Our digital lives are made up of files and folders of content we create, or things created by others. The more digital devices we add to our lives, the more storage we need. While most of our desktop storage has moved to the cloud, there are aspects of our lives that simply require local storage.
When I had the opportunity to review the 500GB Samsung’s T5 SSD, I considered where it’d best fit in my life. With a couple of hard drives in my PC, one of them being 10TB, I’m not short on local storage. Then I considered the fact my TV (coincidently also a Samsung), has always had the ability to plug in storage and record TV shows DVR-style. I also have an Xbox One X that’s basically out of space, with the 1TB drive quickly consumed by the now 60-100GB 4K games.
The final opportunity to use this drive is in a new car, one specific car, the Tesla Model 3 for Sentry Mode recording. While the car isn’t here yet, the other two are great options to deploy a drive like this, given its efficient size, as well as the obvious option of just throwing it in a backpack for a travel drive. Given many laptops still ship with 256GB SSDs, having an extra 500GB to play with is definitely adventagous, especially if you’re dealing with 4K GoPro footage on the road.
DESIGN AND FEATURES
Hidden or on show, this looks the goods
Samsung’s T5 drives come in a range of different colours. Our review unit was the matte Red in colour and with the aluminium finish and curved body makes for a pretty stylish drive. There’s also a black, blue and even a rose gold version avaialble. The reason Samsung would offer the drives in an array of colours like this is that they understand there’ll be certain applications where these drives will be on show.
As I travel to different media events, dealing with Gigabytes of GoPro Hero 7 footage, chances are, I’ll have my laptop and the SSD, out on the table, on show. If you’ve invested in a great looking laptop, naturally you’ll want your peripherals to be equally stylish.
The size of the drive is efficient at just 74mm x 57.3mm x 10.5mm. This means it’d actually fit in a large pocket in your jeans or jacket, so if you’re a photographer and going ot show clients a gallery of wedding photos, this could be perfect a perfect fit for that quick application where you’re in and out of the office often. In terms of portability, your mouse likely weighs more, with the drive tipping the scales at just 51 grams.
In terms of the connectivity, there’s just a single USB 3.1 (2nd gen) port that’s good for 10Gbps as long as your supplying device is capable of it. Naturally if you need to connect this to a USB 2.0 port, you can, but your speed will be limited.
The drive supports AES 256-bit hardware encryption, so if you want to Bitlocker the drive, you certainly can.
Naturally with an SSD, there’s no moving parts and the metal body means Samsung is confident that the T5 can handle most drops of up to 2 meters. Don’t go dropping your drive to try this, but it is great to know that should the worst happen when your getting it out of your bag, it has a far higher likelyhood of surviving than your phone.
How do it perform ?
Industrial design is important in our technology products, but the decision to buy a drive like this is likely driven by performance.
With the T5, you can rapidly transfer 4K videos, movies, games and other massive files. Thanks to Samsung’s continued investment in storage technology, their V-NAND flash memory boasts amazing speed and security. Leveraging a USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface, Samsung claim that you can acheive transfer rates of up to 540 MB/s, or around 4.9x faster than external spinning drives.
To reach maximum transfer speeds of 540 MB/s, you’ll need a device and cables that speed, with the USAP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) enabled.
My first test was with my PC, a Lenovo Y10 Cube running an Intel Core i7-6700 CPU @3.4 GHz, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, running Windows 10 Pro x64 edition. While the speeds reached were the 540MB/s, a sequential read of 438MB/s and very close write speed of 434MB/s is quick enough to transfer large volumes of data quickly. Often I’d grab a coffee and the transfer of 10s of gigabytes of data was completed.
Not content with that test, I then connected the drive to a newer HP EliteBook x360 1040 G5 running a Core i5-8350U CPU at 1.7GHz, with 8GB of RAM. Speeds here were a little faster at 445MB/s on sequential read speeds. When it comes to write speeds, the drive managed 439MB/s in this setup.
Performance was measurements using CrystalDiskMark 6.0.2.
Not everything’s perfect
In terms of complaints, I really don’t have any and in a product review, that’s rare. Basically the product does what it’s advertised to do and looks good doing it. Samsung have done a great job on this and it wasn’t long ago drives like this were twice the price for this size storage, so in recent years, external SSD design has come a long way.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
How much and when can you get one ?
The Samsung T5 500GB is avaialble now for A$169.00 at outlets like JB Hi-Fi. If you want to double the capacity, that 1TB SSD is available for a straight doubling of the price $339. This gives you a decision to make, should you have the risk of a drive dying and get 2x 500GB drives, or just take the convenince of having everything on one drive. That’s a decision for you. The key benefit of having the two separate drives is that they could be distributed to different parts of your life, i.e. your car’s dashcam recordings and your TVs DVR function.
As you can see from some of the example use cases I found for the drive, there’s still plenty of reasons to consider a portable, well designed SSD with great performance. While most of our storage is now in the cloud on the likes of OneDrive, GoogleDrive, Dropbox and others, these drives are a fairly affordable addition to your life, or even perfect for a gift.
Given there’s no price discount for buying the larger, 1TB versions, my tip would be to go for the 500GB and grab a second if you find you need more. Like SD cars in DSLRs, this also helps reduce the risk of data loss in the event the drive was to die. Thankfully SSDs today are fairly robust and whether you choose to travel with them, or park them in your TV’s lowline unit, their use is so diverse, it’s something I’d definitely recommend you consider.
The design may not make a big difference to everyone, but I do appreciate that Samsung took the time to make a drive that looks great, so if you pull it out at a coffee shop and connect to your sexy ultrabook, it’ll look great and you’ll look like a pro.