Size differences between the Samsung SSD external portable and a conventional external portable.

What external storage should be: Samsung’s T1 Portable SSD reviewed

Most of us rely on a USB drive of some form or another, but they’re not always the fastest. You can’t say that about Samsung’s portable solid-state drive, the T1, because it’s the fastest external we’ve ever seen.

Features and performance

External drives are almost always a hard drive in a box with a USB connector on one end, and a focus on plenty of megabytes and gigabytes for those bits and bobs you want stored, but a new type of device from Samsung isn’t focusing on storage size specifically, but rather storage speed.

That’s the point of the T1, one of the company’s first efforts in the world of external solid state drives, and one of the first we’ve ever seen.

It isn’t Samsung’s first take on the external drive market, mind you, as it has been there for some time, building and selling numerous external drives, not to mention the sheer volumes of internal drives and flash memory Samsung produces and sells.

But this time, the focus isn’t on a drive with a moving part inside a casing. Rather, it’s on a similar sort of memory the company uses in its internal solid state drives put inside one of those external cases it might choose to use for a notebook.

Essentially, it’s a solid state drive you use on the outside of a computer.

Why would you choose to use this over a conventional hard drive?


There are a few reasons, but speed and size would rank at the very top, as a drive with no moving parts consisting of super-speedy flash memory would make the external drive very fast, while the size also plays into it.

With no moving parts and the drive consisting of a slim bit of silicon, Samsung can make the T1 trim, reducing the fat and putting the conventional external drive not just on a diet, but on notice, because the T1 is what drives can be when there’s not much more to them beyond storage.

Take the Samsung T1 out of its box and you’ll see what we mean.


Looking at the T1, there’s not much to it, unless you’re used to little black boxes with softened edges barely weighing a thing, which we’re not.

Thirty (30) grams is what this weighs in at, far less than the 258 gram GDrive Mobile we’re normally carrying around, and with a smaller size, too.


You can’t even compare the drives, with the Samsung T1 more like a thumb drive than an external hard drive, and marginally bigger than the Lexar thumb drive we’re usually reliant on.

That being said, the weight between the two can’t be far off, and we wonder if Samsung had room to shave off some plastic in the T1, as it more or less just feels like a light bit of plastic making up the room because of the size of the USB 3.0 plug.


Interestingly, the weight of the T1 is so low, it manages to feel lighter than the shot USB 3.0 cable Samsung includes in the box, and weighs less than the tiny manual included in the box.

If anything, this is the lightest supply of 500GB we’ve ever seen. But if that’s not enough to impress you, don’t worry, because the speed will.

Really, that’s the feature you’re buying the Samsung T1 for, because it is literally a solid state drive inside of a small container, and it’s smaller than Samsung’s own solid state components.


Plugged in, we tried moving 2GB of data and found it was handled in around four seconds.

Just think about that: four seconds is all it take to move over two gigabytes of data. Four. Not even fix.

As a comparison, our fastest external drive is the GDrive Mobile, and over USB 3.0, that takes it a little over 20 seconds, or closer to 21. That might not seem like a big issue, but when you’re talking about moving massive files, or even saving directly to a drive, Samsung’s solid-state T1 portable drive shows its speed easily, with a haste no other external drive can match.

To put it simply, the Samsung T1 is mind-blowing.


Running Blackmagic’s benchmarking disk speed checker, we’re seeing very SSD-like speeds on offer, as the T1 turns out writing speeds of 405MB per second compared to the 28MB per second of our GDrive, and of 35MB per second for a Lexar 32GB thumb drive.

Even the Apple Fusion Drive inside our iMac can’t compete, and with speeds of around 235MB per second, the Samsung external SSD is almost twice as fast as what our iMac can do.


Our GDrive just can't keep up.
Our GDrive just can’t keep up.