In the market for some compact and fast portable storage? Then the Samsung T5 may just be what you need.
In the box
Included with the T5 you get
- One USB Type C to Type A cable
- One USB Type C to Type C cable
- The documents
So its pretty minimal, but if you don’t have a laptop or PC with a Type C port, its nice to have a Type A bundled with the drive too. This means it will work with pretty much any PC, Macbook, laptop etc that has a USB port.
Design and Build
Samsung have kept things pretty clean with the T5. I remember the T3 being a little less appealing in its design, but the T5 is clean and very minimal. Its also really compact too just measuring in at 74 x 57.3 x 10.5mm so it won’t take up much room when you take it with you. Just to give you an idea how compact it is, its actually smaller than a standard debit or business card. Pretty impressive. Its also pretty light too as it weighs just 51 grams. So its highly compact and portable.
I even quite like the “Alluring Blue” colour too, its a bit different from what I was expecting but its nice. On the front of the drive there is the Samsung logo and model, the font is tasteful and doesn’t stick out too much. On the opposing side is some more tastefully done branding.
Its also decently made as well. The outer casing is Aluminium and feels very nice, it is touch slippery though so keep that in mind. It does sound a touch hollow and it makes a very distinct sound if you do the tap test. But this doesn’t really impact performance at all. What I will say though, is that if you do so happen to drop this, I’m not sure how well it will survive. Samsung claim that it can withstand a drop up to 2 metres but I’m not really willing to test that claim. But if you are are slightly clumsy, you may want to look at an even more rugged SSD instead.
On the main side is the USB Type C port and LED indicator. These are surrounded by soft touch finish over the metal housing. As much as I like the metal finish, having this protective covering makes sense as when you use the drive, it won’t damage the housing but rather the finish. The other side makes way for all the information like the drives serial number, model number, capacity, CE mark and working voltage. I have to say I’m glad Samsung put it here as it keeps the rest of the drive looking clean.
Finally to the cables and they are great. They’re super thick, robust feeling and I don’t see like they would break anytime soon. They’re a decent length too, the Type A to C is 56cm (560mm) and the C to C is the exact same but comes with a handy velcro management strap.
The T5 first of all comes in four different sizes. The first being the 250GB model (Blue) and this one will set you back £115. The model I have is the 500GB (Blue) and will cost you £170. The bigger models are 1TB and 2TB which come in a lovely deep black. The 1TB is £323 and the 2TB is £688. So inn terms of price to what you get, I think the 500GB is about the best. Its plenty big enough for video files if you edit video on the go and its also plenty for all your photos too, documents and pretty much anything you may need.
Its no slouch in the specs department either. Its using Samsungs V-NAND flash memory with a USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface. This is supposed to be 4.9x faster than a traditional external HDD with speeds up to 540 MB/s. The T5 is also boasting some good security too with AES 256-bit hardware encryption, this is an optional safety feature that allows you to password protect your drive and keep all your data safe. You don’t have to use this feature, but if you say forget your drive in a Starbucks, its better to have the ability to secure the drive that to not. But again that will down you, but its a very reassuring feature to have.
That’s not all, the T5 also has some pre-installed software that allows you to control the drive beyond simple drag and drop. The software allows you to set a password and update the firmware. You can also download the Samsung app and use the drive with your phone. I have tested it with my LG G6 and it works fine. I have seen some reviews that say that it doesn’t work with some devices, so it may not work with yours. So check the link here, to see if your device is on the list.
To test the T5 I compared it against a few other drives to show you approximately how it performs. I used Crystal disk mark as the tool to test and here is what I found.
Which is great and here is how it performed against a selection of my drives.
Vs Internal drives it massively beat out my Seagate Firecuda Hybrid drive by quite some margin. Against my Sandisk SATA based SSD it performed great too actually beating it for write performance. The only drive it couldn’t compete against was my NVMe based Adata M.2. This isn’t surprising as those are some of the fastest drives you can pick up at the minute. But If you are on the go and only have a HDD in your laptop, this will massively outperform that and even if you have an internal SSD, it comes very close in synthetic results.
I also compared the T5 to some typical none SSD based external drives that you might use for file backups and no surprises, it beat them by quite a lot. You can see below the drastic difference between the T5 and the older style mechanical drives. But does this turn of speed translate into real world performance.
Real world testing – PC
Testing the drive was time consuming as I had a lot of data to gather, but I also did some actual work with the drive as well and well it impressed. Firstly I pretty much used it for work. I loaded some RAW photos from my camera to edit from the T5 and well editing off the drive was a breeze and was essentially the same as if the drive were plugged into the PC via a SATA connection. So if you are a photographer and need to get some Photoshop work done, this drive can easily handle it.
I then tried some video editing too, unfortunately I didn’t have any 4K footage to test but I have read that it will handle 4K video no problem at all. I tested it with some 1080p video from my camera and again it performed without fault. Adding effects, text, transitions, grading, colour correcting, scrubbing and playback were all dealt with and with no fuss at all. Again if I hadn’t had the drive plugged in I would’ve not known the difference. This is a good thing as it means you can get your work done without any hiccups or slow downs to effect your workflow.
Onto some numbers now and these are probably similar to what you’d experience in a real world situation. I know synthetic benchmarks are all well and good, but its the real world tests that show how a drive really performs. So I run a fair few tests to see how well it did.
Test 1 was a transfer of a 20.1GB folder with various files, music, video, documents etc. I transferred it to all my drives using the Type C connection on my motherboard. But its worth noting that the speeds maybe different for you and you could potentially see better or worse results depending on your hardware. Also to note the speeds given are an average based upon calculating them using the size of the transfer (21645MB) and time taken (minutes and seconds).
A: T5 to SSD – Time taken = 1 min 7 seconds Speed = 337MB/s
B: SSD to T5 – Time taken = 1 min 1 seconds Speed = 357MB/s
C: T5 to NVMe M.2 – Time taken = 1 min 3 seconds Speed = 354MB/s
D: NVMe M.2 to T5 – Time taken = 59 seconds Speed = 366MB/s
E: T5 to Hybrid – Time taken = 4 minute 14 seconds Speed = 87MB/s
F: Hybrid to T5 – Time taken = 3 minute 44 seconds Speed = 105MB/s
Test 2 was the same as test one but using USB 3.0 instead. This is to simulate if you don’t have a Type C port on your laptop.
G: T5 to SSD – Time taken = 1 min 25 seconds Speed = 288MB/s
H: SSD to T5 – Time taken = 1 min 16 seconds Speed = 313MB/s
I: T5 to NVMe M.2 – Time taken = 1 min 9 seconds Speed = 343MB/s
J: NVMe M.2 to T5 – Time taken = 1 min 12 seconds Speed = 337MB/s
K: T5 to Hybrid – Time taken = 4 minute 10 seconds Speed = 88MB/s
L: Hybrid to T5 – Time taken = 2 minute 52 seconds Speed = 143MB/s
These test results were as expected apart from the Hybrid worked faster via USB 3.0 than it did Type C. I’m not 100% sure why and I can’t find any information on the possible cause, but I did re-do the tests and got almost identical results every time. But you can see that even with USB 3.0 the speeds you get are highly impressive.
Test 3, the final test, was to see how the SSD compares against a traditional none SSD based external HDD. So I ran the same test as before and here are the numbers. I used the same WD drive from the previous test and also used USB 3.0 as the drive isn’t compatible with Type C.
M: WD to SSD – Time taken = 3 min 29 seconds Speed = 109MB/s
N: SSD to WD – Time taken = 3 min 59 seconds Speed = 100MB/s
O: WD to NVMe M.2 – Time taken = 3 min 27 seconds Speed = 110MB/s
P: NVMe M.2 to WD – Time taken = 3 min 56 seconds Speed = 101MB/s
Q: WD to Hybrid – Time taken = 4 minute 13 seconds Speed = 87MB/s
R: Hybrid to WD – Time taken = 4 minute 44 seconds Speed = 81MB/s
So from the numbers you can see that unsurprinsgly the SSD is quicker. But I will also say that this drive would struggle with editing 4K footage but it coped decently with 1080p. It was much slower and didn’t respond to my actions as quickly as the T5, so if you do need a drive to edit video from, an SSD based one like the T5 is far superior.
Finally to gaming and yes you can game from this drive. You won’t see any frame rate increases but you will experience quicker loading times and just generally a more fluid experience over a older HDD. A HDD will still work and you can game from one, but an SSD based drive like this is a more enjoyable experience as you don’t have to wait as long for your games to load.
Real world testing – Smartphone
Now I will admit that the app isn’t that great as it wouldn’t allow me to transfer anything it kept ejecting the drive, but if you use file manager it worked a treat and I was easily able to transfer photos from my phones storage to the drive. I could then look back at them on my PC or laptop. This is great if you shoot a lot of photos and video as your phones storage can quickly run out and with this you could backup or move your photos/videos onto a larger capacity drive.
A good scenario for this is if your on holiday and you’ve taken tonnes of photos and videos and you get the dreaded “Storage almost full” notification, you can simply get the drive, plug it in and swap your stuff onto it. Keep in mind though you’ll need a compatible smartphone for this to work and I’m not sure if it will work with an iPhone. But with a compatible phone its great. Transfer speeds are snappy and even transferring video didn’t take too long.
Downside to this though is the lack of a pouch or protective case. I mean it would have been a nice inclusion as I really don’t want to damage the lovely finish and if you do take the drive with you, it could end up getting scratched or worse. So if Samsung could sell or even include a pouch/case with the next one, that would be great for those that travel a lot.
So is a portable SSD like the T5 worth it, well that depends. If you’re a creative type that often edits RAW photos, videos, runs a website or does other things from a portable drive, then having that extra speed does help a lot. It speeds up workflow and reduces the amount of time you have to wait for the drive to perform its tasks. So in that regard, yes.
On the other hand, if you only need a basic backup drive then a regular external HDD would be a wiser investment as you get much more space for your money. Of course its slower, but just for backing up photos, videos, documents etc they are fine.
Back to the T5 now and its pretty much without fault. I mean there have been a few cases of others having compatibility issues when using on Android, but other than that its a fantastic drive. Its well made, stylish, very portable, secure and fast. One slight omission is a case or pouch, it would have been nice to keep the drive looking pristine, but its by no means a deal breaker.
Price wise its £170 and that is quite well priced for 500GB, some rivals are cheaper and some a lot more expensive so this sits in the middle ground. Given its price and size the cost per GB (GB/£) is 0.34 which is more than an internal SSD (£135 – 500GB) at roughly 0.26 (depending on model). But then factor in the cost of a drive enclosure (£13 for Type C based), the extra bulk and the reduced reliability that brings, then the all in one T5 makes more sense as it works out at an extra £20. So yes, you could save £20, but the alternative is far less appealing as you could research for yourself. The T5 though offers all what an internal based SSD does, but with the extra degree of portability, flexibility, ease of use and security.
So, definitively, is it worth it?.… Yes.
Pick one up here via Amazon UK
Samsung Portable SSD T5 500GB