Samsung T7 Touch full review
To follow up the highly popular T3 and T5 drives, Samsung has again mounted an SSD storage device inside an external drive. The difference here is that the new generation exploits the extra bandwidth of USB 3.2 Gen 2 and also provides inbuilt biometric security.
But does the styling, performance and access controls on the T7 Touch justify the extra cost?
Price & Availability
As the T7 Touch is a globally available product, the exact pricing in any region can vary.
If we compare that with the equally fast Crucial X8 1TB, the T7 Touch is at least £45 ($40) more expensive, but it does offer biometric security for the additional cost.
Check out our chart of the best portable hard drives and SSDs to see what else is available.
Design & Build
As we recall, the Samsung T5 was and still is a nicely constructed and designed drive, but the T7 Touch is an even more refined solution.
The thin aluminium chassis that contains the flash module is smooth and cool to the touch, and the only features are the fingerprint pad with a blue LED and the USB-C port on one end. It’s small enough to fit in a shirt pocket if you are prepared to detach the cable and find another pocket for that.
Samsung provided a silver T7 Touch with 1TB of capacity for review, but we need to mention that this hardware also comes in black and additional 500GB or 2TB capacities. That's fewer colours than the T5 if you're after something more vibrant.
Out of the box, the T7 Touch comes with two 40cm cables. One that ends in a standard Type-A USB connector and the other is a Type-C variety. What’s mildly disappointing considering the cost of this item, is that Samsung didn’t include any bag or case for the T7 Touch and cables. And, the box is made of thin card, and wouldn’t last long in a typical office environment.
Hopefully, like the T5, this design will encourage a wide selection of third-party carry case makers to support it and discourage owners to throw their drives and cables into any bag.
Irrespective of how you connect it, the drive is optimised for USB 3.2 Gen 2 connection to enable its full performance. We’ll take about performance shortly, but the security aspect of this device first needs to be explained.
Specs & Features
As the name implies, the T7 Touch has a fingerprint sensor mounted on the top surface, and to use the encryption functionality that this is linked. We’ve seen secure drives like this before, but often they use a numeric pad to unlock them.
When you configure the T7 Touch, you can choose no security, just a password or fingerprint and password combined.
Whichever of the secure options assumes several critical things, like the machine you wish to use it on has the security application installed when you want to access the contents. But it also has another drawback, that we ran straight into when we tried to review this device initially.
Our review hardware had been elsewhere prior arriving with us, and that reviewer had encrypted the drive and mistakenly decided not to provide their password and/or finger in the box with the T7 Touch.
On a numeric pad drive, like the Datashur Pro 2, there is a reset code you can enter that resets the drive if you accept that doing that will also delete all the data. And, some drives can also have an admin code that the IT department use before deploying it to the user.
The T7 Touch has neither of these options. Should you not have access to the password and/or the encrypting digit, you must ask Samsung support staff to help you reset the device.
They’ll ask for proof of purchase, and for you to sign a document they provide. And, in our case, as we didn’t have evidence we’d bought it, and demanded additional proof that we are reviewers, perversely.
That’s not an ideal scenario, as over the lifetime of this device it will invariably need resetting at least once, you might imagine. And, in the future, if you can’t find an operating system that the security app will install and run, the contents of the device is equally inaccessible.
We’ve already seen one end-user review of the T7 Touch commenting that it isn’t any quicker than the previous T5, but we understand why they might think that.
And, if you plug it into an old USB 3.0 port, or USB 3.2 Gen 1 as it is now referred, then only expect around 450MB/s from this drive for both reading and writing. If you don’t have UASP mode support on the port, it could be even slower.
In our testing, we connected it to a Thunderbolt 3 port by the USB-C cable. That port will downgrade itself to USB 3.2 Gen 2 spec, and provide the 10mbit per second of bandwidth that is needed to get the full speed out of the T7 Touch.
With those boxes ticked reads of 930MB/s and writes of 928MB/s were possible, but not quite the 1000MB+ level that Samsung quotes in promotional material.
That’s a decent speed, though, and as fast as you are likely to see for now and very comparable with the popular Crucial X8 1TB.
We’ve seen a few reports that Samsung will release a version of theT7 without touch later this year, but we can’t confirm that rumour. It would seem a logical step, as this is a very classy device that is only undermined by the asking price.
At about 25% more than the T5 for the same capacity, the T7 justifies that premium with the additional security features and dramatically higher transfer speeds.
If you don’t intend to use the biometric security, and you can’t guarantee USB 3.2 Gen 2 connectivity, then the T5 would probably be a better choice. Or, the excellent Crucial X8 that has the same performance for much the same price as the T5.
However, if you do have those intentions and compliant hardware, then waiting half as long to transfer files could well be worth the extra on the 1TB capacity drive for the T7 Touch.
Our only reservation about using this device in a business context is that having a biometric security solution on storage where no admin back-door exists is a lost data scenario waiting to happen. Since this can lead to some awkward situations, you'll want to consider whether it's worth it or not.
Samsung T7 Touch: Specs
- Capacity: 500GB, 1TB and 2TB
- Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 2 ( backward compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0)
- Texture: Aluminium
- Operating Temperature: 5–35°C
- System requirements: Windows 7 or higher
- Mac OS X 10.10 or higher
- or Android Lollipop (version 5.1) or higher
- Accessories: USB-A to USB-C and USB-C to USB-C cables, Quick start guide
- Colour: Silver or Black
- Dimensions: ( L x W x H ): 85 x 57 x 8mm
- Weight: 58g
- Warranty: 3 years