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Samsung's new portable T5 SSD gets a speed bump

The ultracompact external solid-state drive now offers faster transfer speeds and new colors for its aluminum exterior.

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David Carnoy
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David Carnoy

Executive Editor / Reviews

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable e-reader and e-publishing expert. He's also the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks and Nook e-books, as well as audiobooks.

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Shop for Samsung Portable SSD T5 (1TB)

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In terms of size and weight, Samsung's new SSD T5 portable solid state drive is nearly identical to its predecessor, the SSD T3. Its price is also the same, starting at $130 for the entry-level 250GB model. But according to Samsung, the T5 is faster, offering transfer speeds up to 540 megabytes per second compared to the T3's 450MBps. 

Like last year's T3, which we liked a lot, the T5 weighs in at a mere 1.8 ounces and has the height and width of a business card, measuring 3 by 2.3 by 0.4 inches. It's ever so slightly thinner than the T3 but still weighs the same. 

Samsung T5 SSD
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Samsung T5 SSD

The 1TB and 2TB versions come in black.

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Its aluminum casing comes in two colors -- "Deep Black" for the 1TB ($400) and 2TB ($800) models and "Alluring Blue" for the 250GB and 500GB ($200) models. And like the the T3, the T5 is shock-resistant and is rated to withstand accidental drops of up to 6.6 feet.

Compatible with Macs and Windows PCs, the T5 has a USB 3.1 (Gen 2, 10Gbps) backwards-compatible interface and comes with two connection cables -- dual-headed USB-C and USB-C to A. A mobile app is available for Android phones and tablets.

Solid-state external drives offer much faster transfer speeds than external HDD products and are also much smaller and lighter. But the big downside is that they cost significantly more per GB of storage. Case in point: The 1TB version of the T5 costs $400 while a 1TB external HDD such as the Western Digital My Passport costs around $60. 

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The 250GB and 500GB versions of Samsung's SSD T5 have an "Alluring Blue" finish.

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