Tech review: Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch is fast and easy to secure

Samsung's latest portable solid-state drive comes with a fingerprint reader that unlocks the drive's contents within seconds.
Samsung's latest portable solid-state drive comes with a fingerprint reader that unlocks the drive's contents within seconds.PHOTO: SAMSUNG

Say goodbye to the hassle of passwords with Samsung's latest portable solid-state drive (SSD), the T7 Touch (available on Lazada and Amazon).

As its name suggests, it comes with a fingerprint reader that unlocks the drive's contents within seconds.

Simply press a registered finger to the fingerprint reader when the drive's LED starts to pulse after it is connected to a computer or an Android smartphone.

You can still choose to use a password. But the only reason to do so is if the drive is shared among many users because Samsung's software utility can register only four fingerprints.

This utility (available for Mac and Windows computers) is preloaded in the SSD. You have to install it to configure the SSD's security settings and update the firmware.

To use the T7 Touch with an Android phone, you will first need to install the Samsung Portable SSD Software 1.0 app from Google Play Store.

This is different from the Samsung Portable SSD app, which works only with Samsung's older T3 and T5 SSDs.

Compared with Samsung's previous T5 SSD, the T7 Touch is slightly thinner and longer. It is still roughly the size of a credit card and weighs a mere 58g.

Its metallic body is attractive and sturdy enough to shrug off minor bumps and drops. Samsung says it can survive being dropped from a height of up to 2m. But it does not have any IP rating for water- or dust-resistance.

Samsung includes two cables - a USB Type-C to C and a USB Type-C to A - to connect the SSD to computers and smartphones.

The T7 Touch supports the faster USB 3.2 Gen 2 standard, which maxes out at 10Gbps.

Samsung rates the drive's maximum sequential read speed at up to 1,050MB/s, while its maximum sequential write speed is up to 1,000MB/s. These speeds can be achieved only with a USB 3.2 Gen 2 port.

To test the SSD, I connect it to a laptop with a compatible USB port and run the CrystalDiskMark benchmark.

It lives up to its claims with a sequential read speed of 1,018MB/s and a sequential write speed of 904MB/s. These speeds are roughly twice that of the older T5 model.

In a simple, but more practical file transfer test, it takes just under three seconds to copy a 1GB video from my computer to the SSD.

But for copying smaller multiple files, say, a photo collection or office documents, the T7 Touch is surprisingly slower than the T5. In CrystalDiskMark, the T7 Touch managed around 150MB/s for random writes (4KB file size) compared with 200MB/s for the T5.

In real-world terms, this difference may not matter to most users compared with the greater convenience of the T7 Touch's fingerprint reader. This ease of use is also likely to encourage more users to switch on the security feature on the SSD.

For those who would rather stick to using a password, Samsung plans to release a version of the T7 without the fingerprint reader in the second quarter of this year. Pricing has yet to be announced.

FOR

• Good sequential transfer speeds

• Fingerprint reader

• Portable and attractive casing

AGAINST

• Performs slightly worse than older model for random reads and writes

• No water- or dust-resistance

SPECS

Price: 500GB ($222), 1TB ($349), 2TB ($688); available from March 16

Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 2

Weight: 58g

RATING

Features: 4/5

Design: 4.5/5

Performance: 4/5

Value for money: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

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