Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD Review: Small, Tough, and Fast!

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The Lowdown

The Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD is a fantastic external drive; it offers super-fast speeds, and it has a durable enclosure that is ready to put up with the rigors of the road.

Overall
5

Pros

  • Small and light
  • Durable
  • IP65 rating
  • Large capacities available
  • Ships with two cables for almost-universal compatibility
  • Works with Mac, Windows, Android, gaming consoles, and more
  • Fast read/write speeds

Cons

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD Review: Small, Tough, and Fast! Listen to this article

I remember the days of large, hard drives with mechanical internals and enough storage for just a few songs or photos. Those days are long gone, and the new Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD shows just how far we have come. Available in 1TB and 2TB capacities, the T7 Shield is a small, fast, rugged drive for 2022.

The Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD sitting in front of a laptop near a mixing board.

Samsung is known for its phones and televisions, but it is also a heavyweight in solid-state storage. They already offered their T7 solid-state drive with a 500GB version for under $100. They’ve extended the line with the introduction of the secure T7 Touch USB 3.2 drive., which has a biometric fingerprint reader for fast, secure access to all your stored data.

Now the company has extended the line further with the introduction of the new Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD. Small and pocketable. What makes the T7 Shield stand out is the combination of speed, reliability, and hardiness Samsung has baked into its newest offering.

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD retail packaging

Samsung understands that storage needs have grown exponentially. That awareness is reflected in the fact that the smallest capacity offered in the T7 Shield is one Terabyte. It sells for $159.99 but is currently available for just $134.99.

Samsung also introduced a 2T version of the T7 Shield. It is usually $289.99 but is currently available for just $239.99.

Think about it. For under $135, you can get a fast, reliable Terabyte SSD; that’s amazing!

But that’s not the whole story.

Included in the Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD retail package

Inside the box, you get the T7 Shield, a USB-C to USB-C cable, AND a USB-C to USB-A cable. We all know that USB-C is the current and future standard in computing, but Samsung clearly understands that we are still in the transition process from USB-A to USB-C.

Cables included with the Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD

I really appreciate them including cables that let you use the Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD with current and older computers. That noted, I look forward to the day when the transition is done, and we will only need a single cable with an external drive like this.

USB Type-C port on the Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD

Durable yet stylish: Take your pick. 1TB or 2TB gives you colossal space in sleek colorways of blue, beige, or black. The stylish rubberized grip prevents slips so it stays in your hands. Bring everything with you, and look great doing it.

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD measurements

The external drive is small, measuring 2.3″ by 3.5″ by .5″ and weighing just 3.47 ounces. For comparison’s sake, the T7 Shield is just a bit bigger than a credit card.

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD Review: Small, Tough, and Fast!

Rugged durability: Tough, fast, and compact. The all-new rugged PSSD T7 Shield is built to endure with the space to create thanks to an IP65 rating for Dust and Water resistance.

Available in beige, black, or blue, the drive has a rubber exterior that makes it easy to hold and helps absorb the impact if it takes a tumble. Drop resistance capabilities will vary depending on the actual environmental conditions and the nature of the drop; in their labs, Samsung has shown the drive to withstand drops of up to 9.8’!

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD is IP65 rated

But that is only one of the features that secured this drive the moniker “Shield.” In addition to the shock-absorbing coating, the T7 Shield has an IP65 rating which means it offers significant protection from water and dust.

And as if that weren’t enough, the rubber exterior of the drive offers drop protection and Dynamic Thermal Guard protection to help control the heat put out by the drive when it is hard at work.

This thermal protection helps increase the drive’s longevity and “controls heat to maintain steady performance for even giant projects.”

Finally, once a file is on the drive, you’ll want to continue to make sure it is safe and secure. Fortunately, the Samsung T7 Shield can secure files with AES 256-bit encryption. So the drive is safe, and the contents you put on the drive are safe too!

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD in white

So the Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD takes all of Samsung’s experience with external solid-state drives and puts it into a casing that is likely tougher than any external drive you have used. And they were able to do all that while keeping the T7 Shield as small, light, and portable as possible.

But while that may be all good and well, what really matters with an external drive is the speeds. Files have become huge, and having to sit and wait to transfer files is one of the many new frustrations that have been introduced with our move to higher-quality video, photos, and music.

An example.

During the fall of 2020, my synagogue was completely shut down due to COVID-19. We had to hold our High Holy Day services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur online. Rather than simply leading a “normal” service on Zoom, we decided to lean into the challenge and create a full worship “experience.”

We hired a production team and started shooting and editing videos. Most of that editing was done by me on my Mac here at home.

By the time we were done, I had a few dozen edited videos that took up multiple gigabytes of storage on my computer. The files were so large that I had to temporarily “offload” completed videos to an external drive even as we edited new videos.

The amount of time I wasted waiting for ten, twenty, and even thirty GB files to move from my computer to the external drive I was using was ridiculous. And then, when it came time for services, I had to move all of the completed files back to my computer. That took even longer.

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD read & write speeds

Life would have been just a bit easier if I had had the T7 Shield at the time. While it is designed to be rugged and put up with whatever your workday throws at it, the drive is also fast.

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According to Samsung, when using the USB-C cable, the T7 Shield delivers read/write speeds of 1,050/1000MB/s. That translates, they claim, to the ability to transfer a 5GB video in 8 seconds, a 3GB video in 4.4 seconds, and 1GB of pictures in just 2 seconds. That’s impressive!

Now here’s the thing. I could run a series of benchmarks to see how close to Samsung’s numbers the drive actually gets. But while that might be interesting for the more technologically-minded here, I honestly don’t care about the numbers when I approach a gadget.

What matters to me is the experience of using the device. Think about it. Does it matter if Samsung’s estimates are exact or if they actually are off by 5 or 10% in real-world use?

So, rather than running a bunch of tests and reporting to you whether Samsung’s claims are accurate or not, I decided to just work with the T7 Shield for a week as the main external drive attached to my computer. (For what it’s worth, it is now the main drive attached to my computer.)

I created a video that was close to 5GB the other day and moved it to the Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD. The process took less than ten seconds. I moved a small file that was “just” 2GB over, and the process was as close to instantaneous as I have ever seen.

And when I took one of the huge files I had created for services in the fall of 2020 and moved it over to the Shield, the speed with which the process took place was astounding compared to what I experienced just two years ago.

In other words, the numbers and stats are the numbers and stats, but what I can report is that the Samsung T7 Shield is the fastest external SSD drive I have ever used. And, at the end of the day, that’s what actually matters.

Add to that the fact that the T7 Shield is compatible with PC, Mac, Android devices, gaming consoles, and more, and you have a fast, tough, and flexible drive that can go anywhere you need to take it.

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD in white

Samsung isn’t kidding when they describe the drive this way:

Mighty tough: Ready for the rough and tumble. Shoot on location and wander the wild while feeling confident your data is securely resistant to water and dust with an IP65 rating. The rugged design and advanced outer elastomer add extra durability to even endure a 9.8-foot drop.

The Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD is a fantastic external drive; it offers super-fast speeds, and it has a durable enclosure that is ready to put up with the rigors of the road. The SSD ships with both a current USB-C cable and a legacy cable for use with computers with USB-A ports.

The SSD is available in three colors, and it is small enough to slip in a pocket easily; it is available in one and two-terabyte capacities at prices that would have been unheard of just a year or two ago.

I have other external SSD drives, but none offer the speed or durability of the Samsung T7 Shield. So while I might be inclined to use the review sample as the drive I keep connected to my home computer “permanently,” the Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD seems more suited to be my on-the-go external drive; that’s why it has already taken a spot in my gadget pouch.

The Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD retails for $134.99 (1TB) and $229.99 (2TB); it is available directly from the manufacturer and other retailers, including Amazon.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Small and light; Durable; IP65 rating; Large capacities available; Ships with two cables for almost-universal compatibility; Works with Mac, Windows, Android, gaming consoles, and more; Fast read/write speeds

What Needs Improvement: Not a thing so far

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.