Rapid Review: Samsung Portable SSD T5

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Portable hard drives may seem passe in the era of cheap and convenient cloud storage but I still find one essential. Whether that's for carrying a few movies and TV shows while I travel, making it easy to share large files quickly, or backing up critical data, a decent external hard drive is handy. Samsung's Portable SSD T5 is small, fast and attractive.

What Is It?

The Samsung Portable SSD T5 is a lightweight portable solid-state drive that connects to your PC over either USB-A or USB-C. (Both cables are in the box.)

It comes in four different capacities - 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB - as well several different colour including blue, rose gold, black and red. I tested the 500GB version in red.

Specifications

Size and weight 57 x 74 x 10mm, 51g
Connections USB 3.1 with USB-C on the drive and USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables in the box
Security AES 256-bit hardware encryption
Device compatibility Windows OS : Windows 7 or higher, macOS : Versions 10.9 or higher, Android OS : Android 4.4 (KitKat) or higher

What's Good?

As soon as the T5 was connected to my Windows machine - a Samsung Galaxy Book2 - it was ready to use. However, there's Windows and macOS software on the drive as well as a text file with instructions on what to do on a supported Android device. I did hit a snag with my Windows machine which I've covered later.

The T5 passes the "Just Works" test out of the box. Even if you don't use the bundled software, you can set it up to back data up using your preferred tool as well as store files for personal use or sharing.

Performance was excellent. I was able to write 16.5GB of data to the drive in 80 seconds. That coverts to about 1648 Mbps. Reads were also swift and I had no trouble streaming movies from the drive or accessing other data.

With the transition towards USB-C in progress, Samsung's inclusion of both USB-C and USB-A cables was a nice touch and alleviates the need to carry a dongle just to use a hard drive.

What's Bad?

Unfortunately, I hit a snag as 'Windows Defender Application Control' blocked the T5's bundled software from running. I suspect this is tied to the Galaxy Book2 formerly running Windows 10 in S-Mode. Although I have updated it, using the one-time free option to upgrade to Windows 10 Home, it seems that somewhere there is a spanner in the works. Options to unblock the application, by right-clicking the app and choosing an 'Unblock' option or adding it to a list of allowed apps didn't work.

But other than that, it worked fine on another PC and a MacBook Pro

Should You Buy It

The Samsung External SSD T5 starts at $169 for the 500GB model, with $339 getting you the 1TGB unit. The 2TB unit costs $549.

You can currently score up to 68% off the Samsung SSD T5 over on eBay. If you're looking for fast and lightweight storage then the T5 is well worth a look.

Find more great bargains at Lifehacker Coupons.


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Comments

    Be nice to see a bench using something like Crystal Diskmark just to standardize the transfer speed test.

    I'd suggest considering a "make your own" approach. You can buy a bare SSD drive and an enclosure that suits for cheaper than the base Samsung price. I recently got a 2TB Samsung 860QVO for $304 on Ebay with $35 cash back from Samsung. So for $269 I got 2TB of SSD. You can buy a decent USB 3.0 enclosure to put it in from $10 (up to whatever you'd like to pay) but I chose $15 Kingston ones that works nicely (though it isn't super attractive to look at).

    So Samsung 2TB external SSD in an enclosure for $284. Like the drive in the article plug it into windows and it just works. Only caveat being because it's a new drive you'll have to partition and format it using the standard windows disk management tools (takes about a minute). Speed test was about 320MB/s read and 350MB/s write. Or roughly 2600Mbps read and 2800mbps write.

    Side note, I switched the 2TB drive into my PC in place of an existing 500GB drive. Using the internal sata it's much faster (560MB/p Read 534MB/s Write), so USB speeds seems to be a limiting factor when it comes to SSD USB drives.

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