Samsung credit-card size SSD holds up to 2TB [Review]

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Samsung T7 review
The Samsung T7 isn’t much bigger than an Apple Card but still holds 2 terabytes of data.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Samsung T7 holds an amazing amount of data considering its svelte design. This Solid State Drive isn’t much bigger than a business card but holds up to 2TB. And it can be passed around between multiple computers — it’s compatible with Mac and iPad Pro, as well a wide variety of other devices.

I loaded up this recently-released SSD with a variety of files and put it through some real-world testing. Here’s how it stood up.

Samsung T7 review

When you bought your laptop or tablet, surely you got all the storage you could afford. But years later, you need more. Installing a larger SSD isn’t a trivial task. The Samsung T7 is ideal in this situation.

Or maybe you want to share a collection of files among a group. You can load up this external storage device then easily pass it around between co-workers or family members.

And this drive has the advantage of privacy and security. As long as you have the T7, only you have access to what’s on it.

Hardware

At 3.3 inches by 2.25 in., the Samsung T7 is about the size of a credit card. Admittedly, there’s a bit of hyperbole in that statement; at 0.3 in. thick, the SSD isn’t as slender as an Apple Card. You won‘t be storing it in your wallet. That said, it’s easily pocketable. Or it goes effortlessly into a gear bag or purse.

But don’t forget to make room for the cable. Samsung includes two in the box. One lets you connect this peripheral to a USB-C port, the other to a USB-A port. Each is 15 inches long.

Designed to be used on the go, a solid aluminum casing and no moving parts make the T7 shock resistant from drops up to 2 meters. I’ve banged mine around a little, letting it hang from a data cable while moving my computer, and it still looks brand new.

Samsung even builds in some style, as the accessory is available in Metallic Red, Indigo Blue, or Titan Grey finishes. The corners are rounded on the four long edges, making the T7 comfortable to hold.

Samsung T7 performance

The Samsung T7 supports USB 3.2 Gen 2, and is supposed to offer read speeds of up to 1,050 MBps and write speeds of 1,000 MBps.

In my real-world test, the T7 was able to transfer a 1.8GB file to an iPad Pro in just over 7 seconds. That’s with the USB-C to USB-C cable that came with this peripheral.

The cable you use matters tremendously. I copied that same file with a retractable cable I carry to recharge my iPad. The transfer took roughly 60 seconds. Compare that to the approximately 9 seconds it took to transfer the 1.8GB file over the USB-C to USB-A cable that Samsung also supplies with the T7.

The SSD lives up to the promise of cross-compatibility. In addition to the iPad Pro, I tested it with an iPhone 11 via Apple’s Lightning to USB 3 adapter. Then I moved on to a Microsoft Surface running Windows 10 over a USB-A connection, and an Android smartphone over USB-C. I became curious and started connecting to everything with a USB-A port: including my Wi-Fi router and the RAVpower FileHub Travel Router. Samsung’s offering performed flawlessly with all of them.

Security

Samsung preinstalls on the drive Windows and macOS applications to enable password-protected AES 256-bit hardware data encryption. An Android version is available for download, but there’s no iOS/iPadOS version.

The app password locks the Samsung T7 so that its contents can’t be accessed. Which is great security for Mac and Windows users, but leaves iPad users out in the cold. Also, the Android app wouldn’t recognize that the SSD was connected to my test handset, so use with caution.

No software driver on the host machine is required for ordinary use. It’s plug and play. But the same software that handles security is also needed to update the peripheral’s firmware. Again, an iOS/iPadOS version is notably absent.

Samsung T7 is oh so svelte
The USB-C port on the Samsung T7 makes it compatible with a wide variety of computers.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Samsung T7 final thoughts

While cloud storage has many advantages, there are also limitations. I do a lot of travel, and frequently run into situations with slow, limited or no Internet access. On an 6-hour plane flight, a movie collection stored on iCloud is effectively as unreachable as the moon, for example. There’re also questions of privacy and security; it’s much safer to store proprietary information locally.

That’s why there’s still a place for the Samsung T7. Especially as it’s well built and offers outstanding performance.

That said, the accessory would be more secure with an iOS/iPadOS version of the encryption software. And a more reliable Android one.

Pricing

The suggested retail price for the Samsung T7 with 500GB of storage capacity is $109.99, a 1TB version is $199.99 and 2TB costs $369.99.

Buy from: Amazon

While there are rival SSDs that cost less, note that many of these don’t support USB 3.2 Gen 2 so they’re noticeably slower than Samsung’s offering.

Comparable products

MacBook users looking for additional storage might also consider the Minix Neo Storage Pro. Clip this to the side of your Apple laptop to add 480GB of storage, plus USB-A and HDMI ports.

Professionals needing even more capacity can turn to the OWC ThunderBlade. It comes in sizes up to 16TB, and can transfer data at 2800MBs over a Thunderbolt 3 connection.

Samsung provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.