There is no denying Samsung is the market leader in consumer solid state storage. Over the last few years, they have managed to pull away from a large portion of the market in performance and capacity. On consumer platforms, they offer both the 960 Pro for enthusiasts and the EVO for mainstream and for users that still want the best 2.5" drives, I often recommend the 850 Pro. Samsung is looking to do that same thing with the portable storage market, and while they don't have a presence with high-capacity hard drives, they're looking to take on capacity the way any market leader would, with high-capacity SSDs.
Samsung and SanDisk have gone back and forth over the last few years deploying portable SSDs one after the other. A few years back this started with the first portable SSD from Samsung, the T1, and last year they unveiled the T3. That party was interrupted by SanDisk launching the Extreme 500 and 900 SSDs, the latter being our first look at true USB 3.1 Gen 2 performance.
Samsung is now back with a new solution a little over a year from the T3. This solution takes on the odd number naming scheme and launches today as the Portable SSD T5. Samsung sent over both 500GB and 2TB capacities for this review, but they do have 250GB and 1TB options as well. Performance is specified at 540 MB/s read/write, and like the T3, it uses a USB-C connection, powered by USB 3.1 Gen 2 technology, enabling higher performance. The enclosure has moved from plastic to full aluminum with the 250GB and 500Gb model coming in blue and the 1TB and 2TB in black.
The MSRP for the Samsung Portable SSD T5 in the 500GB flavor comes in at $199.99 while the 2TB solution reaches $799.99. All four capacity options carry a three-year warranty.
The packaging for the T5 carries an image of the drive centered and the capacity is listed at the bottom left.
The back of the packaging lists features and performance of the T5.
The drive itself is delivered in a plastic tray.
Included with the drive, we have a Type-A to Type-C cable and a straight USB-C cable.
Looking at the drive, we first notice the aluminum enclosure. Samsung has placed branding on the side of the drive.
On the end of the drive, we have regulatory info and capacity listed to the right.
The opposite end we find the USB-C connection.
Internally, the design takes advantage of the mSATA form factor. The drive appears to be an 850 EVO or OEM variant.
Above, we have both drives. The 500GB in blue and 1TB in black.
I started with the 500GB drive and Anvils. As you can see, the performance was pretty solid for a portable drive. 1671 for the read score and 1550 on the write score.
Flash Benchmark produced 515 MB/s read and write holding that performance through 4M.
CDM proved to offer more performance, reaching 543 QD32 read and 510 MB/s QD32 write.
The 2TB drive performed similarly reaching 1677 for the read score and 1547 for write. Overall, this drive reached 3224.
We saw 510MB/s read and write for the 2TB model again holding through 4m.
Moving to CDM, we reached 477 MB/s QD1 and 535 QD32 read. Write performance is at 472 QD1 and 509 QD32.
The T5 is a solid drive top to bottom. I'm certainly happy to see Samsung transition to a single piece aluminum design as it lends more to aesthetics and just feels better in hand. Capacity options are solid with mainstream options of 250 and 500GB and high capacity solutions for those wanting a bit more in the 1 and 2TB flavors.
The performance was the best you will get from a SATA SSD in a USB 3.1 Gen 2 enclosure. I could reach 543 MB/s read with the 500GB model and 537 MB/s read with the 2TB. Write performance was similar between drives with the 500GB at 510 MB/s and the 2TB at 509 MB/s.
Add-ons include Samsung software that allows you to password protect your data with 256-bit encryption. Having said what we've said, the T5 is only marginal in its gains from the last generation T3. Performance hasn't changed much but capacity is still there thanks to the internal mSATA form factor, and it does sport an aluminum enclosure.
For those in the market for a portable SSD or if you are going back for seconds, the T5 is a drive that will surely please your wallet while offering consistent performance for years to come. For me, I'm still waiting for Samsung to push the bounds of what a portable SSD can do and take advantage of Thunderbolt 3 or full on Gen 2 USB 3.1, but still, the T5 definitely comes recommended.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus IX Hero (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i7 7700K (buy from Amazon) / (Read our Review)
- Memory: G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Hybrid (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Intel 730 480GB SSD (buy from Amazon) / (Read our Review)
- Secondary Storage: MyDigitalSSD BP5 512GB SSD (buy from Amazon)
- Case: EVGA DG-86 (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750 P2 (buy from Amazon)
- Networking: ASUS PCE-AC88 AC3100 (buy from Amazon)
- Networking: ASUS ROG 10G Express
- Networking: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line: Samsung's Portable SSD T5 external drives are a great solution for those wanting performance and capacity in one package with MSRP offering these capacities under 40 cents per GB.
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