Gaming laptops are traditionally full of compromises.
Samsung X5 review: An SSD Ready For The Future
- Incredible speeds
- Compact form-factor
- High price
- Not everyone really needs this much speed
While the X5 is that much faster than the T5, you really have to be involved in an industry or hobby where that extra speed matters for it to really be worth the premium price.
Price$ 625.00 (AUD)
When I reviewed last year’s Samsung T5, I didn’t have a whole lot of complaints. Yeah, it was kinda expensive if you approach it from a dollars-per-gigabyte perspective. However, it was also one of the slickest and slimmest consumer SSD products you can readily buy in Australia.
It still is. So if you’re looking for personal SSD storage, go look at the T5.
But, on the off-chance that you look at the T5 and find its mere 540mb/s transfer speed lacking, then it might be time to consider the new Samsung X5. The USB 3.1 Gen 2 transfer speeds available on the T5 were already incredibly fast. But what if they were somehow even faster?
Speed is the central conceit of the Samsung X5 Portable SSD and it’s utterly unapologetic in its excess.
Storage: 500GB / 1TB / 2TB
Weight: 119 x 62 x 19.7 mm
Durability Features: Shock-resistant
Ports: USB Type-C
Pack Ins: USB Type-C To USB Type-C cable,
Price: $629 / $1099 / $2199
If there’s any drawback to opting for the X5 over the T5, aside from the difference in price, it’s that the X5 is both a little bigger and bulkier than its predecessor. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly weighty. But is noticeably larger in size when compared to the T5. You could almost fit two T5’s into the same space occupied by a single X5.
Rather than opt for the cool, curved metallic aesthetics of the T5, the X5 features a grey plastic shell on one side and a bright red rubberized casing on the other. Personal taste may be a factor here: but I was a much bigger fan of the former than the latter.
That said, this redesign does yield some practical benefits. After a few weeks of carrying it around in my backpack, I found the X5 noticeably more scratch-resistant than the T5. Unfortunately, the SSD did also collect more than its fair share of smudges, grease and fingerprints.
Like its predecessor, the X5 also comes with AES-256 encryption and a slew of durability enhancements. The two-material design of X5 is reinforced by a magnesium alloy that Samsung claim adds 2 metres of drop resistance. Meanwhile, a new Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG) technology helps maintain optimal performance and temperature when the X5 is in use by using a heat sink to keeps surface temperature below 45-degrees celsius.
Again like the T5, the only real physical feature on the X5 is the single USB Type-C port that sits on the end. Unlike the T5, however, the X5’s USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C port is a Thunderbolt 3 one with an NVMe interface.
And, as it turns out, this upgrade makes for a huge difference in the transfer speeds made possible. The T5 was capable of up to 540 MB/s. With the X5, the fastest bandwidth you can get out of this thing is 2,800 MB/s. In theory as well as practice, it’s a tremendous step-up.
And in addition to offering faster speeds, the X5 also comes in a beefier range of sizes than the T5 did. Where the T5 started at 250GB, the X5 starts at 500GB and goes all the way up to 2TB of storage.
The only problem here is that, admittedly, there’s not a huge amount of demand for that higher speed. Sure, this thing can transfer a 4K movie in twelve seconds - but you could buy a 4K TV for less than the X5 costs. Unless you work in an industry that really requires it, the reality of that cost is going to be a high barrier to buying the X5.
Still, the Samsung X5 is an awe-inspiring piece of tech to behold and to use. When tasked with transferring a 38GB folder full of images and video content from our desktop onto the X5, it managed the task in just 39 seconds. During this, it reached peak transfer speeds of about 1GB/s.
Flipping this task on its head, the Samsung X5 Portable SSD took 51 seconds to transfer the same folder back to our desktop. Here, however, it did only reach peak speeds of about 900MB/s during this process.
The Bottom Line
When taken as a whole, it’s hard not to begrudgingly hand over the crown for portable SSD storage to Samsung here.
With blistering transfer speeds that can’t be matched in the consumer space, plus all the other perks you’d want from a portable SSD, the X5 is the whole package. I’d even go so far as to say it’s the best portable SSD money can buy. Assuming you have the money to buy it.
And that’s the only real catch here. While the X5 is that much faster than the T5, you really have to be involved in an industry or hobby where that extra speed matters for it to really be worth the premium price.
Again, the T5 is still one of the best personal SSD storage options out there. And so long as the price of the X5 remains as high as it is, it probably will.
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