Updated May 21, 2022: We updated this article with a new test for the 1TB Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD on page 2.
Original review published on April 26, 2022:
It’s been more than a year and a half since we reviewed Samsung’s portable SSD T7 and today we have the new Shield in the lab. T7 Shield uses the original formula and focuses on improving its physical endurance by addressing one of our complaints with T7, which did not have an intrusion protection (IP) rating, which shows that it is resistant to shock, water and dust. This warning also applies to the T7 Touch, which we reviewed back in 2020.
The device is available in three colors – black, beige and blue – in a body that is slightly thicker than its predecessors. This shell is made of an aluminum body covered with rubber, thicker due to the outer ribs, which help prevent damage in the event of a leak. In addition, Samsung has added two different barriers to protect the USB port, designed to protect against environmental elements such as water and dust. Together, all of these factors allow the T7 Shield to meet IP65 certification requirements.
What else is different about the Shield? Well, it’s actually a lot like the T7. Samsung still uses a DRM-free Pablo SSD controller paired with an ASMedia ASM2362 bridge chip. Fortunately, 256-bit AES hard encryption is still supported. Many other specifications, such as the three-year warranty, remain the same. The T7 Shield also comes with the same number and type of USB cables. However, Samsung has chosen a newer type of flash and the change to a durable design is significant.
Samsung also guarantees compatibility with Windows 7 or later, macOS and Android Lollipop or later. Compatibility for mobile devices includes T7 Shield, operating within the specification of the USB power supply, which means a maximum power consumption between 2.5W and 7.5W, depending on the port. Nevertheless, Samsung promises to maintain sufficient performance to meet the requirements for recording high-definition video, defined as the ability to write sequentially at 900MBps.
Samsung has also made concerted efforts to reduce waste from this product and won the Carbon Trust’s carbon footprint label. This essentially means that all the steps involved in creating the product and its packaging are designed and tested to minimize the resulting carbon footprint. For example, Samsung uses cellulose with a third less packaging in the tray. It’s hard to complain about that.
This product is not very exciting, considering that it does not improve much with the models from two years ago. It’s probably best to focus on what makes it better – the T7 Shield has increased durability and guaranteed performance. This makes it an excellent choice for photographers and videographers in the field who want something consistent and reliable. We will see if this will be the case in testing.
|Pricing||$ 159.99||$ 289.99|
|Capacity (user / raw)||1000GB / 1024GB||2000GB / 2048GB|
|Form factor||M.2 2280||M.2 2280|
|Interface / protocol||USB-C / USB Gen3 2×2||USB-C / USB Gen3 2×2|
|Included||USB Type-C to Type-C, USB Type-C to Type-A cables||USB Type-C to Type-C, USB Type-C to Type-A cables|
|Controller||Samsung Pablo||Samsung Pablo|
|Memory||Samsung 128L TLC||Samsung 128L TLC|
|Random reading||N / A||N / A|
|Random recording||N / A||N / A|
|Security||256-bit AES (hardware / SED)||256-bit AES (hardware / SED)|
|Power||Powered by a bus||Powered by a bus|
|Endurance||IP65, shock / vibration resistant, thermal fuse||IP65, shock / vibration resistant, thermal fuse|
|Endurance (TBW)||N / A||N / A|
|Dimensions||88 x 59 x 13 mm||88 x 59 x 13 mm|
|Weight||N / A||N / A|
|Warranty||3 years old||3 years old|
Samsung T7 Shield is available in 1TB and 2TB capacities. It’s nice to see a 2TB option, and given that this device is ideal for those who probably need capacity, skipping smaller SKUs is no problem. The device is rated for up to 1,050 / 1,000MBps for sequential read and write, respectively. This is quite modest as a result of the 10Gbps bridge chip, especially considering that we have 20Gbps and Thunderbolt 3 portable SSDs on the market. However, Samsung guarantees 900MBps and 1000MBps of sustainable performance for the 1TB and 2TB SKU, respectively, which is particularly excellent for the intended market. This is almost twice as fast as SATA-based portable options.
The T7 Shield has many features designed around security and durability, including hardware encryption. The drive is also classified according to IP65 and includes protection against dust, water, shock and vibration. This includes the ability to survive a fall of up to three meters. In addition, Samsung has Dynamic Thermal Guard, which adjusts the performance of the device to ensure that the case remains below 57C, which is significantly lower than the international standard 60C – this reduces the risk of injury to users when grabbing the box.
Software and accessories
The T7 Shield comes with USB cables from Type-C to Type-C and Type-C to Type-A, offering flexibility for use with multiple devices. It is also compatible with Samsung’s portable SSD 1.0 software and Samsung Magician. The first has editions for Windows, macOS and Android, while the second works only on Windows.
Portable SSD software offers a simplified user interface to help users receive software and firmware updates for their device. You can also activate password protection mode or password and fingerprint. Samsung Magician, on the other hand, is more stable, offering the ability to monitor and compare the device in addition to the features found in Portable SSD software.
Our T7 Shield is clad in a nice blue case, obviously thicker than the older T7 models. With its significant contours, the rubber outer part helps to reduce vibrations and shocks, including falls. One person has a USB-C connector and indicator light, while the other has a label with a QR code and relevant specifications, including model and serial numbers.
The T7 Shield has a thermal pad and an otherwise lowered green PCB. We can see the expected controller, bridge chip and two NAND flash packages, especially without DRAM on board.
Samsung’s Pablo controller, designated the S4LR033, is a four-channel DRAM-free design. This controller is also used in other T7 models, as well as in the Samsung 980 NVMe desktop device. The bridge chip is ASMedia’s ASM2362, capable of 10Gbps transfer speeds, and Samsung uses it on other T7 models and many other portable SSDs. The flash, as indicated, is the Samsung K9DVGB8J1B-DCK0, which we have seen on other devices such as the Samsung 870 EVO. This is Samsung’s 128-layer TLC.
This 128-layer flash is usually available in 512Gb or 64GB, dies and each of the NAND packages here has a capacity of 8Tb or 1TB. This suggests a 16DP (sixteen matrix per package) configuration, similar to that in the 870 EVO, for a total of 32 matrices at 2TB. Each matrix is capable of up to 82MBps in its own, non-SLC mode, which is more than enough to reach Samsung’s stated speeds. This really requires a proper SLC cache design, especially at 1TB, which means it needs to be more conservative to ensure a high level of performance.
This flash is also seen in some newer 970 EVO Plus devices – especially slower in TLC mode at 1TB than the original model, which starts with a less dense 92-layer TLC – but, if necessary for interlacing, appears and in 256Gb or 32GB per matrix configuration. Thicker matrices are especially useful at higher capacities with four-channel controllers, such as we have here.
Let’s see how the device performs in our testing.
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