Samsung’s T7 portable SSD is now available following its introduction earlier this year at CES 2020. The T7 is the successor to the slim, wallet-sized T5 USB-C SSD that came out in 2017. If you’re feeling some sort of déjà vu and are wondering if this product might have already been released — well, yes, sort of. Back in January, Samsung released the T7 Touch, a slightly more expensive variant that features a fingerprint sensor for authenticating your identity before the SSD mounts to your device.
This standard T7 doesn’t have that hardware feature (though it does still feature optional password protection with AES 256-bit encryption), so it’s $20 cheaper across all configurations. The 500GB base model costs $110, the 1TB model costs $200, and the 2TB drive costs $370. The T7 comes in metallic red, indigo blue, and titan gray, and includes a USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-C to USB Type-A cable in the box. It’s compatible with a variety of operating systems, including Windows 10, macOS, and Android. This doesn’t mean that it can’t work on iOS, iPadOS, and gaming consoles. It’s just that Samsung’s app isn’t available on those platforms, and if you’ve turned on the SSD’s password protection feature, it will need to be turned off on a compatible device before it can be used normally.
It’s not a Thunderbolt 3 drive, but it’s fast nonetheless, and it’s pretty affordable
While there haven’t been any major changes to the physical makeup of the SSD enclosure (we found the T7 Touch to be a little slimmer, yet slightly taller, than the T5), there’s a vastly improved drive on the inside. Samsung upgraded the SSD technology from SATA to NVMe in this generation, the same kind of speedy storage that can be found in midrange and high-end laptops.
Samsung claims up to 1,050MB/s transfer speeds for the T7, as it does for the T7 Touch, and so the two should be equivalent. When I tested the T7 Touch using a USB-C port on a 2019 MacBook Pro, I found that the T7 Touch came close to those claims, with an average write speed of 807MB/s and an average read speed of 903MB/s. When it came to transfer speed improvements, I found that:
“It took nine seconds on average to copy a 13GB file on the MacBook Pro, roughly a 40 percent improvement compared to the T5 SATA SSD doing the same test. To copy the file to the T7 Touch, it took 11 seconds on average, an approximate 35 percent increase in speed compared to the T5.”
All in all, the T7 should result in faster transfer speeds than the previous generation. It’s not a Thunderbolt 3 drive, but it’s fast nonetheless, and it’s pretty affordable. If you were going to get the T5, maybe you should think about getting the T7 instead.