Samsung’s latest portable SSD drive doesn’t just want you to store your precious data on it. It also wants to be touched. Turns out, those two things can be intertwined.
Samsung announced the T7 Touch range of SSDs at CES this year in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB sizes, and Samsung Australia recently sent me a 500GB model for review.
At one level, the Samsung T7 Touch is just another portable SSD drive. You buy them because you have stuff you want to store on them, whether that’s a precious array of family photos and videos from your phone, or those plans for your underground nuclear death bunker. Samsung has been in the external SSD business for a number of years now, and it’s far from alone. Simply offering up external storage without moving parts isn’t really enough to get me excited, and it shouldn’t particularly excite you, either. Equally not exciting: You can get the T7 Touch in either black or silver finishes.
The drive itself is the size of about a dozen or so business cards -- 85x57x8mm if you want to get specific. It connects out via USB C with support for up to USB 3.2 Gen 2 speeds depending on what you hook it into. One nice feature here is that Samsung provides connection cables with USB C and USB A type ends, so it's a little easier to get it hooked up without having to faff around with adaptors or docks or similar.
Where Samsung looks to differentiate the Samsung T7 Touch is with the glowing blue square that sits on one side of the drive. Sure, it lights up when the drive is in use, and you even get a cute spinning animation when the drive is reading or writing data, but the real secret sauce here is that Samsung's including a fingerprint sensor on the body of the drive. The drive itself is formatted as exFAT so it'll work nicely across Windows and Macs.
Getting the Samsung T7 Touch up and running involves setting up the drive, which you can do via Windows or Mac from the utilities sitting on the drive itself, or on Android if you download Samsung's setup app. One catch here for macOS users is that the installation does require a full system reboot, which is annoying.
Once that's done, you can configure the drive, which is a matter simply of deciding if you want no security " in which case I have to question why you're buying a secure drive " and then choosing either to use a password or a password and fingerprint combo. The password is important even though it has fingerprint unlocking, because it's the only authentication method you can use to change your security preferences.
One other small downside to the way Samsung's security works is that if you do want to switch the fingerprint or password off, you do so by wiping both passcode and fingerprint data. There's no option to toggle it off temporarily if you wanted to more easily share your drive with a friend or co-worker.
It's also an all-or-nothing access method. You can either lock down the whole drive, or leave the whole drive open, but you can't set up secure enclosures on the drive to keep just some data secret. The Samsung T7 Touch uses AES 256-bit encryption of files, so if you do lose your password " and presumably any enrolled fingers " you're never going to be able to access your data again.
As with most SSDs, speed is the other key attraction. Simply dragging and dropping files onto the Samsung T7 Touch was nicely speedy for smaller purposes, and putting BlackMagic's Disk Speed Test to work revealed average write speeds of around 800MB/s and read speeds of 900MB/s. As always, you may get slightly different figures if you're shifting singular large files rather than large folders of many files. By way of comparison, I ran the same test load with 1GB files across an older Samsung T5 SSD, and it recorded read speeds of around 485MB/s and read speeds of around 516MB/s.
The Samsung T7 Touch is a fine drive if you need its security features. If all you want is data access then it's certainly smart to check around for the best price on this level of external SSD storage, although if you can score one at the right price, you could always view the fingerprint sensor as a simple glowing novelty.
The Samsung T7 Touch is on sale in Australia now; you'll typically pay around $279 for the 500GB model tested, while the 1TB model will run you around $440 and the 2TB model will hit your wallet for around $849 based on online merchant pricing.