For years now the quickest and most convenient way to have your data travel with you has been via a USB thumb drive. Pocket size storage has improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years and it is now amazingly possible to get a 512GB thumb drive, though admittedly most are limited to around 128 to 256GB in size.
Extremely compact thumb drives often suffer from a lack of performance though – the Corsair Voyager GT 128GB model for example takes over 20 minutes to fill when copying large files such as movies and twice as long when copying smaller files such as pictures.
There are faster options such as the Voyager GTX, but at a cost of 74 cents per gigabyte they aren’t cheap. There is however another option, and while it isn’t quite as compact the performance is considerably better. And not only that, but at a cost of 43 cents per gigabyte for the model I have on hand it’s also significantly better value.
That model being the brand new Samsung T3 Portable 1TB SSD – at $430 it might not seem that cheap but remember this is a 1TB SSD with a claimed read and write speed of 450MB/s. Incredibly, at that speed it takes less than 5 minutes to write 128GB worth of data.
Of course you don’t have to buy the 1TB model, for less than a high performance 128GB thumb drive, the 250GB T3 can be had for $130. There’s also a $250 model for $130 and a 500GB model for $220.
The T3 will be replacing last year’s T1 model and it brings about a few improvements such as a USB 3.1 Type-C connector and an aluminium case, which should be much more durable than the all plastic design of the T1.
The T3 might be physically larger than a traditional USB thumb drive but it’s really no heavier at just 51 grams for the 1 terabyte model. The T3 will easily fit in your pocket along with the USB cable if need be.
Inside lies a Samsung SSD 850 Evo mSATA SSD, so you know the T3 isn’t going to be sluggish when it comes to file transfer performance. As I mentioned earlier Samsung is promising a 450MB/s sequential read and write speed for the T3 series, so let’s jump to the benchmarks to find out how that translates into real-world performance.
Single Large File transfer
First up let’s copy a single large 5.8GB compressed file from a local SSD to the Samsung T3. As you can see the T3 for the most part sustained over 400MB/s to complete the task in roughly 12 seconds for an average transfer speed of 489MB/s. This is obviously a seriously impressive throughput for a pocket size storage device.
Random Mixed File transfer
Next we threw a heap of small compressed and non-compressed files at the T3 – 7350 files in fact totalling 5.45GB’s. This upload test took roughly 27 seconds for an average transfer speed of 202MB/s. In comparison, the Corsair Voyager GTX is only good for around 60MB/s in this same test.
The Samsung Portable SSD T3 is a serious bit of kit, and for those requiring a large capacity high-speed storage device that goes unnoticed in the pocket, this product is a must. When compared to the previous T1 model the T3 features better build quality, higher capacities and more convenient USB Type-C.
The T3 is better in every way with the exception of the price, which sees the 1TB model priced considerably higher, over 20% higher in fact at $430 compared to the $350 for the T1. This is a massive pricing discrepancy and I don’t think the Type-C connector and the aluminium chassis is worth paying that much more for.
Hopefully the pricing will become more competitive in the coming weeks. Other than that the T3 is an awesome product and the 2TB model is certainly drool worthy, though the $850 asking price is less enticing. So is the T3 a portable drive you’ll be considering? Let me know in the comments or on our forum at Hardwareunboxed.com. I’m your host Matt as always and I’ll see you next time.