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Samsung T7 Shield Review: Safe Data Wherever You Go

Rating: 9/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $100
T7 Shield SSD resting on MacBook
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek

Would you trust your portable SSD in the rain, sleet, or dust and debris? The Samsung T7 Shield’s IP65 rating makes it a resilient companion for storage wherever data takes you. It’s not just a pretty face with rugged protection, though; this 1TB NVMe drive also puts up serious read/write speeds.

If you need more room for backups, 4K footage, or anything else, you can also pick up the 2TB T7 Shield for $229.

Here's What We Like

  • Exterior shield
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2
  • PCIe NVMe
  • Wide compatibility

And What We Don't

  • Considerable Price

Review Geek's expert reviewers go hands-on with each product we review. We put every piece of hardware through hours of testing in the real world and run them through benchmarks in our lab. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product and never aggregate other people’s reviews. Read more >>

Design and Durability: Slick and Strong

Samsung T7 Shield SSD on laptop
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek

SSDs (Solid State Drives) don’t usually have ridges—then again, they don’t usually have IP65 protection, either. Take your pick from a Beige, Black, or Blue rubber exterior that keeps the drive safe and separates this model from the original Samsung T7 SSD.

The rubber shield that protects its aluminum body also contributes to the 9.8ft drop durability, which means no more worrying about your drive after it takes a nose dive off of your desk and clangs to the floor.

The exterior shell has dynamic thermal control built-in, and it works. Unlike many other portable SSDs, the T7 Shield never turned into a heat source that I’d consider huddling around in the winter. It stayed room temperature to the touch throughout testing.

The T7 Shield is an otherwise straightforward gadget with a single USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port and a blue LED indicator on the front-facing side. At 98g (3.46oz) in weight and 2.32 x 3.46 x 0.51in (59 x 88 x 13mm) in measurement, this SSD slips right into pockets or backpacks for on-location shooting or simply bringing a game to a friend’s house. It’s smaller than most wallets, more akin to a cardholder than your usual bifold.

You’ll also receive USB-C-to-C and USB-C-to-A cables to connect to your Windows PC, Mac, Android devices, iPads, or consoles (along with some other devices that have a USB port and store data). It’s important for portable SSDs like the T7 Shield to accommodate a wide range of operating systems because quick file transfers, a key feature of these drives, need to be seamless across devices.

There are few things that sting more than painstakingly editing hours of footage into a video only to run into compatibility problems when it comes time to export and store on an SSD—this is something you’re not likely to face with the T7 Shield.

You plug it in and it works. It’s stylish and it keeps your data safe, inside and out. What more do you need from a portable SSD?

Software and Performance: Easy to use, Blazingly Fast

Samsung T7 Shield on Macbook Pro
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek

The included software is about as easy to use as the drive itself. Plug the T7 Shield into a compatible computer and you’ll be prompted with a folder containing install files. Run the correct setup for your machine’s operating system and jump into Samsung’s portable SSD software.

There are just a few things you can do with this app, including locking your data up behind password protection, monitoring the remaining storage space on your drive, and keeping the software itself up to date.

If you want an extra layer of defense for your personal data, you’re a few clicks away.

Security

Samsung makes it easy to secure your files behind a password. With your T7 Shield plugged into your computer, open the Samsung Portable SSD software and click Settings. Now, turn the Security Mode toggle to the On position and set your password. That’s all there is to it.

Your data is also backed by AES 256-bit hardware encryption—considered “military-grade”—by default with no effort needed from your side.

Read/Write Speeds

Samsung boasts read/write speeds of up to 1,050/1,000MB/s for this drive. While it didn’t hit those numbers on either of my computers, my MacBook Pro got pretty close.

Check out the results in BlackMagic’s Disk Speed Test (available for Mac) compared to those from CrystalDiskMark (available for Windows). I ran these tests with the same included USB C-to-C cable and same SSD, but the tests are different—your read/write speed results will vary due to many factors, including test and cable choice, the CPU (Central Processing Unit) you have in your system, USB port generation, and more.

My MacBook Pro 2016 (equipped with an Intel core i7 CPU) nearly hit the max target, consistently reaching 900MB/s or above for both read and write speeds.

My Windows PC (built with a Ryzen 5 2600), on the other hand, barely eked out over 400MB/s each (with regards to the first 2 less strenuous test cases). It’s still a fast drive; 400 MB/s completely blows HDDs out of the water, but there is a performance drop from system to system.

If you’re backing up your childhood photos or storing footage you just shot out in the wild, there’s a good chance you’ll be as impressed as I was with the speed of this little drive. How is it so fast, you may ask? That’s thanks to the T7 Shield’s utilization of NVMe storage, rather than the age-old SATA standard. What that means for you: less time spent waiting around for loading bars, and more time to fill up the drive with all the data you want.

Should You Buy the Samsung T7 Shield?

The only reason I wouldn’t recommend the T7 Shield is if you already have a T7 that stays at your desk more than it travels with you. If that sounds like you, the full price of this drive for the extra protection it provides may not be worth the upgrade. The original T7 puts up the exact same read/write speeds as its IP65 partner; you wouldn’t be missing much.

But if you’re on the hunt for a new portable SSD, make it the T7 Shield if it fits your budget. It has everything you need—protection against the elements, strong performance metrics, portability, and style.

Grab the 1TB T7 Shield for $133 or the 2TB version for $229.

Rating: 9/10
Price: $100

Here’s What We Like

  • Exterior shield
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2
  • PCIe NVMe
  • Wide compatibility

And What We Don't

  • Considerable Price

Marcus Mears III Marcus Mears III
Marcus Mears III is the Reviews Editor for How-To Geek and Review Geek. He’s a lifelong technology enthusiast with over three years of experience developing prose that keeps readers in the know. With hundreds of articles across a number of tech publications like MakeUseOf and iGeeksBlog, Mears’ work helps readers around the globe learn to make the most of their devices and software. Read Full Bio »