The Greatest Mobile SSD for 2020

The 500 GB Samsung T5 Portable SSD plugged into the USB-A port on a laptop.
Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

Our select

The 500 GB Samsung T5 Portable SSD is your greatest mobile quad-core driveway for most people as it is reliable, quick, and fairly priced, and it is more compact than the majority of the mobile SSDs we analyzed. At approximately 18cents a gigabyte of storage, so it costs roughly the same as portable SSDs, a lot of which are somewhat slower and more larger, even though the race was still tight. The T5 has one USB-C interface which supports transfer rates of around 10 Gbps and contains both the USB-C–to–USB-C cable plus also a USB-C–into –USB-A cable, and making the T5 simpler to work with than mobile SSDs that provide adapters rather than cables. In addition, it will come with all the easiest-to-use application of these drives we examined and AES 256-bit hardware encryption to secure your data. In addition, it’s a convenient indicator light–in order to know when it is transferring information –along with a three-year guarantee.

A bar graph showing sequential read and write speeds for the CrystalDiskMark Thunderbolt 3.
Longer bars indicate better performance.

With a Thunderbolt 3 interface, the Samsung T5 gave us successive read and write rates of 547.3 MB/s and 491.3 MB/s, respectively. Since Thunderbolt 3 has around 40 Gbps of throughput, it allows forces which support USB 3.x Gen 2 (10 Gbps), like the T5, operate in their full rates. Each drive we analyzed was quicker when attached to your Thunderbolt port compared to some 5 Gbps jack (commonly called USB 3.0, 3.1 Gen 1, 5 along with 3.2 Gen 1). In the instance of this T5, its own read and write rates when attached with a Thunderbolt 3 interface had been 24 percentage and 12 percent faster, respectively, compared to when attached with your USB 3.0 port. The T5’s USB 3.0 successive rates of 441.4 MB/s and 438.9 MB/s were almost equal to those of each other mobile SSD we analyzed.

A bar graph showing random read and write speeds for the CrystalDiskMark Thunderbolt 3.
Longer bars indicate better performance.

Once plugged into a Thunderbolt 3 interface, the Samsung T5 had arbitrary read and write rates of approximately 20.8 MB/s and 39.9 MB/s, respectively; each drive we examined had comparable rates.

In the time of writing, the 500 GB version was priced at roughly $90, or 18cents per gigabyte, that will be based on additional USB 3.x Gen 2 mobile SSDs; the Western Digital My Passport SSD price about the same. When we began advocating mobile SSDs in late 2017, a 500 GB Samsung T3 price about $200. Ever since that time, SSDs have fallen in cost by over half.

SSD cards we tested side by side on a table
Left to right: Samsung T5 Portable SSD, Western Digital My Passport SSD, SanDisk Extreme Portable External SSD, Seagate Quick SSD, Adata SE730H Mobile External SSD, and also Western Digital My Passport Proceed SSD. Photo: Sarah Kobos

Only at 2.9 inches , 2.3 inches wide, and 0.4 inch thick, and the Samsung T5 Portable SSD is still among the smallest outside SSDs we discovered. It weighs only 1.8 oz –even though a aluminum enclosure which feels strong and powerful –which makes it simple to throw into your back (or pocket) if you have someplace you have to go. The dimensions and weight differences amongst the mobile drives we tested were not important, though. The most peculiar drive we examined was 2.9 oz, just about an ounce over the Samsung T5, therefore most folks would not see the difference in fat.

A screenshot of the Samsung SSD's password protection software, showing a log-in screen and warning message cautioning users about losing access to their data in the event of a lost password.
The Samsung T5 incorporates easy, easy-to-use password security software to deal with the driveway’s safety.

The Samsung T5 comprises Portable SSD drivers around the driveway for MacOS, Windows, and Android. As soon as you’ve installed the program, you can include (or remove) a password to either disable or enable the drive’s AES 256-bit hardware encryption, and that safeguards your sensitive data from unauthorized access. It is also possible to use it to test for applications and firmware upgrades. There is not anything to do this, however it’s simple to use and agreeable to check at, unlike a number of those bloated and dated-looking applications that came with another mobile SSDs we analyzed, like SanDisk’s SecureAccess applications. (Plus it is far better than working using mobile SSDs which don’t provide software whatsoever, like the Adata SE730H.)

A close-up of the blue indicator light on the end of the Samsung T5 SSD that indicates whether or not the drive is connected to the user's device.
The Samsung T5’s indicator light lets you know if the drive is connected to your device, and it blinks if it is transferring information. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

The Samsung T5 includes a helpful LED indicator on the side which lights up whenever the drive is attached and blinks when it is transferring information. Samsung carries a three-year guarantee, which will be normal for many solid-state drives.

Extended evaluation notes

Wirecutter senior author Joel Santo Domingo has utilized the Samsung T5 for approximately a year also calls it an”daily commute companion” He managed to combine several USB sticks’ worth of information on the driveway without giving up the advantages of storage that is tabbed, and in addition, he praised the cable. “I enjoyed that it had been a USB-A–to–USB-C cable, rather than a adapter,” he explained. “The latter is too easy to drop in a notebook bag” He said that the sign light is a great bonus, too.


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