GNARBOX 2.0 SSD Review

GNARBOX 2.0 SSD is a rugged backup device mostly for professional content creators who can`t afford to lose any footage. Although aimed at the pros, the Gnarbox 2.0 is invaluable for thousands of creators – pro, amateur or just hobbyists. In the past few years, the number of people who make a living off their photos or videos has skyrocketed. Social media influencers, YouTubers, Instagrammers etc. create content and until the specific piece of creation ends un online are in danger of losing it while out on the field.

Gnarbox 2.0 SSD

I myself came across the original, 1.0 version of the Gnarbox a while ago when looking for a solution to back up my images while traveling without a laptop. Read the Original GNARBOX Review here.

The idea behind Gnarbox is to be able to back up any media from any device wherever you are. It can read memory cards from all your cameras with the card reader or tethered to your camera via USB and back up your creations on the Gnarbox itself or on an external drive.

MIL-SPEC design is water-resistant and withstands any environment. Outside, a gasket-sealed aluminum-rubber enclosure keeps away dirt and debris so you can take the Gnarbox with you wherever your adventures take you.

GNARBOX 2.0 SSD Features

  • Capacity: 256GB, 512GB or 1TB
  • Intel® Quad Core, 2.40GHZ CPU
  • 4 Core Intel® HD Graphics GPU
  • 867mbps 802.11 ac WiFi
  • 4GB RAM
  • NVMe SSD up to 1TB
  • 3000mAh 7.4v removable lithium ion battery
  • RAW, ProRes, H264, H265 support
  • SD Transfer: Up to 75MB/s
  • USB-C Transfer: Up to 350MB/s
  • USB-C (x2), SD, and Micro HDMI ports
  • 3-6 hours of continuous use
  • Water and Dust Resistant
  • 6” x 3” x 1.16” (15.24cm x 7.62cm x 2.95cm)
  • .8lb (375g)
  • App iOS and Android Compatible
  • Lightroom, LumaFusion, Affinity Photo and more integration
  • One-touch SD Card Backup
  • Automatic file organisatio

Why would you need the GNARBOX 2.0 SSD?

Gnarbox 2.0 SSD is a microcomputer tucked inside a tiny battery-powered rugged housing. The integrated LCD and the four buttons enable primary navigation and functions but hook it up with a mobile device and you can fully take advantage of the Intel® Quad Core, 2.40GHZ powered beast. The 3000mAh 7.4v removable lithium-ion battery keeps the Gnarbox running for hours.

Gnarbox 2.0 SSD

So why do YOU need it?

If you are just an everyday user taking snaps with your phone or your camera just for fun and for an occasional Instagram post you probably don`t need the Gnarbox. If you have a social media following but do all your edits and posts safely from your home and rarely leave home for a longer period or always carry your laptop with you you probably don’t need the Gnarbox. BUT, If you make money with your content or if losing images on your card will freak you out you NEED the Gnarbox.

From professional videographers to aspiring social media influencers the Gnarbox can save your day and will help you sleep at night knowing all your data is backed up and ready to be shared any time, any place.

Gnarbox 2.0 SSD with Canon EOS and GoPro

Gnarbox can save you in case your camera gets damaged or lost and you lose the data on your SD card, you can offload the images or videos when your memory card gets full and you don´t have a spare with you. There might not be time to manually select the files to delete to make room so offloading (and validating) your important footage to Gnarbox 2.0 SSD takes just a few minutes and you are ready for action again.

Or imagine you are on location for a client/partner and you need to post live to social media? You would have to have a laptop with you edit the videos or images and then transfer them to your phone to post. If you have the Gnarbox with you, you can easily edit everything with the Gnarbox, using your mobile device as a screen, export to your phone and you are ready to post – completely wirelessly.

So if you have a few hundred bucks to invest in your work process the Gnarbox is the only battery-powered SSD backup device that integrates with different photo and video editing apps freeing you completely from any laptops.

The price tag might scare some of you off but having the freedom of not depending on your Laptop and always carrying a fast and ultra-rugged, independently powered, device with you is priceless. Prices start from $499.00 for the 256GB version and you can save up to $150.00 if you exchange your old 1.0 Gnarbox in for the freshly upgraded one. Keep in mind, you are not just buying a new gadget – you are buying peace of mind in the form of a pocket-sized computer.

GNARBOX 2.0 SSD build and handling

Compared to the previous 1.0 version the new Gnarbox 2.0 SSD is smaller, lighter and comes with a small screen and four buttons instead of one.

Most of the front of the body of the unit is covered with a radiator-grill for heat distribution. The small LCD screen on the four buttons are on the right side of the unit. The buttons are flat and aligned with the surface with just small nipples to indicate the location of the actual buttons that sit underneath the rubber coating. This eliminates any chance of dirt getting inside and makes the front panel water-resistant.

Gnarbox 2.0 SSD water_small

The buttons have very little travel and offer a fair bit of resistance, so you probably can’t feel them too well with gloves but it will make sure you don’t accidentally turn on or “butt-dial” when the unit is in your pocket or packed in your backpack or gear bag.

Long press on the right (three-o`clock) button to turn Gnarbox on and off and up/down/left to navigate in the menus.

Turn-on time: ~40 seconds

Turn-off time: ~14 seconds

Main ports are behind a hatch in one end and the charging port for the USB-C is at the other end covered with a rubber seal. Your Gnarbox comes with a wall charger with adaptors for different sockets around the world also, which is really nice.

Physically, the new Gnarbox 2.0 SSD is a bit narrower but longer than 1.0, the thickness is about the same.

Gnarbox 2.0 SSD VS Gnarbox 1.0

6” x 3” x 1.16” (152mm x 76mm x 30mm) Weight: 0.8lb (375g)+ Battery 0.3lb (135g) VS 5.3 x 3.4 x 1″ (13.5 x 8.6 x 2.5 cm) and weighs just 1 lb (0.5 kg)

The unit also has a lanyard loop for easy carry.

The biggest physical difference is that the battery is now easily removable so you can use a spare battery to keep you going for longer. You can also purchase a dual-charger so you don’t have to charge the batteries up one by one.

The build quality is absolutely 10-out-of-ten. It feels tough and robust in the hand and

Gnarbox 2.0 SSD hands-on – workflow and features

Get the Selects iOS or Selects Android app for free.

So how is it working with Gnarbox? In theory, the pocket-sized beast will save you time, keep your files safe and help you edit amazing images on the go. I put it to a test on a trip through Thailand to see if it lives up the hype. Instead of the Gnarbox Classic (1.0) app that had everything from backup to editing the new 2.0 version has separate apps for Video and Photo.

Selects App – for photos

Selects app is your go-to tool to sort, select and export your images. The typical workflow might look like this:

  1. Insert your SD card
  2. Open the Selects app and rate/tag your images
  3. Export your top-rated images into a separate folder
  4. Open Lightroom and import those images into Album
  5. Edit your images and export

You can check out the Lightroom integration manual here- https://support.gnarbox.com/hc/en-us/articles/360025109232–iOS-Adobe-Lightroom-CC-Integration-Walkthrough

Gnarbox 2.0 SSD Selects App screenshots

So the biggest change is that you no longer have image editing capabilities in the app and you need to use either Lightroom or any other image editing software on your mobile device. This makes a lot of sense – now the team can focus on the hardware and do not need to compete with image editing giants like Adobe who already have amazing apps out and people using them.

Gnarbox 2.0 SSD Selects App screenshots 2

The Adobe Lightroom CC Integration is fairly simple and takes just a few minutes. I had no issues following the tutorial (link above) that guides you through with screenshots at every step. Once you do the initial integrations the workflow becomes fast and easy. The Selects app displays previews of both jpg or your RAW files, you can tap on thumbnails to get a closer look and rate the images to make sure you import only the best ones into Lightroom to save time. You can also Tag your images.

You can also use both the Selects and the Safekeep apps to upgrade the software on your Gnarbox 2.0

Safekeep app – for videos

Get the Safekeep iOS or Safekeep Android apps for free.

The Safekeep app is aimed for video workflow. You can use a video editing app of your choice but the best one out there is definitely LumaFusion. Gnarbox has a seamless workflow developed for it and you can check out the tutorial here: https://support.gnarbox.com/hc/en-us/articles/360022663792–iOS-LumaFusion-App-Integration

  1. Insert your memory card with your videos
  2. Preview and select the videos you want to bring into your project for editing
  3. Batch transcode videos
  4. Open up LumaFusion, create a project and develop your timeline while connected to Gnarbox
Gnarbox 2.0 SSD LumaFusion App screenshots

You will get the best editing experience on a tablet of course but you can make do with a phone also. It’s just a bit more cumbersome as you have to settle with smaller screen size.

First, you need to select your videos from wither on the SD card or from Gnarbox and transcode the files for better editing experience, but this is not 100% mandatory. You can just import videos to your LumaFusion project directly from your source.

Gnarbox 2.0 SSD Selects App screenshots 2

You can buy the LumaFusion iOS but unfortunately, it’s not available on Android as of now.

Gnarbox as an external drive

You can transform your Gnarbox from the micro-computer to a “dumb” drive just for storage or file transfer. You can just go to the settings and switch to Mass Storage mode – the Gnarbox will reboot and you can use it as any other fast SSD drive. Having the extra feature of a super rugged SSD drive at your service whenever you need it can be a lifesaver.

Other notable features of Gnarbox 2.0 SSD

Support – Gnarbox is extremely close to its customers and you can see a lot of people from the team helping out and giving updates in the GNARBOX Insiders Facebook Group.

Hot-Swap Batteries – You can hot-swap batteries, meaning you don’t need to power off the box to switch out a depleted batterie. Just make sure your GNARBOX is plugged into a power source such as the GNARBOX wall adapter or Dual Battery Charger.

Multi-Destination Backup – Multi-Destination Copy enables you to choose multiple, simultaneous copy destinations to make sure you back up the most valuable content to multiple devices. This guarantees you that even if something happens with your SD card and you lose your Gnarbox, you still have another external drive with all the files.

Home Mode vs Field Mode – The GNARBOX 2.0 SSD has two main modes of connectivity. In short, Field Mode uses the WiFi signal of Gnarbox to be connected to your mobile device. As the name suggests this mode is for fieldwork when you are away from your home or office. When in Home Mode both your Gnarbox and your mobile device are connected to your local WiFi router and interacting through that network. Home Mode enables you to download updates and send files to cloud.

Gnarbox 2.0 SSD Accessories – You can buy an extra battery if you go out for extended periods of time without the option to charge. Gnarbox also has a Dual Battery Charger so you will save time on charging times.

The Additional card readers: CF Reader with MicroSD/SD UHS-II, ZQD Reader with MicroSD/SD UHS-II and a CFast 2.0 reader with MicroSD/SD UHS-II are available for those who need them.

USB-C to A Dongle helps you connect older USB-A cables to newer USB-C devices allowing you to use your existing card readers or drives.

Gnarbox 2.0 SSD SUMMARY

The Gnarbox is Definitely built for the professionals but it comes in handy for EVEY photographer or videographer wheater they are using a GoPro to capture their adventures in remote places or a professional DSLR with a team of content creators. The tough build and the ruggedness fits perfectly for the GoPro fans.

I was searching for something like this for a long time before I found the original Gnarbox 1.0. It`s not always possible to drag your laptop around with you, especially when traveling but you still need to make sure you come back with ALL your data and you can edit 4k videos or raw files on the go, from any device.

What I love about the Gnarbox 2.0 SSD

  • High-quality build and materials
  • Small and compact
  • Fast turn-on time
  • One-touch SD Card Backup
  • Multi-device backup
  • Can be used as a regular SSD drive
  • 3-6 hours of continuous use
  • Offers complete freedom of use and security
  • Flawless usability

So if you have a budget and your images and videos are what keep you going then you NEED this. The risk of losing your data is always present so a backup device is essential for every photographer. You can edit photos or videos while traveling or when out shooting and the ability to get the shots from your DSLR and get them straight to Lightroom to work some magic is priceless. Get the Gnarbox 2.0 SSD now and elevate your media creation.

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