Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD Review: Ridiculously Fast External Storage

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Samsung X5 NVMe TB3 SSD: Cutting-Edge External Storage That's As Fast As Internal Drives

Samsung has been a leader in the solid state storage market for a number of years. Whether you were looking for affordable SATA-based offerings or high-performance NVMe gumsticks, Samsung usually has an answer. And we’re not just talking about internal drives either; Samsung has also released a number of excellent external storage devices, like the T3 and last year’s T5, for example. What Samsung hasn’t had was an ultra-high speed external solid state device that shed the limitations of legacy interfaces – until today, that is. Samsung’s latest storage product, the X5 Thunderbolt Portable SSD, is a durable, attractive, external device packing an NVMe solid state drive and burly Thunderbolt 3 interface.
samsung x5 style
We’ve got the Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD’s full spec and feature highlights detailed below and will dive into its performance on the pages ahead. If you’re in need of some ultra high-speed, portable storage, you’ll want to check this new Samsung Storage product out...

Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD
Specifications & Features

samsung x5 angle
The Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD features a full metal body that feels very sturdy and durable in the hand. The top cover has a gunmetal metallic finish, while the bottom and a small side section near the connector has a bright red, non-slip finish. There is a single Thunderbolt 3 / USB-Type C port on the front edge, flanked by a tiny activity LED to the right and a Thunderbolt logo on the left.
samsung x5 bottom
All told, the Samsung X5 weighs in at about 5.3oz, or 150g and measures 19.7mm high, 119m long, and 62 mm wide. The enclosure has curved edges all around and definitely has a premium look and feel. Samsung did not skimp on the build quality of this enclosure in the least. The chassis is also designed to efficiently dissipate heat to ensure the SSD inside doesn’t throttle, and it’s somewhat shock resistant as well. The Samsung X5 is designed to withstand drops of up to 2 meters, or 6.6 feet - or maximum human fumble height, if you will.
samsung x5 breakout
Inside the X5’s enclosure is an NVMe M.2 SSD, and Thunderbolt 3 interface board. The SSD is in the same class as the Samsung SSD 970 EVO and features the same 64-layer V-NAND and Phoenix controller. The M.2 SSD is installed in an interface built around the Intel Alpine Ridge DSL6340 Thunderbolt 3 controller and drives will be offered in capacities of 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB -- we've got a 1TB drive here for test and review. Altogether, the Samsung X5 is rated for transfer speeds in the neighborhood of 2.8GB/s (reads) and 2.3GB/s (writes).

samsung x5 encryption

The Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD also supports full AES 256-bit hardware encryption and includes the necessary software to enable it for both Windows and Mac right on the drive. Install the software, set your password and the drive’s contents can be encrypted, with minimal performance impact, to keep out prying eyes and secure your data.
samsung x5 bundle 2
The Samsung X5 also comes with a 3 year warranty, which is pretty good considering the portable nature of the device, and it includes a basic lit pack and short Thunderbolt cable. The cable is a little too short for use on many desktop systems, but is fine if the X5 is going to rest next to a notebook.

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