Small in Size, Big on Memory – A Samsung Portable SSD T3 500GB

October 4, 2016 at 6:33 pm by

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Back in the 1980s, if you wanted to share some computer files with a friend or transfer files to a secondary machine, it was common to use a floppy drive which stored data onto a magnetic disk. Floppy drives were common with most computers, but their storage capacities were limited.

Then, ten years later, CDs became main stream media. CDs were stronger, cheaper to produce, and were more compact than the traditional floppy drive. After Apple stopped adding floppy readers into their computers, CDs were very popular for moving files to a secondary PC.

CDs then began to fade away thanks to the invention and increased popularity of flash based memory. Known as a thumb drive or USB drive, users could have gigabytes of portable storage in a device that wasn’t longer than your index finger. Yet again, looking back through history it was Apple who started to remove their CD drives in favor of this new flash based storage. So if we look at the new Apple MacBook Air, we can see that the computing industry is now being pushed towards even more portability. There is only one port on the new MacBook Air, a single USB Type C connector.

Is it time for a new advancement in portable storage? Perhaps, but there isn’t anything waiting in the wings that will currently push out flash based devices.

Conditionally, for those who are always on the go working with files, a USB drive may not cut it for you. The majority of USB drives are in smaller 16GB or 32GB sizes and while larger models, like a 1TB USB drive, are available, they are easily lost and their speeds aren’t as fast as a solid state drive (SSD). Of course, there is the option of portable hard disk drives (HDD), but these can break and are fragile for travelers.

Enter Samsung, a king in solid state drives, who have recently come out with their latest and greatest portable solid state drive. Having compatibility with Windows, Mac, and Android as well as rocking the new USB Type C connector, this may just be the portable storage drive that we all need.

Welcome to my review of the Samsung Portable SSD T3 in the 500GB variant. Throughout this review, I will be discussing the following topics: the design, performance, and my final thoughts. A special thank you to Samsung for proving me with this SSD.

samsung_t3_1

Design

Although Samsung isn’t always praised for its outstanding performance electronic devices, their taste for style is sometimes overlooked or underappreciated.

The T3 SSD is a featherweight drive that uses a subtle design without much flare. If you look at the Samsung EVO based SSDs, which are used in desktops and laptops, their drives tend to be a solid grey color with a centered Samsung logo.

Here, the T3 is similar to the EVO based drives with the majority of the body being a silver color that connects to a matte black rubber side piece. The seam between the two pieces is nearly perfect with there only being a small lip.

For a device that will be handled by many hand touches and thrown into many backpacks, the T3 is finger and smudge resistance for the most part. The silver body rejects dirt and smudges, but invites slight scratch marks if you were to throw it into a non-soft touch bag, whereas the rubber side piece brushes off wear and tear marks, but suffers from finger print smudges, nothing a t-shirt rubbing can’t remove.

Around the rest of the device you find a Samsung logo, a T3 logo, your storage capacity, and some product information on the rubber end.
On the end opposite to the product information is the new USB Type C connector next to a hidden blue status LED. This LED either blinks to indicate use or is solid for idle.

For those that do not know, USB Type C is a reversible plug that can be connected to a USB Type C connector either right-side up or upside down.

Since it can take a long time for computer electronics to catch up to the latest USB standard, many people still lack USB Type C connectors on their computers. Fortunately, Samsung includes a USB 3.1 to USB-C cable. Nevertheless, there isn’t a USB-C to USB-C cable which I found strange since the main selling point is the USB-C connector.

For build quality, the T3 is surprisingly strong for its size. Weighing only 2 ounces, the metal body uses an oval shape to standup against excessive crushing forces. Furthermore, Samsung hypes the T3’s shock resistance, though this would be true for most SSDs thanks to the lack of moving parts.

Something also must be mentioned about the T3’s size. Measuring 2.91” (L) x 0.41” (H) x 2.28” (W) this is essentially a small SSD. It easily fits into the palm of my hand or my pants pocket where it can be easily forgotten about.

samsung_t3_2

Performance

A “Samsung Solid State Drive” is perhaps one of the most spoken phrases when discussing performance based drives. Samsung hit the nail on the head with their SSD brand as not only is their SSD reliability outstanding, but they somehow are able to squeeze out performance that other SSD manufactures can’t seem to find.

When connecting the SSD to my devices, it’s the same as with any other USB drive. Find a USB 3.0/3.1 port on your PC and it’s a plug and play connection. After Windows finishes installing some drivers, you are ready to go.

Take note that this SSD comes with some free Samsung AES 256-bit encryption software. If you wish to encrypt your files (I recommend you do if you will be traveling with this device) you should do this before you begin using the SSD. Additionally, you can lock the T3 with a password.

As with any SSD review here at Tech Support Forum, I updated and started up my disk benchmarking tools to have a go at the Samsung T3.

Beginning with ATTO Disk Benchmark, I set the transfer size to a maximum of 64MB to measure speeds of both read and write.

Amazingly, the Samsung T3 meets it’s rated write speeds as listed on their website. I am surprised to see this as many SSDs cannot reach their rated speeds in the real world. ATTO reported that the T3 hit a maximum of 422 MB/sec for the reads and 457 MB/sec for writes.

atto_t3

I moved to CrystalDiskMark, a staple program when benchmarking SSDs and HDDs. On a standard 8GB test, read and write speeds matched the ATTO benchmark, but we can see in the image below that the T3’s 4K read/write speeds are marginally slower than my Samsung EVO SSD. Since this drive is meant to be a portable one, I expected this as 4K testing is, when moving large amounts of data, something an OS drive would do.

cdm_t3

For final testing, I took four 1GB movies and transferred them onto the portable drive. The T3 shines here too as the total write time was under one minute. Although this is one SSD to another, the portability of the T3 matched with performance is quite astonishing.

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My Final Thoughts

While I have a 500GB variant of the T3, Samsung does offer this drive in either a 250GB, 1TB, or 2TB model. Believe it or not, you can buy this little drive for a reasonable $167.99 or $99.99 for the 250GB model. With the T3 being very compact, easily connectable to any device, and having performance that matches desktop grade SSDs, this is a device that I can easily recommend to anybody looking for a better portable file transfer system. Furthermore, with the included shock resistance of 1500G and AES encryption software, the T3 is far superior to any flash drive.

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© 2016Justin Vendette

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