If you didn’t think that an external storage device cannot be smaller than a high-powered power bank, you’d be wrong. The T5, in fact, is about the size of a stack of credit cards. Indeed, the T5 is now dangerously close in size to far more expensive solid-state storage devices like Kingston’s DataTraveler Ultimate GT USB drive. This means that you can slip it in your shirt pocket and no one would look at it twice.
That’s pretty impressive, especially considering that it swaps the connector for a 10Gbps USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 2 model to deliver twice the maximum theoretical transfer rate of its predecessors.
However, as with many small yet powerful devices, the Samsung Portable SSD T5 comes with a colossal price tag as well. Just at Amazon for the 1TB version, it carries a 20% premium on the existing T3. Is this steep rise in price justified? That’s what we’re here to find out.
The drive measures 74 x 57 x 10.5mm and weighs only 51g, making it small and light enough to be shoved into even a tight front jeans pocket with ease. It is made entirely of metal (with a swish brushed finish) and except for the big Samsung logo on the front, the power LED and the Type-C connector, there’s nothing of note to comment on. Essentially, it isn’t much different from the T3 except for the fact that it abandons the dual-tone color scheme.
Choosing a metallic chassis ensures that the chips inside are properly cooled and increases the overall sturdiness of the device.
The drive is available in sizes ranging from 250GB to 2TB and comes with an ASMedia mSATA-to-USB bridge controller, rather than one of Samsung’s own.
The big improvement comes from the newer, more advanced 64-layer 3D V-NAND Triple Level Cell flash memory used, as well as the updated firmware and the support for TRIM via the UASP USB attached SCSI protocol.
It won’t work on the default exFAT file system and you may want to format the drive to NTFS to improve performance when transferring small files.
In addition, the drive is now officially compatible with Android devices and is pitched as shock-resistant, capable of handling drops of up to 2m albeit under controlled conditions.
Using a USB Type-C Gen 1 connector therefore limited to 5Gbps, the T5 drive achieved respectable read/write speeds of 433MBps and 323MBps respectively in CrystalDiskMark, and up to 462Mbps and 323MBps under ATTO. It also managed to transfer a 10GB file using Teracopy in 47 seconds, giving it a real-life transfer rate of just over 212MBps.
You will achieve much higher numbers if you use a compatible USB Type-C Gen 2 connector, up to 540MBps/515MBps respectively in read/write speeds according to Samsung.
You get USB Type-C to Type-C and Type-C to Type-A cables, both about a foot long, plus a 256-bit AES hardware encryption and software suite for Windows, macOS, and Android.