The Samsung T7 SSD has to be considered for the best external hard drives for Mac as well as the best external hard drives in general (it also works with Windows and consoles) – it gives you tons of storage, it's small and lightweight, and it's really simple to setup too.
That's a lot of boxes ticked when you're shopping for a device like this, and even in a packed field, the Samsung T7 SSD does enough to stand out. That solid-state drive technology ensures speedy file transfer rates and quiet operation to begin with.
If you're thinking about spending some money on the Samsung T7 SSD, then our comprehensive review will tell you everything you need to know about this external hard drive – from how easy it is to set up to the maximum transfer rates you can expect.
Samsung T7 SSD review: design and setup
The Samsung T7 SSD isn't going to blow your mind in terms of its aesthetics – it hardly pushes the boundaries of what an external solid-state drive can look like – but Samsung has nevertheless done a very decent job with the design. It's nicely rounded, and nicely finished with a matte texture, and the Samsung logo isn't too much either. There's a single LED light on the side that glows blue when the drive is being accessed.
Until you actually hold one in your hands, it's difficult to appreciate just how small the Samsung T7 SSD really is. It measures just 85 mm x 57 mm x 8 mm (that's 3.37 inches x 2.24 inches x 0.31 inches), and weighs in at a mere 58 grams (or 0.13 pounds). It's not much bigger than a credit card (though substantially thicker), and it easily fits in your palm – this really is a drive that will fit in any pocket or bag, and which you can take anywhere with you. In fact, you might have more trouble packing the supplied cables (both USB-C to USB-A and USB-C to USB-C are included).
USB-C is the connection standard here, and the port is neatly integrated into the rest of the overall design. We should also mention that besides the standard grey of our review unit, you can also pick up the Samsung T7 SSD in more striking blue or red colours, so there's something to suit every kind of desk decor really. As an added bonus, the drive is tough too: it comes with shock protection, so it can take a few knocks.
Setup couldn't really be any simpler – whether you're working on Windows, macOS, a games console or anything else, the drive is recognised in seconds and you can get on with transferring files or formatting the SSD. There is a supplied Samsung software program for managing firmware updates and setting a password on the drive if you want to, but it's by no means essential to the operation of the device.
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Samsung T7 SSD review: specs and performance
The Samsung T7 SSD boasts some rather impressive specs, thanks mainly to the PCIe NVMe solid-state drive technology inside its shell. USB 3.2 Gen 2 is supported, if you've got the cables and the computer ports to work at those maximum speeds, while the top read and write speeds you can get from this drive are 1,050 MB/s and 1,000 MB/s respectively. In terms of these kinds of external drives, that's just about as good as you're going to get over USB at the moment.
The actual real transfer rates that you're going to get will vary, depending on what you've got the Samsung T7 SSD plugged into and the sort of data you're moving across. To give you some idea, transferring around 5GB of data from a Windows computer (with USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports) to the Samsung T7 SSD took around xxx seconds in our testing – this is a speedy drive that won't leave you waiting around for long when it comes to getting your files moved across.
Samsung says that it's built some special thermal management into the T7 SSD to help keep temperatures down, and we didn't notice the drive getting hot at all during our time with it. As this is an SSD and there are no fans on the unit, noise wasn't a problem either. It's a quiet, cool external storage solution that you can just plug in and forget it's there – perfect if you're working on the go and want to take all your files with you.
Smaller SSD drives like this can't offer the same level of storage capacity as some of the larger mechanical hard disk drives of course, but you can pick up the Samsung T7 SSD with 500GB, 1TB or 2TB of space (with the price going up accordingly). That's as much or as more as your laptop or computer probably offers to begin with, so we're talking about a substantial amount of extra space.
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Samsung T7 SSD review: price and verdict
Check the widgets embedded on this page for the latest Samsung T7 SSD prices online, but at the time of writing you can pick up the 1TB grey model that we reviewed for around £160 or $170. That's a respectable price for the amount of storage you get, but you can get a cheaper per-gigabyte price if you shop around – you are paying extra for this ultra-compact form factor and the SSD technology built into this drive.
It's also worth mentioning that there's a more expensive Touch T7 SSD model available from Samsung – the key difference is a fingerprint sensor on top of the drive, which unlocks the stored files so they can be accessed. You can encrypt files on the regular T7 SSD too, but using your fingerprint is more secure than trying to remember a password (which can be guessed or hacked by a third party).
There's a lot to like about the Samsung T7 SSD and virtually nothing bad to say about it. Other drives may be slightly cheaper if you compare the storage amounts but there's not much in it; and while bigger HDD units offer a lot more space for your files than this drive does, they're also a lot larger in size and often require their own power supply too. Every external drive involves some trade-offs, and this SSD gets them just about right.
The versatility of this drive shouldn't be underestimated either – it works with Windows, macOS, Chrome OS and consoles, and you can even get at your files by connecting an Android device. If you need to move a lot of files around very quickly, between multiple devices, and you need the drive to be as portable as possible too, then the Samsung T7 SSD is ideal.
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