Samsung's mass-market external drive, the Portable SSD T-series, was last updated in August 2017 with the introduction of the T5 with 64-layer V-NAND. The Portable SSD T5 came with a SATA SSD internally and a USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) Type-C port for the host interface. Since then, we have seen a number of technology updates in this market segment including newer flash generations and the introduction of NVMe - USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) bridge chips.

At CES 2020, Samsung is unveiling the Portable SSD T7 Touch and also announcing the Portable SSD T7. Both products place a NVMe SSD behind a USB 3.2 Gen 2 bridge to offer up to read/write speeds of up to 1050/1000 MBps. The performance specifications for the two products are similar, with the only difference being the fingerprint-based security option in the Touch version. Typically, Samsung has used external SSDs as test drivers for new V-NAND generations. For example, the Portable SSD T5 was the retail debut for their 64-layer V-NAND. Based on recent announcements, it looks likely that the Portable SSD T7 Touch and Portable SSD T7 use the sixth-generation 136-layer V-NAND. [Update (1/24/2020): As part of our hands-on review, we disassembled a 1TB T7 Touch and found a flash package carrying the K9DVGY8J5A tag. This decodes as: TLC, 5th gen V-NAND (92L), 512Gbit per die, 16 dies, 1TB for the whole package. It is the same NAND package used in 2TB 970 EVO Plus.]

The key differentiating aspect of the Portable SSD T7 Touch is the addition of fingerprint-based security to go with the password protection / 256-bit AES-based hardware encryption offered for the data in the internal SSD. External drives adopting biometric security for encryption purposes are rare - the market demanding that level of security is limited. Most of the products adopting this approach (such as the Apricorn Aegis Bio 3, Verbatim Fingerprint Secure HDD, and the Imation Defender H200) carry a significant price premium, with FIPS certification added in certain products to justify it. The Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch, aimed at casual users, is not FIPS certified. Samsung's scale and technology advancements have allowed for the pricing of the product at reasonable levels compared to the non-biometrics version. The key specifications of the Portable SSD T7 Touch and Portable SSD T7 are summarized in the table below.

Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch and T7 Product Specifications
  Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch Samsung Portable SSD T7
Capacities 2TB, 1TB, 500GB
Interface USB 3.2 (Gen 2, 10Gbps) with backward compatibility
Dimensions (LxWxH) 85 x 57 x 8.0mm (3.3 x 2.2 x 0.3 inches)
Weight 58 grams (2.0 oz)
Transfer Speed Up to 1050 MBps
UASP Mode Supported
Encryption 256-bit AES in Hardware
Security Password Protection S/W
Fingerprint Recognition
Password Protection S/W
Certifications CE, BSMI, KC, VCCI, C-tick, FCC, IC, UL, TUV, CB
RoHS Compliance RoHS2
Colors Black & Silver TBD
Packaged Cables USB type-C-to-C, USB type-C-to-A
Warranty 3 Years Limited
Launch MSRP (USD) $130 (500GB), $230 (1TB), $400 (2TB) TBD

The Portable SSD T7 Touch also features a 'Motion LED', allowing the user to determine device status with a single glance. The aluminum casing allows the products to weigh in at just 58 grams.

The product will be available for purchase this month in black and silver, with capacities of 500GB, 1TB and 2TB sizes priced at $130, $230, and $400 respectively. Pricing for the non-biometrics version (retail availability in Q2 2020) was not announced.

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  • quiksilvr - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    Looks pretty cool but I always wondered why they don't go USB4 considering it is an NVMe storage and not SATA. Reply
  • danielfranklin - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    With all those usb4 controllers all over the market?
    TB3 drives already exist, even from Samsung.
    Comparability with normal USB hasn't got going yet, bit now possible I believe, just the chips cost a lot!
    Reply
  • fazalmajid - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    Seems quite a bit larger than the T5. Also priced 50% higher, but I suppose those are just list prices. Reply
  • James5mith - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    Just checked the price on the T5 2TB, it's $350. $50 more for the 2TB at MSRP is actually quite good for including the biometric security and newest gen flash.

    $50 more, not 50% more.
    Reply
  • mczak - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    According to the numbers, the T7 isn't really larger. Same width, 15% longer indeed, but 24% thinner.
    Price comparison is a bit difficult since we don't know how much cheaper the non-biometric version will be, but assuming it's a somewhat sizeable difference it doesn't look to me like the T7 will be all that much more expensive than the T5.
    Reply
  • boeush - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    At that physical size, it's strange that 2 TB is the top capacity in 2020. Ought to be at least 6 TB - unless the real limiting factor is price... Reply
  • danielfranklin - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    Pretty good given it can't have an mSATA drive in it anymore.
    Seems hard to have an 80mm m.2 drive in it, but maybe possible.
    Fingerprint is interesting. Would it require software? Of can you plug it into a new machine, press the touchpad and have it mount?
    If that's how it works, I'm sure my clients would appreciate me using that feature carrying around random data all the time....
    Reply
  • tooto - Sunday, January 12, 2020 - link

    It uses 5th gen. V-NAND.

    https://www.samsungsemiconstory.com/2201
    “삼성전자 포터블 SSD 'T7 Touch'는 최고 성능의 5세대 512Gb V낸드와 초고속 인터페이스 NVMe 컨트롤러를 탑재했습니다.” → definitely 5th gen.
    Reply

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