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Samsung S1 Mini review: Samsung S1 Mini

Samsung S1 Mini

Justin Yu Associate Editor / Reviews - Printers and peripherals
Justin Yu covered headphones and peripherals for CNET.
Justin Yu
4 min read

The Samsung S1 Mini represents one of latest consumer external drives to use the smaller, lighter 1.8-inch design. Most of the external drives we review on this site use the more popular 2.5-inch enclosure that allows for more space (at times up to half a terabyte) for a little over $100. Although the Samsung S1 Mini is undoubtedly slender and attractive, the $140 price is currently far above average. For a much cheaper portable hard drive that retains an equally sexy, if larger, body, check out the Transcend StoreJet 25f instead.


Samsung S1 Mini

The Good

Classy design; small footprint; decent transfer speeds; generous three-year warranty.

The Bad

Very expensive.

The Bottom Line

The Samsung S1 Mini's high cost per gigabyte and slow throughput benchmarks overshadow its sexy design and small 1.8-inch footprint. We prefer the Transcend StoreJet, which offers more storage at a fraction of the cost.

Design and features
The most appetizing feature of the Samsung S1 Mini external hard drive is the chassis itself. It's small enough to easily slip unnoticed into a jacket or shirt pocket thanks to the 1.8-inch hard disk inside--it measures only 87mm long, 62mm wide, and 15.5mm deep and weighs just 0.201 pounds.

The S1 Mini only comes in a 120GB capacity and is available in four colors: piano black, snow white, wine red, and chocolate brown, according to Samsung. Each color wraps around the front and sides of the device, and the top is embellished with a subtle circular lattice pattern with speckles of glitter that accent its features. Similar to the Transcend StoreJet 25f, the back of the S1 Mini is covered with a roughly texturized black plastic that prevents the drive from slipping on a smooth surface. The S1 Mini is self-powered by the USB port on its host computer, so the only port you'll find is for the super short mini-USB cord included in the box. A soft blue light glows off the top of the S1 Mini to notify you when it's transferring data.

In an effort to create less waste, Samsung ditches the software CD and bundles all the software directly onto the drive instead. If you need to reformat the drive to match your operating system, the software is also available as a free download on the Samsung Storage Web site. SecretZone allows you to create multiple virtual drives on the S1 Mini with optional security encryption options, including 128-bit AES, 256-bit AES, and Blowfish 448. An included Auto Backup program also helps you schedule archiving.

Cost per gigabyte
As you can see from the chart below, the Samsung S1 Mini costs much more per gigabyte than its current competitors. Since we don't have any other 1.8-inch external drives to compare it with, the other 2.5-inch drives provide a good example of how far the price has come down on storage for the slightly smaller design. The reigning competitor in this category is the aforementioned Transcend StoreJet 25f at just 34 cents per gigabyte, more than three times less than the Samsung S1 Mini's pricey $1.17 cents per gigabyte. We'd like to say that you're paying extra for the S1 Mini's small footprint, but the Transcend 25f is only slightly larger in size and weight and only costs $175 for 500GB of storage.

We put the S1 Mini through our standard transfer speed test, and we're not surprised to see that the 1.8-inch, 4,200rpm drive performed just as well as its 2.5-inch, 5,300rpm cousins. In fact, its 23.54MBps read speed and 20.89 write speeds actually registered faster than the Seagate FreeAgent Go and the Iomega eGo Camo. Once again, however, the Transcend StoreJet 25f enjoys a first-place seat as the fastest hard drive we've tested at 27.52MBps read and 24.3MBps write, reinforcing our final buying recommendation.

Speed transfer
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read (MB/s)  
Write (MB/s)  
Transcend StoreJet 25F
Samsung S1 Mini
Iomega eGo Camo
Seagate FreeAgent Go
Service and Support
Samsung protects the S1 Mini with a generous three-year warranty that protects against manufacturer's defects. If your problem is confirmed, Samsung will ask you to send it back for a full diagnostic test and ship you a replacement unit at the same time. For general troubleshooting issues, Samsung provides a comprehensive list of FAQs, a glossary, a user guide, and even a self-diagnostic chart to check your drive for common errors before contacting the RMA service. The company also provides an e-mail form that puts you in direct contact with a Samsung technician.


Samsung S1 Mini

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 7Support 9