / iometer

iometer is an advanced and highly configurable storage benchmarking tool while ATTO is a simple and free application that SSD vendors commonly use to assign sequential performance specifications to their products. Both of these tools give us insight into how the device handles different file sizes.

The ArmorLock’s performance scaling lags a few of its USB competitors at smaller file sizes, especially with reads from 16KB to 512KB. Peak sequential performance hits 975/1008 MBps read/write when using 128KB blocks and scaling up to a queue depth (QD) of 32. The ArmorLock’s random read and write performance is similar or better than most of the other USB 10 Gbps SSDs in the comparison pool.

Sustained Write Performance, Cache Recovery and Temperature

Write speed and temperature are two important and inter-related metrics for external devices. Official write specifications are only part of the performance picture. Most SSDs implement a write cache, which is a fast area of (usually) pseudo-SLC programmed flash that absorbs incoming data. Sustained write speeds can suffer tremendously once the workload spills outside the cache and into the "native" TLC or QLC flash.

We use iometer to hammer the SSD with sequential writes for 15 minutes to measure both the size of the write cache and performance after the cache is saturated. We also monitor cache recovery via multiple idle rounds and the temperature of the drive via the S.M.A.R.T. data and an IR thermometer to see when (or if) thermal throttling kicks in and how it impacts performance.

G-Technology’s ArmorLock Encrypted NVMe SSD absorbs roughly 36GB of data at 1,062 MBps before the SLC cache ran out. Beyond the SLC cache, the SSD wrote at an average rate of 911 MBps until full. The SLC cache fully recovers after just 30 seconds of idle time, too.

With the large aluminum core, the SSD maintains stable operating temperatures under heavy use. However, the SSD is very warm at idle, measuring 41 degrees Celsius in a 23 degrees Celsius room. ArmorLock’s hottest surface temperature measured just 44 degrees Celsius after writing over 500GB of data. Strangely, the SSD did not report its S.M.A.R.T. data to any of the tools we normally use.


G-Technology ArmorLock Encrypted NVMe SSD is a very secure, rugged, and waterproof portable SSD that keeps cool under even the heaviest abuse. In terms of performance, the ArmorLock Encrypted NVMe SSD offers up consistent sequential speeds but isn’t the most responsive 10 Gbps portable SSD we’ve tested. It is one of the most secure devices to cross our labs in recent times, however. For those looking for more speed, Samsung’s X5, SanDisk’s Extreme Pro v2, or possibly LaCie’s Rugged SSD may be of greater interest to you, although they don’t offer such robust security.

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With data security of utmost importance, the ArmorLock Encrypted NVMe SSD excels tremendously. Not only is its AES-XTS encryption method better than your run-of-the-mill AES encryption, but when sharing sensitive data, ArmorLock Encrypted SSD is a simple to use and robust solution. The ArmorLock app streamlines device management and is especially useful when managing multiple devices with multiple users.

G-Technology ArmorLock Encrypted NVMe SSD is a unique portable SSD built for professionals who need secure storage, and its $400 price tag definitely reflects that. The average gamer, student, amateur videographer, or editor can save a few bucks by opting for something a bit cheaper, like SanDisk Extreme Pro v2 or Extreme v2, at less than half the cost. But, while this innovative SSD is costly compared to many standard 10 Gbps SSDs, its capabilities are worth it to those who need a robust storage device to meet the demands of their content collaboration or compliance standards.


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Sean Webster
Storage Reviewer

Sean is a Contributing Editor at Tom’s Hardware US, covering storage hardware.