Samsung Portable SSD T5 Review: Speedy, Durable External Storage

Introducing The Samsung Portable SSD T5

The Samsung Portable SSD T3 was a compact, durable, lightweight, and fast external solid state storage device, that offered killer performance when it launched. The T3 has been out for quite a while, however, and Samsung has since released a few newer types of flash memory, which are better suited to low-power, portable storage devices. As such, the company decided to tweak the T3’s design, update it with newer 64-layer 3D V-NAND flash memory, massage the firmware, and the brand-new Samsung Portable SSD T5 was born.

We’ve got one of the new Portable SSD T5’s on-hand and have some benchmarks to share with you on the pages ahead. Before we get to the numbers though, check out the Samsung Portable SSD T5’s main features and specifications and take a gander at the drive itself. It’s somewhat non-descript on the outside, but dang is this thing fast for an external USB storage device...
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Samsung Portable SSD T5
Specifications & Features
  • Capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
  • Interface: Compatible with USB 3.1 Gen2 (10Gbps), Backwards Compatible
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 74 x 57.3 x 10.5 mm
  • Weight: 51g (*The exact weight of the product may vary by capacity)
  • Transfer Speed: Up to 540 MB/sec. (*Performance may vary depending on host)
  • UASP Mode: Supported
  • Encryption: AES 256-bit hardware encryption
  • Security: Samsung Portable SSD Software (Windows, Mac OS X 10.9+, Android 4.4+)
  • Certifications: CE, BSMI, KC, VCCI, C-tick, FCC, IC, UL, TUV, CB, EAC
  • RoHS Compliance: RoHS2
  • Warranty: Limited 3-year
  • Pricing: $129 - $799, Find Them At Amazon

samsung t5 portable ssd 1
Samsung will be offering the Portable SSD T5 in four capacities, ranging from 250GB on up to 2TB – we’ve got a 2TB model on hand here. All of the drives in the family feature the same enclosure, though multiple color options will be available (see the gallery below for some additional images). The drives feature a USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface and are outfitted with the same Samsung controller as the previous-gen T3, but the flash memory has been updated in the T5 with 64-layer 3D V-NAND and the firmware tweaked accordingly.
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Samsung rates the drives for speeds “up to 540MB/sec”, which puts performance in-line with some of the best internal SATA solid state drives available, and much higher than most other external storage solutions. As you’ll see a little later, these numbers aren’t conservative in the least. This thing is a little speedster.
t5 encryption 1 encryption t5 2a

The Portable SSD T5 also has built in support for AES 256-bit encryption, which is enabled through a simple piece of software called “Samsung Portable SSD”. Three versions of the tool are included on the drive – one for Windows, one for Android, and another for Mac OSX.
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The T5’s enclosure measures 74 x 57.3 x 10.5 mm, with rounded edges on the sides, and consists entirely of anodized aluminum. At one end of the drive, there is a single USB Type-C connection and a small, blue activity / power LED. And at the other end is model and serial number information. On the top is a Samsung logo with the product name, and on the bottom you'll find some “T5 - Samsung Portable SSD” branding.

Overall, the T5 has a clean look and feels durable in the hand, though it is very lightweight. The enclosure also provides some level of shock resistance and is designed to improve thermals to minimize throttling and protect the drive’s internals.
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Included with the Samsung Portable SSD T5 is some basic documentation and a couple of cables – a 12” USB Type-C to Type-A cable and a 12” USB Type-C to Type-C cable, which makes the drives compatible with virtually any system without having to use any adapters or dongles. Samsung's software is included on the drive itself.

We should also mention that Samsung warranties these drives for 3-years as well.

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