Already available in models with up to 2TB of capacity and options featuring a built-in fingerprint reader to further protect and encrypt the data inside, Samsung is expanding its T7 SSD line with the new T7 Shield, a portable SSD which includes extra protection against a world that’s often hostile to electronics.
SSDs are a vital part of my backup ecosystem, and I’d never say no to giving them a little extra armor. As easy as it is to expand the limited capacity of a device like a laptop using an external storage drive, traveling with terabytes of locally stored data is always a risky venture, which I learned the hard way a few years back when moving with a hard drive. Not all of us want to put everything on the cloud, and during a very short move between neighboring apartment buildings, I watched in horror as an external hard drive that was temporarily holding all of my most important design and photography files slipped off a desk and fall a mere two-and-a-half feet to the floor. The mishap took less than a second, but the drive was toast, requiring $2,000 of data recovery to get everything back.
From that day on, I’ve been a devoted SSD user. Solid state drives are less fragile than traditional hard drives, which rely on moving parts, but not all SSDs are created equal. For years, I’ve leaned towards Western Digital’s SanDisk portable SSD drives, which feature a rubbery coating that provides an IP55 rating against water and dust. Yes, SSDs are less prone to breakage than HDDS, but I’m extra paranoid. But while they’re affordable, they’re far from the fastest option, with read and write speeds maxing out at 550MB/s.
Although I’ve only been tempted by Samsung’s faster but less armored T5 and T7 portable SSDs, my extreme level of data preservation paranoia is finally ready to embrace the line, now that I’ve seen the T7 Shield. This SSD features a strengthened aluminum metal housing that’s wrapped in a rubber outer layer for better impact absorption. Whereas Samsung’s T7 SSD can survive a 6.5-foot drop, the new T7 Shield pushes drop protection to almost 10 feet.
On top of that, the new T7 Shield boasts an IP65 rating, which means that there’s no risk to its electronics or data should the drive be splashed or sprayed with water, or hit with dust during a desert photoshoot. However, users will still need to be careful not to drop the T7 Shield in a puddle, pool, or lake, as it’s not protected against full water submersion. (That requires at least an IP67 rating.)
The T7 Shield maintains the same 1,050/1,000MB/s read and write speeds of the rest of Samsung’s T7 lineup through a USB-C port on the side. And despite being wrapped in a rubber coating that looks like it will double as a winter coat when temperatures drop, Samsung hasn’t needed to implement a feature it calls Dynamic Thermal Guard, which limits the performance of an SSD when its internal temperature rises. The T7 Shield can still dissipate heat as quickly as the rest of the T7 line.
The Samsung T7 Shield is available now in three color options: blue, black, and beige. It comes in two capacities: 1TB for $160 and 2TB for $290. That’s just $20 more expensive than the base T7 SSDs, and if you travel with your portable drives a lot, it’s probably worth the splurge.