Samsung T5 Portable SSD Review

An excellent portable SSD for storage on the go

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4.7

Samsung T5 Portable SSD

Samsung T5 Portable SSD

Lifewire / Jordan Oloman

What We Like

  • Compact design

  • Lightning fast transfer speeds

  • Compatible with multiple devices

What We Don't Like

  • Smaller storage space than other hard drives

  • Outdated aesthetic

The Samsung’s T5 Portable SSD is easy to recommend to any content creator or photographer looking to find a compact external solid-state drive that doesn’t cut any corners.

4.7

Samsung T5 Portable SSD

Samsung T5 Portable SSD

Lifewire / Jordan Oloman

When you’re looking for storage solutions for your files, you may think the bigger, the better. Samsung’s T5 Portable SSD will change your mind. This lightweight solid-state drive is the sequel to the company’s popular T3 SSD, boasting a number of tweaks that make it easy to conduct speedy file transfers on the go. We’ve been testing the T5 to figure out just who this device is best suited for. 

Samsung T5 Portable SSD
Lifewire / Jordan Oloman

Design: Sleek and light 

The T5 is a humble device at 2.3 x 3 inches (HW), and will easily slip in your back pocket. It’s about half the size of most smartphones, making it easy to carry around wherever you go. Truthfully, we couldn’t quite believe how small it was when we unboxed it. Weighing in at just 1.6 ounces, it’s a lightweight drive that looks fairly unassuming. It’s definitely designed for the traveling creator rather than someone who works from home. 

It’s about half the size of most smartphones, making it easy to carry around wherever you go.

With curved edges and a light blue color, the T5 is channeling the aesthetic of a mid-2000s iPod which feels a little outdated. It’s not the nicest looking device, but it looks better than most other hard drives we’ve tested. Due to its small form, you really won’t notice it most of the time. It’s also a shock-resistant, so you don’t have to worry too much about dropping it. The three-year limited warranty is in line with the rest of the industry. 

Ports: Singular USB-C, compatible cables  

There is a lone port on the T5 SSD, one USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 port. What’s brilliant is that Samsung package both a USB-A and USB-C cable in the box for you to use. This means that it’s able to attach to a multitude of devices, from smartphones to laptops and most things in between. 

Samsung T5 Portable SSD
 Lifewire / Jordan Oloman

Setup Process: Plug-and-play with built-in encryption 

After unboxing the T5, all you have to do is take whichever cable suits your needs and plug it into your device. Say if you have a MacBook or an iPad Pro, you’re looking for the USB-C cable. For most other devices, USB-A should suit your needs. It is fully plug-and-play, not requiring any prior setup to get going. Compared to other external hard drives which require an external power input to use, the T5 is much easier to transport regardless of if you use it at home or on the go. 

An optional part of the setup is using the built-in encryption software to secure your files. You can install a piece of software known as the Samsung Portable SSD Software to encrypt your device with 256-bit AES via a password. This is all very straightforward, and the software is already installed on the device itself. Simply click on the icon once you’ve plugged it in and it pops up in your File Manager. Set a password you won’t forget and you’re good to go.

Performance: Blazing fast read/write speeds 

The T5 is a portable SSD, which means file transfers are much faster than your standard hard drive. The tradeoff is in storage capacity. The T5 is compact and lightning fast, but storage tends to cost more. Our review model held 500GB, which isn’t the best if you’re working on gigantic 4K video projects or other demanding tasks. However, you can upgrade the capacity to 1 or 2 TB, for a corresponding increase in price if you really need it. 

The T5 is a portable SSD, which means file transfers are much faster than your standard hard drive.

The T5’s listed transfer speed is 540 MB/s, which Samsung claims to be 4.9 times faster than similar hard disk drives due to its solid-state architecture. Our tests weren’t far off the mark, CrystalDiskMark benchmark tests put the T5’s read speed at a whopping 434.8 MB/s and its write speed at 433.1 MB/s. In another test, we timed how long it took to transfer 2GB worth of files using the T5. Samsung’s pocket powerhouse managed it in 8 seconds, twice as fast as the hard drives we tested. 

Price: Higher speed, higher cost 

At $129.99 (MSRP) the T5 is more than double the price of the 1TB My Passport from Western Digital. The difference comes down to the architecture. A solid-state drive like the T5 will always be faster than a hard drive like the My Passport, but you do end up paying a premium for the speed. 

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Competition: Faster than the rest, but less storage 

As mentioned before, the T5 is faster than all its hard drive rivals. For a direct comparison, the My Passport managed a respectable 135.8 Mb/s read speed and a 122.1 Mb/s write speed in CrystalDiskMark. Solid, but it pales in comparison to the T5’s speeds of up to 540 Mb/s. 

The whole point of buying a portable hard drive is to transfer files with speed and security. If you’re the kind of person who hates waiting for files to transfer, you can practically quadruple the transfer speed by picking up the T5 over other cheaper hard drives. The higher cost is off-putting, but the time you save may be worth it. 

At $99, you may be tempted by the Seagate Backup Plus which boasts a much more appealing 4 TB size, but again, it can’t touch the Samsung T5 when it comes to form factor and read/write speed.

Final Verdict

Unbeatable speed and portability. 

Samsung’s T5 Portable SSD is best-in-class for read/write speeds, security, and form factor. You can take it anywhere in your back pocket and offers a great amount of bang for your buck despite the somewhat high price.

Specs

  • Product Name Samsung T5 Portable SSD
  • Product Brand Samsung
  • UPC 887276226316
  • Price $129.99
  • Product Dimensions 2.3 x 0.4 x 3 in.
  • Storage 500 GB
  • Connectivity Options USB-C & A
  • Warranty Three-year limited
  • Waterproof No
  • Ports USB-C
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