Usually, when we talk about external storage, we’re either looking at USB thumb drives with relatively small amounts of flash memory or external hard disks with higher capacities. External SSDs are still an uncommon sight, mainly because solid state storage costs so much more—that’s why USB thumb drives usually have no more than 16 GB or 32 GB, and get to be exorbitantly expensive if you go much higher. Well, at CES 2015, Samsung turned that all on its head with the Portable SSD T1, a fairly affordable external SSD that is smaller than a credit card and not that much thicker.
The Portable SSD T1 has a USB 3.0 port and uses Samsung’s own 3D Vertical NAND technology to achieve crazy fast 400+ MB/s read/write speeds. When it came to testing the drive, we saw write speeds as fast as 406 MB/s and read speeds as fast as 482 MB/s. To put that in perspective, you’ll be able to back up a 3 GB movie file in eight seconds, compared to 26 seconds with a standard USB 3.0-equipped external HDD.
It’s also worth noting that the drive isn’t ready to work straight out of the box. Instead, you’ll have to activate it, assign a name for the drive, and choose to enable or disable password protection on the drive.
While the T1 will still need its own power source, it’s not too far off from a thumb drive in terms of size. It’s 9.2 mm thick and a little bit smaller than a credit card, making it easily pocketable! It also weighs less than an ounce, so it won’t be weighing you down, either.
The T1 also has its own AES 256-bit encryption. SSDs don’t need as much physical protection because of the lack of moving parts, but it’s been made rugged anyway. It’s shock resistant and features Dynamic Thermal Guard technology, which will automatically kick in and preserve whatever is stored on your drive if extreme temperatures are detected. So, if you were planning on taking this into a volcano or into the heart of Antarctica, you’re good.
There used to be no viable middle ground between a bulky external hard drive and a small flash drive – but now there finally is – in the form of the T1. That said, you really have to hold this little guy in the palm of your hands to appreciate just how small and lightweight it is. To top it all off, the pricing for the T1 is very reasonable when you consider how incredibly portable it is, and that you’re getting SSD performance speeds with it. Samsung’s Portable SSD T1 just might signal the death of the modern day portable hard drive as we know it.
The Portable SSD T1 will be available later this month in 15 countries across North America, Europe, and Asia, including the United States. The 250 GB model comes in at just $180, which would be a decent enough price for your average 256 GB thumb drive. There will also be 500 GB and 1 TB models at $300 and $600, respectively.
The Good: Super tiny and lightweight, super fast read and write speeds, comes with a short and thus very convenient USB 3.0 cable, shock resistant and pretty rugged, AES encryption
The Bad: Requires a few steps for initial set up out of the box.