Two years ago, Samsung released something only nerds would love: the Portable SSD T1, a solid state drive that was smaller than a standard business card. More than just it’s tiny size, the T1 came with up to 1TB of storage and it was fast. Like really fast.
It instantly became the best way to transfer lots of files between computers, making it a staple for professionals like video producers. Samsung followed the T1 with the T3 last year. The newer model swapped out the plastic enclosure for a slightly larger aluminum build, the micro USB for a USB-C port, and added a 2TB version for real data hoarders.
And now Samsung’s launching the Portable SSD T5 with even faster read and write speeds and it’s just too much to handle.
I’ve been testing the T5 for the last few weeks and it’s exceeded my expectations. Storage may not be the sexiest tech, but it’s just exhilarating when you’re used to seeing long transfer bars.
The SSD’s the same exact dimensions as the T3 and barely weighs anything at 51 grams. Portable hard drives are still cheaper by a long shot, but the T5 is smaller and lighter and shock-resistant because it has no moving parts, which means it’s less prone to failure and data loss. I’d choose an SSD over a hard drive any day just because I know it’s more durable than a platter-based hard drive.
While I could care less about what color my storage comes in, Samsung’s at least giving you two options to choose: Deep Black and Alluring Blue. That said, the colors are limited to their capacities — Deep Black is available for 1TB and 2TB models and Alluring Blue for the 250GB and 500GB versions.
Also nice to see in included in the box: two USB cables, one for full-sized (USB-A) to USB-C and one USB-C to USB-C cable.
Good design and colors aside, the only thing that really matters for a portable SSD is its performance. Namely, how fast does it read and write files? Well, let me tell you…
Even faster speeds
Compared to the previous T1 and T3, which maxed out at 450 megabytes per second (MB/s) for read and write speeds, the T5 boasts 20 percent faster speeds of 540 megabytes (MB/s). Faster is always better when it comes to storage.
It’s fast AF and I was able to transfer 15GB batch of files using the latest 2017 5K 27-inch iMac to and from the T5 in just around 30 seconds, 7 seconds faster than with the T1. The extra speed may not seem like much but when you’re transferring tens of gigs of data, they add up.
That speed is also where you have to pay attention to your computer hardware. To achieve anything remotely close to 540 MB/s, your computer needs to support USB 3.1 Gen 2 and have UASP mode (which enables faster data read/write speeds) enabled.
Newer computers like the new 5K iMac supports both so you can get transfer speeds of 500 MB/s and more, but if you’re connecting the T5 to an older computer with an older version of USB, expect to see things slow down.
Still, even if you’ve got the T5, say, connected via USB 3.0, it’s still Sonic the Hedgehog fast and way quicker than waiting for a hard drive to spin. With the T5, we’re talking less than 30 seconds to transfer a massive 10GB video versus anywhere between 2-3 minutes with a portable hard drive.
Also like Samsung’s previous models, the T5 comes with AES 256-bit hardware data encryption which is the same kind of data protection the NSA uses. If it’s secure enough for them, it’s good enough for you. You can sleep easy knowing that without the right password, if your data falls into the wrong hands, it’ll be safely scrambled up from prying eyes.
Perfect for YouTubers
When I reviewed the T1 in 2015, I said only professionals who absolutely need the faster speeds should buy the pricey little SSD. While that may have been true two years ago, it’s just not the case anymore.
With all the data we toss around (high resolution photos, 4K videos, huge project files, etc.), it’s more important than ever that we don’t waste our lives away waiting for our digital files to transfer from one place to device to another.
The tradeoff for speed, which is so crucial to delivering online content nowadays, is a hefty price tag. Samsung’s selling the 250GB T5 for $130, 500GB for $200, 1TB for $400, and 2TB for $800. The pricing is not for the faint-hearted that’s for sure. But ask anyone, like a successful YouTuber, who needs to edit huge 4K video clips on the fly, if the speed is worth it and they’ll you: yes, yes, it is.