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The Samsung T1 proved itself with internal SATA SSD-like results, sustaining a throughput of 390MB/s when downloading (reading) a single large compressed file and 300MB/s when uploading (writing). This is the fastest USB 3.0 storage device we've ever tested.
The T1 brings performance gains when handling lots of small files as in our 'program' file transfer test which moves 6104 small non-compressed files totaling 2.75GB. The T1's download performance was 40% greater than the fastest thumb drive we've seen and almost four times faster than a conventional 2.5" hard drive. Moreover, the upload tests showed the T1 to be five times faster than the quickest thumb drive we've tested while it was 42% faster than the Kingston HyperX Max 64GB portable SSD.
We've found that high performance thumb drives get hot after long periods of activity and while this doesn't seem to impact their performance or reliability, it isn't exactly ideal. Fortunately, the T1's plastic cover never became warmer than the ambient temperature and should that reach extreme levels, a Dynamic Thermal Guard feature will activate to protect your data and drive.
Samsung says that the T1 is a secure and durable device, but we're not so sure about that second part. The T1 is durable in the sense that it can sustain huge amounts of gravitational forces and is highly shock resistant, namely thanks to the mSATA SSD inside.
However, the thin plastic casing surrounding the SSD doesn't appear very durable at all. Dropping a heavy object on the T1 or accidentally stepping on it would likely end the drive's life and void its warranty at the same time, so keep that in mind if you play rough.
Assuming that isn't a concern, pricing remains the only hurdle: the T1 is set at $180 for the smallest 250GB model, $300 for the 500GB unit that we tested and $600 for the 1TB flagship.
That makes the 250GB T1 $40 more expensive than Samsung's 2.5" internal 850 Evo SSD while the 500GB T1 is $65 more and the 1TB model a whopping $125 more. As we see it, spending $40 more for the 250GB T1 is easy to justify. If you bought the 850 Evo, an accompanying 2.5" USB 3.0 enclosure would cost about $35 and be much bulkier than the T1.
That said, it's much harder to swallow the larger premiums for the 500GB and 1TB T1 when $25 buys Mushkin's 1.8" Flux aircraft grade enclosure, which will pair with any mSATA SSD, is made of aluminum, and it uses the same ASMedia 1053E USB 3.0 controller that's inside the T1.
For a complete package out of the box, Samsung's T1 is hard to beat, particularly so for the 250GB model. We just wish the same value was offered with the larger 500GB and 1TB variants.
Pros: With an emphasis on performance and portability, the Samsung T1 puts SATA speeds in your pocket for a fair price -- at least with the 250GB model.
Cons: The 500GB/1TB models seem overpriced versus buying other solutions and the T1's plastic case feels flimsy, especially for the premium involved.