The Samsung Portable SSD T9 is a compact portable hard drive designed for life on the go. Its rubber-clad exterior ensures that, wherever it’s placed, it stays put without sliding or crashing to the floor. Additionally, this rubber cladding offers the drive a degree of resistance to moisture, although it’s worth noting that the drive is not waterproof. What sets this portable drive apart from many others is its use of one of the latest PCB designs, as opposed to the more commonly found M.2 ultra-fast SSDs. The result is an exceptionally fast and robust drive, boasting a capacity of 4TB and transfer speeds of up to 2000MB/s.
I’ve now seen several iterations of the Samsung T series, and they stand out as portable SSD hard drives in an ever-increasingly crowded market. The Samsung Portable SSD T9 represents the next step up when it comes to speed and capacity, delivering excellent performance in both lab and real-world tests. What really makes these drives stand out is their outwardly simple design that’s also incredibly functional.
The compact size makes it an excellent companion for Blackmagic Pocket Cinema cameras, among others. Its small dimensions also make it easy to transport, and there are no concerns about letting it dangle precariously from your USB port when working—although that’s obviously not advisable. Where this drive truly excels is in its speed and capacity, making it an ideal solution for both stills and video. Ultimately, it’s an excellent drive and reasonably priced, considering its performance.
- Ultra-fast Speeds
- Robust Build
- Generous Capacity
- Premium Price
- Nowhere to stick labels
What is the Samsung Portable SSD T9?
- Capacity Options: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
- Dimensions: 88 x 60 x 14 mm
- Weight: 122 grams
- Max Transfer Speed: Up to 2000MB/s
- PCB Type: Latest-gen PCB design
- Interface: USB Type-C
Build and Handling
The Samsung Portable SSD T9 is compact, measuring 88 x 60 x 14mm and weighing just 122g—astonishingly lightweight for a 4TB drive by any measure. In this review, I’ve been examining and testing the 4TB version, which comes with a slightly premium price tag. However, there are also more affordable 1TB and 2TB versions available, which perform equally well.
When it comes to build quality, the drive’s PCB is housed in a sealed aluminium enclosure that not only protects the drive but also dissipates heat effectively during use. This core is enveloped by a rubberised outer layer, further safeguarding the drive and essentially making it rugged enough for field use.
The compact form factor makes the T9 incredibly easy to handle. That said, having used these drives for several generations, I do have some minor reservations about the all-rubber exterior. As I return to working with others on shoots, we often recommend gear to each other, meaning we all end up using similar equipment. Everything needs to be labelled, but labelling a rubberised drive proves almost impossible; regular stickers don’t stick, requiring an inelegant solution like wrapping a tape band around it. Another issue arises when you want to attach things like Velcro to the drive—say, to stick it to the back of an encased laptop monitor instead of letting it dangle from the USB port. This limitation is a minor gripe, but these are the sorts of practical challenges you encounter when you’ve invested in a drive this good and use it regularly.
Before moving on, it’s worth noting that the drive connects via a single USB Type-C cable. Once connected, a small blue indicator light on the back of the drive confirms that it’s active.
The standout USP of the Samsung Portable SSD T9 has to be its blazing transfer speed, made possible by its state-of-the-art PCB design—a notable departure from the more commonly used M.2 ultra-fast SSDs. With transfer rates clocking in at up to 2000MB/s, this drive not only handles high-resolution photo files with ease but also ensures that video editors aren’t left twiddling their thumbs during crucial file transfers. Furthermore, its massive 4TB capacity offers ample storage, a boon for professionals and amateurs alike who need generous space for their creative projects.
In addition to its performance, the drive is encased in a rubber-clad, sealed aluminium enclosure. This two-layer protection offers durability and a measure of weather resistance, perfect for those field shoots where the conditions might not be studio-perfect. It’s also compact enough to seamlessly integrate into your setup, whether you’re tethering it to a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera or simply using it as a portable storage option. While not waterproof, the rubber exterior does provide a modicum of protection against rain, making it an all-around sturdy companion for both studio and outdoor use.
These features amalgamate to create a portable drive that isn’t just about storage; it’s about enhancing workflow and safeguarding data in a variety of situations.
Throughout the test, the drive delivered a consistent performance, with transfer speeds for both read and write reaching a lofty 1600MB/s. It’s crucial to note that these speeds are only achievable once the correct software, which comes preloaded on the drive, is installed. On a PC, the drive works seamlessly right out of the box, delivering those high speeds for both read and write operations. On a Mac, however, I noticed an initial lag in write speeds—peaking at around 900MB/s. On a PC the transfer speeds were far more consistent and while the drive operated exceptionally well there did seem to be some quirks. The below are the results when formatted as ExFAT
Write Speed: 1777MB/s
Read Speed 900MB/s
But then when you format to APFS the max transfer speeds seemed to peak at around 800MB/s. Still more than fast enough for all video editing. The other oddity was that try as I might I could not get the Mac OS software to recognise the drive. However, the Mac has just been updated to MacOS Somona and this application is not in isolation with not working with the new update.
I tested the drive in tandem with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 6K, as well as a connected drive to an Apple M1 computer. In both instances, the drive excelled in transfer speeds, effortlessly handling data from DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut, and Premiere Pro. Additionally, I used the drive to back up photos during a shoot. The speed and reliability were such that I didn’t have to give the drive a second thought other than to connect and disconnect it.
There’s no doubt that the build quality, handling, and performance of this drive make it a worthwhile purchase. However, what really stands out is the price. Granted, the drive is expensive, but not outrageously so. The 1TB version is highly affordable at £117, while the 4TB unit I’ve been testing is priced at £362. Not too long ago, you’d be paying that amount for a standard mechanical 4TB drive.
The drive’s reliability, stemming from its use of a PCB rather than an M.2 format, also sets it apart. Then there’s its compact size and impressive speed. Honestly, if you’re in the market for a portable hard drive, I can’t recommend the T9 enough. My only gripe is the lack of a surface to attach labels or other identifiers, which makes it easy to mix up with colleagues’ drives.
T9 1TB RRP £117.49
T9 2TB RRP £199.99
T9 4TB RRP £362.79