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Tuesday, 12 July 2016 09:27

Samsung T3 portable SSD - insanely fast (review)

By

It has to be the lightest, most durable, shock resistant (well, it is solid state) portable backup device around.

Samsung’s Portable SSD T3 comes in 250GBG, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB models.

Its USB-C (Gen 1, UBS 3.1) connector is capable [in theory] of up to 450MB/s – that’s nearly half a GB a minute or about four times faster than many portable, USB 3.0, external spinning disks.

It weighs just 51g and 74 x 58 x 10.5mm it is way lighter and smaller than spinning disks. It has AES 256-bit encryption on the fly and password setting for Windows, macOS, and Android.

While it's solid state, it can still break – it is rated for 1500g force and a two-metre drop. It has a thermal guard to eliminate any possibility of overheating.

It uses 48-layer, 3D-vertical NAND, and an mSATA 5Gbps interface to keep compatibility with Mac, Windows, and OTG Android-enabled devices – up to 2GB on a smartphone! All you need is a micro-USB male to USB-A female adaptor. It worked a treat on a Samsung S7 Edge and an LG G5 (USB-C).

It comes preformatted with exFAT.

In my tests using USB3.0 on a Microsoft Surface Book it regularly achieved between 100-125MB/s write (copy to) and over 200MB/s read (copy from). It is not quite as fast as the superseded Samsung T1 due to V-NAND versus single layer NAND. International lab tests show between 300-400MB/s write and 425-500MB/s read – it’s an insanely fast drive.

Using an older USB 2.0 equipped desktop, I typically got 30-50MB/s write and 50-70MB/s read.

I had a few other portable HDDs, so I tested against these. While the WD My Passport Ultra was as fast at write, it was about 50% slower on read. The results were similar for a Seagate Backup Plus confirming that spinning disks are good at write but no so good at read. One thing I noticed was that its data transfer rates were pretty constant – no slowing down if the buffer was full like a spinning disk.

Price

Samsung did not provide prices so here are retailer JB Hi-Fi’s prices. Online sellers appear to offer these for about 10% less and JB is always willing to match “apples for apples”.

  • 250GB - $199
  • 500GB - $329
  • 1TB - $649
  • 2TB - $1249

Conclusion

If you are looking for a tiny, pocketable, rugged, solid state backup device, this is it. Of course, speeds are relative to the computer and interface you use, but it should achieve top performance from all connections.

I rate it 10 out of 10 for a portable solid-state, backup, device.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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