The aboriginal Gnarbox was an alarming abstraction that never absolutely delivered. Built for photographers and videographers, it’s a battery-powered, asperous adamantine drive that you can aloof pop an SD agenda into, and it’ll aback it up. It was a abundant concept, but the execution? Not so much. It was slow, buggy, and bulky. Well, the $500 and up Gnarbox 2.0 is assuredly actuality and it assuredly works the way you hoped it would. Mostly.
I acclimated the aboriginal adaptation of the Gnarbox and it was a non-starter. Added accurately, I approved it once, and begin it so apathetic and annoying that I never angry it on again. About a ages ago, I was beatific the Gnarbox 2.0 advanced of its official absolution this week, and while the firmware / software wasn’t final, application it was still like night and day.
For starters, the new Gnarbox is slimmer and tougher. It would calmly fit in a anorak abridged (or, shudders, burden pants), and it’s baptize and dust resistant. It has a solid-state drive and bigger audacity (an Intel cloister core, 2.40GHZ CPU and cloister bulk GPU, forth with 4GB RAM) which makes abetment up a lot faster, and it’s added shock-proof, too. It now has a congenital screen, so you accept added ascendancy over how it’s alive after accepting to blaze up an app. The one affair that 1.0 had that 2.0 lacks is a microSD agenda slot. It has a full-sized SD agenda slot, two USB-C ports, and a micro HDMI port, but for microSD you accept to use a USB-C agenda clairvoyant or an adapter sleeve that lets you use the SD slot. I asked Gnarbox why they ditched the micro aperture and they said accepting that it fabricated aggregate abroad slower, so it wasn’t account the trade-off. I concluded up taping a microSD adapter in a little baggie to the aback of the accessory so I’d consistently accept one on hand, which formed out fine.
Here’s how it works. Aback you’re out in the acreage and you’ve abounding up your SD agenda with photos and videos, you aloof pop it out of your camera, ability on the Gnarbox 2.0, aperture the agenda in, hit Aback Up, and that’s it. Abetment up a abounding 64GB SD agenda (with checksum to verify the candor of the backup) takes all of bristles minutes. You can use the app to actualize your own agenda anatomy so it’s organized the way you want, and you can alike accept it array files into subfolders by type, or leave it structured as it is on the card.
That’s absolutely all you allegation to do. From there, you can brace the Gnarbox with your buzz to array through your images and videos and alike bulk them application a accepted best arrangement and / or add metadata tags. Later, aback you affix the Gnarbox to your computer and alteration the files over to a adamantine drive, those ratings will be preserved aback you accessible them in Lightroom or addition alteration software. You can additionally alteration the apps anon to your buzz (including RAW formats) for burning posting. One of the coolest appearance is that you can attach an alien SSD to the Gnarbox while in the acreage and aback up to both simultaneously, for an actual bombastic advancement after abacus any time to the process. That’s huge.
That all sounds great, right? The absoluteness is that it still needs a fair bulk of work, mostly on the software side. There are two adaptable applications you use for the Gnarbox: Selects and Safekeep. Neither of them are automatic to use. Selects is for examination images and videos as able-bodied as appraisement photos, but in adjustment to do that, you accept to baddest the photos, cull them into a abstracted Workspace, add stars, and again accompany it back. It ends up actuality a pain.
By default, videos don’t absolutely beck from the Gnarbox, instead aloof assuming a few key frames so you can see what the book is after transcoding it. You can beck video to your accessory by acute the beck button, or you can alteration the accomplished affair to your phone, but that will eat up a lot of storage. Safekeep is for tweaking the agenda anatomy and abacus preset profiles for abetment up to the Gnarbox. I aloof don’t feel like this should be a abstracted app at all. Consolidate, my friends!
There additionally seems to be a bit of a ability issue. While array activity is about solid (up to six hours per charge, depending on usage), it requires a beefier-than-average charger to add power. The 18-watt USB-C charger that came with my Google Pixel 3 XL, for example, won’t stop the array from annihilative while in use. It does appear with an adapter, and Gnarbox told me that 30 to 60W of USB-C Ability Delivery is bare to allegation from addition source. That’s a lot of ability for a accumulator drive and apparently why it didn’t allegation aback acquainted into the USB-C anchorage on my laptop (late 2018 15-inch HP Spectre x360). As a result, it died on me while alive with some images in Lightroom. Gnarbox is acquainted of these issues and hopes to abode them in a approaching firmware update. In the meantime, I aloof acclimated it as a backup, and would alteration aggregate to a altered adamantine drive aback I got home for editing.
Despite those dings (and the actuality that you accept to reboot the accomplished affair into Mass Accumulator Mode aback you appetite to bung it into your computer, which takes a brace minutes), I adulation this affair and it absolutely adored my bacon already already. I was in Alaska this summer and my dream came authentic aback the arctic lights came out to play. I was out demography photos all night, but I’d afflicted clothes appropriate afore I set out and accidentally larboard my additional SD cards in my added pants. The aurora doesn’t consistently aftermost long, so aback I ran out of amplitude on my SD agenda I anticipation I was activity to lose an hour to run to my van and get aback out. But I had the Gnarbox 2.0 with me. I alone the agenda in, backed it up with checksum verification, again took a abysmal breath, wiped the card, and kept shooting. I alone absent bristles minutes, and was accessible aback the best acute allotment of the aurora started dancing. It was a absolute lifesaver.
It was additionally acutely accessible aback I was on a six-day baiter trip, cutting with assorted cameras, drones, and GoPros. I aloof set up a agenda for anniversary card, and it backed aggregate up flawlessly. I can see this acceptable an capital allotment of kit for bells and accident photographers. Yes, the apps allegation work, but the banderole affection actuality is accord of mind, and you don’t alike absolutely allegation the apps for that. Pop in a card, aback up, accumulate shooting. That’s priceless.
But, of course, it absolutely does accept a price, and it’s not low. The 256GB archetypal goes for $500, the 512GB for $600, and the 1TB for $900. That is a lot, abnormally aback you can get fast alien 1TB SSDs for able-bodied beneath $200. But still, if you’re a able columnist or videographer, accident a agenda of abstracts could amount you bags of dollars. For them, this affectionate of allowance action is account it.
Correction, 3:05PM ET, October 2nd, 2019: An beforehand adaptation of this commodity said the Gnarbox does not beck videos to a buzz — that’s not accurate. We affliction the error.
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