Review: Samsung T5 Portable SSD 1TB
Reviewed by: J.Reynolds
Provided by: Samsung
Welcome to Myce’s review of the Samsung T5 Portable SSD (hereafter referred to as the T5).
The Samsung T5 is a highly portable, high speed storage device, which could be used for carrying large amounts of data from one location to another; simply transfer the data you want to take to the new location onto the T5, stick the T5 in your pocket, arrive at the other location; plug the T5 into the new host PC or laptop, then copy the files over to the new host PC or laptop at lightning speed.
My myce.com colleague Wendy Robertson reviewed the previous version of the Samsung Portable SSD, the T3, and found it to be an outstanding product (You can read Wendy’s review of the T3 by clicking here). The T5 takes a step forward by providing support for connection to a computer via a USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) port, whereas the T3 is limited to a USB 3.0 (5Gbps) connection.
The T5 also introduces the use of Samsung’s fourth generation 64-layer MLC V-NAND.
Like the T3, the T5 is available in capacities of 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB. We thank Samsung for loaning us a 1TB model for our review.
Let’s start by having a look at the T5’s packaging –
Usefully, the T5 is delivered with two USB cables, a USB Type C to Type C, and a USB Type C to Type A. The installation files for the Samsung Portable SSD software are preloaded onto the drive. The T5 itself connects to a cable using a Type C connector.
My first impressions were very positive – the T5 is a neat bit of kit.
Here is Samsung’s specification for the T5 –
Here is a picture of the T5 plugged into my Samsung Galaxy TabPro S laptop/tablet, using the Type C to Type C cable. The T5 is sitting on a StarTech.com USB 3.1 Gen 2 External SATA Enclosure, which gives a feel for the T5’s dinky form factor –
The T5 end uses a Type C connector –
If you have a modern PC/laptop it is quite likely that you will already have a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port available, but if you don’t then you can easily add USB 3.1 Gen 2 support by installing an add in card (if you have a spare PCIe x4 slot available) and many such add in cards are available priced around GBP£ 25-30. I understand there are also options to add USB 3.1 Gen 2 through the use of a SATA Express motherboard connection.
I used two platforms for my performance testing:
Firstly, a Z170 based Desktop PC, running Windows 10 with a Core i7 6700K processor over clocked to 4.7GHz. For providing USB 3.1 support I use a StarTech USB 3.1 Gen 2 PCIe add in card (which uses an AS Media chipset). I expect the performance results using this platform will be nigh-on as good as it gets.
Secondly, a Samsung Galaxy TabPro S laptop/tablet, running Windows 10. I don’t expect the performance results using this platform will be as high but I feel they will be indicative of what can be expected from a T5 when it is attached to a modern, highly mobile platform that includes a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port. Note that the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S uses an Intel Core M3-6Y30 mobile processor (900MHz with Turbo Boost to 2.2 GHz).
For testing I use two of my favorite benchmarks the Atto Disk Benchmark and AS SSD. To give readers a feel for how the T5’s performance translates into the real world I use the FastCopy utility to copy a Bluray movie from an NVMe drive to the T5.
Performance Testing – Results using a Desktop PC –
To get started let’s have a look at what the Crystal Disk Info utility says about the T5 –
You can see that the use of the UASP driver is confirmed.
UASP is a computer protocol used to move data to and from USB devices. It uses the standard SCSI command set and generally provides faster support than the older USB ‘BOT’ drivers. In particular UASP enables enhanced command queuing and out-of-order completions for USB mass-storage devices, and enables TRIM (UNMAP in SCSI terminology) operation for SSDs.
Atto using Desktop PC
An impressive result, showing a peek Read transfer rate exceeding Samsung’s specification of 540 MB/s.
For interest here is the Atto result when the T5 is attached via USB 3.0 using the same Desktop PC –
You can see that the T5 performs very well even if your computer is limited to support for USB 3.0.
AS SSD using Desktop PC
Another impressive result which in particular shows excellent scaling in the high queue depth, ‘4K-64Thrd’ (Queue Depth 64), 4K Reads and Writes.
Real World Test
To give you a feel for how the benchmark performance of the T5 translates into real world experiences, I used FastCopy to transfer a Bluray movie (22.1GB of data) from a super fast NVMe based PCIe drive to the T5.
Here is the result –
Whoosh…. 45.8 seconds to transfer 22.1GB of data. That’s fast enough for me :o)
For interest, the same movie takes 2 minutes 21 seconds to copy to a Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200rpm HDD running in an external enclosure and attached via USB 3.0.
Performance Testing using Samsung TabPro S Laptop/Tablet –
AS SSD using Samsung Galaxy TabPro S
You can see that, as expected, the result is not as high as was achieved using the Desktop PC. Nevertheless, it is, in my opinion, an excellent result which can be compared favourably to the results for the Samsung TabPro S’s internal 128GB Liteon system SSD, which follows –
Samsung Portable SSD Software
The software is user friendly and installation files are preinstalled (for Windows, MACs and Android computers) on the drive. Simply fire up the correct installer and launch the software. Here are some screenshots –
The first time you plug the T5 in the Security Mode is disabled.
On the settings screen you can change the device name and set up a password (and thereby enable the encryption of data).
The software now shows the Security Mode is enabled.
When the T5 is plugged in to a computer that does not have the security software installed (or on a computer that does, but when the password has not been entered via the software) then only a small partition that includes the software installation files can be accessed, as shown above in Windows File Explorer.
It is a simple matter to enter the password and unlock the whole of the drive.
The software also enables the updating of the software and the devices firmware (although I understand that the firmware can only be updated from a Windows based computer)
Put simply, the Samsung T5 Portable SSD is a fast, classy, highly desirable bit of kit (but a bit pricey).
Support for connection via USB 3.1 Gen 2 has delivered a useful performance improvement over its predecessor the T3.
I found the Samsung T5 1TB available at scan.co.uk for GBP£ 384.98 (and the 500GB for £192.49 and the 250GB for £125.99). I expect UK prices will drop closer to T3 prices in a few months.
I am pleased to award the Samsung T5 our highest rating of ‘Outstanding’ and name it as an "Editor’s Choice".