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Samsung Portable SSD T3 (1TB)

Introduction

The Samsung Portable SSD T1 released last year at CES is essentially the 850 EVO drive housed inside an external enclosure with a USB 3.0 port. The T1 delivers 1TB of external storage at very high transfer speeds thanks to the solid state storage, as opposed to the spinning platter that is often found in most external portable drives. While not cheap, the Portable SSD T1 delivers impeccable performance that anyone who demands the absolute fastest transfer speed an external storage can offer would be happy with, considering its price to performance ratio.

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Samsung has recently launched the successor to the SSD T1 this year at CES. As the the successor, the SSD T3 shares many similar traits as the T1. While the drive is still quite compact, it is actually slightly taller than the S1. However, it is not as thick as the S1 with its flattened body. In addition, the new drive has:

  • Increased the capacity from 1TB to 2TB
  • Upgraded USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type C connector from the USB 3.0
  • Added Android support with 256-AES encryption
  • Improved build with metal enclosure for better heat dissipation.

Specifications

Product Type  Portable SSD
Interface  Compatible with USB 3.1(Gen.1, 5Gbps), 3.0, 2.0
Capacity  250 GB, 500GB, 1 TB, 2 TB
Data transfer speeds  Up to 450MB/sec.
(* Performance can vary depending on host configuration and test software)
 Encryption  AES 256-bit hardware encryption
Security  Password setting (Optional)
(*User can set password when it is necessary.)Requires Windows 7 or higher, Mac OS 10.7 or higher and Android KitKat (version 4.4) or higher.
 UASp Mode  Supported
 Dimensions (W x D x H)  74 x 58 x 10.5 mm (2.91″ x 0.41″ x 2.28″)
 Weight  Up to 51 g (1.80 oz)
(* Exact weight of the product may vary depending on capacity.)
 Warranty  3-Year Limited.

Closer Look at the Portable SSD T3

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Packed in a very attractive see-through plastic case, the tiny portable drive can be seen in plain view on the store shelves. Here, we see that Samsung utilizes cardboard box instead of sealed plastic so that no knife is needed to open up the unit.

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Inside, we can see that the drive comes with a rather short USB Type-C cable (about 18 inches long) and a quick guide.

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At first glance, you would immediately notice the smooth metal body that is being used on the SSD T3. Instead of an all plastic chassis that is found on the SSD T1, the SSD T3 chassis is constructed with a partial metal body with rubberized plastic. If feels rather nice in the hand. Not only does the metal body gives the product a much more pleasing look, it also acts as a heatsink to help cool the drive’s internal components. Additionally, the sturdier metal construction should offer better protection against any rough treatment. The plastic portion on the drive actually acts like feet to the drive, where it provides enough friction to help the drive keep from sliding off when placed on a smooth surface.

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A single USB 3.1 provides both the power and the data transfer.

Besides the chassis upgrade, you sure would notice the upgrade to the smaller USB 3.1-connector instead of USB3.0 found on the SSD T1. The upgrade to the smaller and reversible USB 3.1 connector is a much welcomed feature compared to the bulky and awkwardly designed USB 3.0 port. However, the Type-C connector on the drive is based on the Gen 1 specification which means that it operates at the same speed as the USB 3.0 with maximum throughput of 5 Gbps transfer speed. So, the performance between the SSD T1 and the SSD T3 would be quite similar. Despite this, don’t be fooled into thinking that it is slow, since the drive is still faster than any external drive with mechanical hard drive or any USB flash drive.

Samsung is leading the industry here with the adaptation of the USB 3.1. While the number of devices with a USB 3.1 port is quite limited now to just few devices like the the 12-inch MacBook and the Nexus 6P, the USB 3.1 standard is going to be on all devices in the near future. So, the SSD T3 is not just able to work with any existing devices with USB ports, but is also ready to be used for any future devices.

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Putting the drive next to a standard 7mm 2.5 inch drive gives us a sense of just how small the SSD T3 is. The drive is slightly thicker than 7mm and is narrower and shorter than the 2.5 inch drive. Upon first glance, it would appear that the drive has a unibody design where it is hard to gain access to the internal components without damaging the chassis. However, closer examination to the drive reveals that opening the drive up is rather easy, as we only have to unscrew the four screws underneath the two stickers on the end of the unit.

The T3 is pre-formatted as an exFAT partition. This means the drive is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS. While the drive is compatible with Android devices, Android OS does not support exFAT natively, so if you plan to use the drive with an Android device, you would have to reformat the drive to FAT32. Lacking the exFAT support for Android devices is rather unfortunate as it means that if you plan to share files between an Android with your PC/Mac system, you are limited to a 4GB file size.

In addition to the newer connector, Samsung has upped the storage capacity of the SSD T3 where it now comes with a 2 TB option compared to the max capacity of 1 TB on the SSD T1. In addition to the 2TB model, the SSD T3 is available in storage capacities of 1TB, 500GB, and 250GB. The retail price for the drive is of $850, $430, $220, $130 respectively. Not cheap if we compare it against most external drives on the market, but then again, most of them are not able to deliver the same performance that the SSD T3 can deliver.

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