We now know what Samsung has in store to replace its portable T5 SSD, the best external hard drive around. As CES starts to wind down, Samsung unveiled the T7 Touch, a much faster and more secure version of the T5, with the same portable form factor.
It's been nearly two and a half years since Samsung launched the T5 SSD, and it's remained our top pick in the portable storage category. The T7 SSD is poised to dethrone it, in part because of its built-in fingerprint scanner. This adds another layer of security on top of password protection and AES 256-bit hardware encryption.
This makes it a more feasible option for transferring and carrying around sensitive data—it would take some clever hacking to thwart the multiple hardware-level safeguards.
Beyond the added security, Samsung claims the T7 Touch is around twice as fast as the T5 SSD, and around 9.5 times faster than a typical hard disk drive (HDD). More specifically, it is rated to deliver read speeds of up to 1,050MB/s and write speeds of up to 1,000MB/s, provided you plug it into a USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) port.
Not all USB ports are the same, so you will want to verify which one(s) you have before expecting to hit the full speed potential of the T7 Touch. It's backwards compatible with previous USB standards, but you won't approach the rated levels of performance on, say, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps) port.
One thing you won't have to worry about is whether you have a Type-A or less common Type-C port—Samsung bundles in both a USB Type-C-to-C cable and USB Type-C-to-A cable.
Samsung says the T7 SSD will available this month in 2TB ($399.99), 1TB ($229.99), and 500GB ($129.99) capacities. If you don't need the added speed or security features, the T5 SSD is still an excellent option, and more attractively priced—these days you can buy the 2TB model for $349.99, 1TB for $169.99, and 500GB for $89.99.
There will also be a non-touch version of the T7 SSD that lacks a fingerprint sensor. Presumably it will offer the same speed benefits of the T7 Touch at cheaper price points, though all Samsung is revealing at the moment is the T7 SSD will launch in the second quarter.