Samsung T5 External SSD Review

October 12, 2017 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Samsung may be known around these parts for creating smartphones and tablets, but the truth is, the South Korean company makes just about any electronic you can think of. And yes, that does include external hard drives. Samsung’s external SSD drives have been very popular, the Samsung T3 was used by loads of creators, as it allows for very fast read and write speeds, while still being pretty small. Now the Samsung T5 is the successor to that hard drive, and while it may mostly look the same, it does have some very important upgrades, like even faster write speeds.

The Samsung T5 is available in four models and two colors. The smaller two which are 250GB and 500GB, are available in Alluring Blue, while the larger 1TB and 2TB models are available in deep black. The model that we have here is the 500GB which is in Alluring Blue. Other specs include up to 540MB/s transfer speed, and it dues support USB 3.1 Gen 2 up to 10Gbps. Samsung has included some top-notch security and encryption, it supports AES 256-bit Hardware Encryption, which you can choose to enable or not. It is also shock resistant, and can withstand drops of up to 2 meters or about 6.6 feet. Finally, it’s a pretty compact drive, as you can tell from the pictures, but it measures in at 74 x 57.3 x 10.5mm and it weighs just 51g. This makes it a great drive to take with you when you are traveling. Finally, int he box, Samsung provides both a USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-C to USB-A cable, and that’s because this is a USB-C SSD, like its predecessor was.

The T5 starts at $127.99 for the 250GB model, and goes all the way up to $799 for the 2TB. Our 500GB model here is priced at $199 and appears to be a good middle ground. Obviously you could get something like the Western Digital My Cloud Home with 4TB of space for about the same price. However the big difference there is that this is an SSD drive, which is much faster than a HDD, and since it’s much newer than a HDD, it does cost a bit more. These prices are actually in line with other SSD drives.

Now while theoretical speeds of the Samsung T5 are up to 540MB/s, you won’t see those all of the time. But, it is still plenty fast. Taking a look at the speed test above, we got write speeds of around 479.1MB/s and read of around 507.1MB/s. That is still plenty fast, and faster than most other SSD’s out there, including Samsung’s previous drive, the T3. For most users, this is going to be fast enough to do things like transferring files, keeping and using photos stored on the T5, and even rendering videos to the Samsung T5. It had no problems with video being rendered from Adobe Premiere Pro, which is exactly what you’d expect. You could, if you really wanted to, load an operating system onto this drive and have a much faster operating system on your laptop. This is useful if your laptop doesn’t have a SSD inside, if you are still using a HDD inside, then this is a good way to speed things up.

Speeds aren’t everything when it comes to the Samsung T5 though. Storage is another big thing. And where Samsung does say 500GB of space, typically that means you’ll have around 495GB of so of space, but nope, you get the full 500GB of space, even with Samsung’s own software installed – which likely means that it is a 512GB model, but being marketed as a 500GB SSD. We used this for storing photos and videos, and it worked just as you’d expect. Plugging it into either a MacBook Pro or a Chromebook using USB-C, we had the same experience, which was quick access to our library of photos.

Now, before we wrap up, it’s also important to talk about the portability of the Samsung T5. This is an external hard drive that is powered by USB only. Which means you don’t have a power supply attached to the T5, which makes it great for traveling, as you can simply plug it into your laptop and you’re good to go. Samsung does offer up a pretty nice cable with it, that comes with a velcro tie and is actually a decent length (if I had to guess, probably around 3.3-feet long, or about the length of the USB cable that comes with your smartphone). The T5 is small enough to where we could stick it in a pocket in our bag when traveling, and it adds virtually no weight to our bag, nor does it take up any space really. All great points for those that do a lot of travel and need an external SSD available to them.

As mentioned, the Samsung T5 starts at $127.99, and yeah that is a bit expensive for an external hard drive these days, with HDD’s being so cheap. But if you are looking for a hard drive that will be future proof for a few years, that also has fast read/write speeds and is super small, this is definitely where to look. The Alluring Blue color here is also quite the looker.

Buy the Samsung T5