My photo collection has grown exponentially over the last 2-3 years since I switched over to shooting in RAW. Now each photo takes up 12MB+ of space versus its previous 1-3MB. And to counter this growth, I had to moved my photos onto a external drive. But with this move came a hit on performance. Every Lightroom operation took noticeably longer, so I started to look into portable SSDs or replacing the SSD within my MacBook Pro with a larger one.
Initially I thought of ‘making’ my own portable SSD by buying a standard 2.5″ SSD and an enclosure for it. However, when I did my research, the price of buying the two came out to be very similar to buying a pre-made portable SSD (and in some cases the custom option costed significantly more if you went with the high-end SSD models, etc).
In the end, I settled on the Samsung Portable SSD T1.
I absolutely love the design of the T1. It is just so elegantly designed, it looks more like a fashion accessory than a portable hard drive. And would happily recommend the T1 just by its design alone.
Admittedly, an external drive will never be as fast as an internal drive due to the interface differences. The golden question in this review is: is there a difference between an external ‘traditional’ HDD vs SSD?
The answer is yes. I cannot say for all external SSDs, but for the Samsung T1 – yes, there’s a significant speed difference.
I like benchmarks, but also believe benchmarks do not provide a ‘sense’ of how something actually performs, so I normally provide analogies others can associate with.
The best analogy I could think of to represent the speed difference between the three (internal SSD, external HDD, and external SSD), is:
- internal SSD is like browsing a computer on your local gigabit LAN
- external HDD is like browsing a computer on the internet via a dial-up connection
- external SSD is like browsing a computer on the internet via a ASDL connection
The drive is made of solid plastic and feels very well made. However, due to the thinness and design of the drive, I would not be surprised if it snapped or got crushed if you sat on it. Even a slightly heavy object sitting on top of it could crush it, so be wary of where you place the drive.
If you’re on the market for a external drive (and 500GB/1TB is sufficient in size) or a USB thumb drive, I would recommend you seriously consider in investing in a Samsung Portable SSD – particularly the T1.
At the time of writing this review, the T1 has been superseded by the T3, so you could pick up a T1 at a significant discount in clearance sales.
Also, I have read reviews that claim the T3 is slower than the T1 (I do not own one, so cannot confirm). And another plus for the T1 over the T3 is: the T3 is made of metal and therefore is heavier than the T1. So if you travel a lot, the T1 also have the weight advantage over the T3.