Solid state drives like the 2TB Samsung Portable SSD T5 ($799.99) buck the 2.5-inch form factor of their portable hard drive predecessors. Since SSDs don't need to house a spinning platter, they're a whole lot smaller and easier to slip into a small pocket. While our capacious 2-terabyte test drive may be too expensive if you who simply want to back up files from your laptop, its speed and capacity are suited to well-heeled digital packrats and graphics professionals.
As just 0.4 by 2.3 by 3.0 inches (HWD) and 1.8 ounces, the T5 is imperceptibly heavier and the same size as its predecessor, the Samsung Portable SSD T3. The 1TB ($399.99) and 2TB versions have a monochromatic black finish, while the 250GB ($129.99) and 500GB ($199.99) capacities are blue. It's a lot more subdued than the smaller, gold Adata SE730 External SSD, and a bit more attractive than the relatively plain-looking OWC Envoy Pro EX, which has a greater length, but otherwise similar dimensions. All three of these drives will fit in a pocket more easily than the G-Technology G-Drive Slim SSD, a traditionally sized drive (0.39 by 5.08 by 3.23 inches). The T5's case is aluminum, and there are no moving parts, and it's rated to survive a tumble up to 6.6 feet.
The drive connects via USB-C, matching the G-Drive Slim, Adata SE730, and our current top pick, the Sandisk Extreme 900 (the Envoy Pro EX uses a legacy micro USB 3.0 port.) Like the Extreme 900 and G-Drive Slim, the T5 SSD comes with both USB-C-to-USB-C and USB-C-to-USB-3.0 cables, so you can use it with virtually all laptops and desktops. (The previous Samsung Portable T3 SSD and Adata SE730 don't come with USB-C cables.)
Good Per-Gig Value
The 2TB iteration of the T5 SSD works out to 39 cents per gigabyte, which is reasonable compared with the higher per-gigabyte ratio of 52 cents for the Sandisk Extreme 900. The G-Drive Slim is comparable at 38 cents per gigabyte, but our current SSD co-champion, the Oyen Digital MiniPro 3.1 USB-C Portable Solid-State Drive, has the best ratio (29 cents per gigabyte at a 1TB capacity). To be fair, the MiniPro 3.1 is physically larger, more akin to a desktop drive than the smaller SE730, T3, and T5. Paying a little extra for the T5's miniature case is worth it, particularly when you consider it's $50 less than the T3 at the same capacity.
Software is relatively sparse. The drive includes the Samsung Portable SSD software utility, which activates and manages the drive's built-in AES 256-bit encryption via password, but that's about it. The encryption software works on Android tablets and phones, Macs, and Windows PCs. The T5 SSD is exFAT formatted, so it will work with all three operating systems out of the box. Samsung backs the drive with a three-year warranty, which is on par for this class of portable SSDs. Since there are no moving parts, there's not a lot that can go wrong.