Samsung just released the follow-up to its T3 line of portable, external SSDs. Sticking with the same nomenclature of the previous T1 and T3 drives, Samsung’s new T5 external SSDs include USB 3.1 Gen 2 support, making it the fastest T-series drive yet. With an included USB-C to USB-C cable, the T5 makes a great companion for recent MacBooks or MacBook Pros, or even the newest iMac models.

If you edit videos, photos, or just need a small and compact external storage solution, then Samsung’s diminutive T5 drive may be a worthy solution. It provides speeds that are normally associated with internal SATA SSDs in a compact, external form factor. Have a look at our hands-on video walkthrough inside for more details.

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Specifications

  • Up to 540 MB/sec transfer speed
  • Compatible with USB 3.1 Gen2 (10Gbps), backwards compatible
  • Bus powered, no need for power connectors
  • UASP (USB-attached SCSI Protocol) support
  • 250GB and 500GB  capacities in Alluring Blue color
  • 1TB and 2TB capacities in Deep Black color
  • Aluminum unibody design
  • Includes USB-C to USB-C cable and USB-C to USB-A cable
  • Dimensions: 2.91-inches x 2.26-inches x 0.41-inches
  • Weighs just 51 grams
  • AES 256-bit hardware encryption
  • Shock-resistant, can withstand 2-meter drops
  • Limited 3-year warranty

Right off the bat, the most noticeable thing about the Samsung T5 is its size, or lack thereof. Like the previous T3 model, Samsung’s T5 is exceptionally tiny. It’s nearly the exact same dimensions as the previous model, except that it’s slightly shorter by about 0.7mm.

Video walkthrough

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The T5 comes in two colors. Lower capacity models in 250GB and 500GB flavors arrive in a color that Samsung calls Alluring Blue. Higher capacity 1 and 2TB models come in the company’s Deep Black color. Unlike the T3, the T5 features an all-aluminum unibody with a solid color throughout the unit and black caps on each edge.

The T5 features a single USB-C port for connectivity, and is bus-powered. Samsung has included a USB-C to USB-C cable for direct connection to USB-C-enabled computers like recent MacBook Pro models and the latest-generation iMac. Legacy users aren’t left out to dry however, as there’s also a USB-C to USB-A cable to connect to older style USB connections.

The entry-level price for the 250GB model is actually quite reasonable at $129.99, but just like most modern SSDs, the price increases sequentially as the size increases. That means that the highest tiered 2TB model will set you back a whopping $799.99.

The big differentiating factor with the T5 revolves around the addition of USB 3.1 Gen 2 support. The previous T3 SSDs supported USB 3.1 Gen 1, which is basically just glorified USB 3.0. With USB 3.1 Gen 2 in tow, Samsung is able to achieve higher speeds — up to 540MB/s compared to the T3’s 450MB/s max. Multiple Blackmagic Disk Speed Tests resulted in read speeds that often came close to the maximum theoretical speed.

Outside of the speed improvements and the other noted differences, the Samsung T5 is just what you’d expect as a follow up to the well-regarded T3. This time around you get a better-looking product, one that’s faster for computers that can support the added speed. Yet, even if your computer isn’t USB 3.1 Gen 2-capable, the drive is backwards compatible with older flavors of USB, so it should work in pretty much all modern environments.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of the drive’s encryption abilities, Samsung includes a Portable SSD Driver on the disk. After the driver software is installed, you can use Samsung’s software to enable encryption, check for updates, and rename the drive.

At $129.99 for the entry-level 250GB model, I think the T5 is a fairly reasonable deal. Just be aware that as you go up the food chain, the price increases to absurd levels, though not all that absurd if you’re used the cost of high-capacity external SSDs.

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