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REVIEW: Samsung T3 Portable SSD 500gb

Samsung T3 500gb Portable SSD Drive

Perfectly Portable: Samsung T3 Portable SSD

Perfectly Portable: Samsung T3 Portable SSD

As with most creative ventures, photography is resource heavy and two of the biggest that you need are speed and storage! Between my PC and my Mac, I have tens of Terabytes of storage and I am constantly shuffling around data from one place to the next, be it for a client or personal use. It can be incredibly frustrating and anything that makes it easier is a winner in my books!

The Samsung T3 500gb portable SSD certainly seems on paper like it should be good and if it’s looks are anything to go by, then it will be a quality product! The little SSD drive is small, but not so small that it feels delicate, you can easily carry it in your pocket and it doesn’t feel conspicuous. Being 'Solid State' - you don't have to worry too much about things inside being shaken loose and there are no external snag and break off. Altogether, it's a very compact and pretty sturdy little package.

Who is it aimed at?

Well, the simple answer would be anyone that needs additional, portable storage. The longer answer is that this definitely has uses that will work wonders for Photographers & Videographers in particular. Large, fast storage is a must. I tend to shoot videos and try to edit them on the same day to distribute content quickly, this commonly means exporting all that video to my MacBook Pro and editing on the run.

The trouble is, I only have 500gb of SSD storage on the Mac and that fills up quickly! So I tend to keep all of my working files on an external drive whilst editing in Final Cut Pro. After using the T3 for this very purpose on a couple of occasions, I can say with confidence that it worked a treat and it was lightening fast! I didn't feel any real lag whilst editing and even scrubbing through video footage, it seemed to work perfectly. The Type-C connection did the job and seemed to be shifting data around without trouble. This is huge for anyone dealing with large files/video and at upwards of 450mb pers second, I doubt anyone will ever have a problem with speed.

Small but Mighty...

Small but Mighty...


I was testing the 500gb model which was more than enough for my needs but the T3 range goes all the way up to a whopping two terabytes! At around £180 it's certainly not cheap but it does pack a hell of a punch so depending on your needs, the cost is more than justifiable.  At around 8cm x 6cm and a depth of around 1cm, this thing is compact! It makes it truly portable and can easily be carried in your pocket, making it a suitable alternative to a USB stick with the additional bonus of way more storage. It's the perfect option for those the travel & work on a regular basis.

For connectivity, it has a USB Type-C port which are becoming more and more commonplace but you are provided with a Type-C to Type-A cable so it will work with all current USB formats including USB 3.1. Compatibility wise, this little gem is fine with Windows 7 and beyond for PC users and for Mac users, anything above OS 10.7 will be fine and also Android 4.4 upwards. This was particularly handy for me as I use both, so moving data was no issue.

I tested the drive with Crystal Disk just to see if what Samsung are touting is actually true and was reassured to find that the disk was as quick as promised. Read speeds were up above 430MBs and write speeds a comfortable 280MBs. In real world use, it actually felt like using the internal drive on my Mac so the performance was really very impressive. This may be particularly useful if you have an older laptop and don't want to swap out the hard drive. The only consideration is that it may be slower if using USB 2.0 - but it will still be a considerable improvement over a standard mechanical drive.

One final thing to mention is that Samsung have clearly thought of everything and have added a very clever security set up. The disk has software pre-installed on the drive that allow you to set up a login and password to access the drive. This is a huge bonus if you are travelling with the drive and have any concerns about security.

Real Life Test

So normally at this point I would talk about how I tested it with a few big files and it worked OK blah, blah, blah... However, the day I received the T3, I had a major emergency which involved getting 20gb of RAW files to a client in London overnight. The only problem, it was 7pm and with the best will in the world, my broadband wasn't going to be up to the task!

My initial thoughts were 'emergency trip to London' but after thinking a little more, this was ridiculous and I had to come up with a better solution. I planned on running down to Birmingham University and using their superfast broadband, but the guild closed at 9pm so I was in a real rush!

I decided to make use of the T3 and quickly plugged it into my USB 3.0 port and started moving files! I was genuinely amazed, the 20gb just flew across! It genuinely seemed to take seconds. I grabbed my laptop, shot to the Uni and proceeded to get the files uploaded. The T3 had already saved my bacon and had worked like an absolute trooper! From here on out, it felt like it would be an unbiased review!

In the following weeks, I did the typical moving files, using the T3 for Video and generally just taking it everywhere with me. The T3 just swallowed up everything I threw at it, worked perfectly and did it all in a stylish little package! What's not to like.

Small package, big performance...


This is probably the best portable drive that I have seen on the market. Given the option, I would always plump for the 2TB drive as, who doesn't like extra storage. The drive looks great, has shock resistance and is easily transportable. The performance is incredible and makes working remotely so much easier as there are little to no lagging issues etc. I would highly recommend this drive if you are in the market for portable storage. A full video review will be on the way soon. 

For more information and more products, please visit Samsung