July 5, 2022

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T7 Shield Review: Samsung’s Best Portable SSD

On April 26, 2022, Samsung released the T7 Shield — a new variant of its flagship portable solid-state drives (SSDs), the T7 Touch, and T7 that came out in January and July 2020.

For the most part, the new mobile storage device is essentially the same as the T7 version but now has a protective layer — called, well, a shield — that makes it even tougher and more rugged.

After spending some sweat time with it, I found the new drive an excellent alternative to its old cousin, though far from perfect.

If you’re looking for a rugged, fast, compact, and reliable portable drive to use on the go, at the current street prices of $135 (1TB) and $230 (2TB), the Samsung T7 Shield is an excellent buy. Get one today!

Dong’s note: I first published this as a new piece on April 26, 2022, and updated it to a full review on May 18, 2022, after thorough hands-on testing.

The Samsung T7 Shield is a compact portable SSD.

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD: A new level of ruggedness — — possibly even overkill

Per Samsung, and as I could confirm in my testing, the new T7 Shield is IP65-rated in durability. Specifically, it’s shock-resistant from drops of up 10 feet (3m) and is dustproof and water-resistant.

The new drive also has a unique design with grooves on its body, making it easy to grab and presumably less slippery, which is always a good thing. Its outer layer is made of soft protective material that feels like suede which, like swede, seems to attract dirt easily.

Generally, you should keep storage devices with care, but for testing, I left the drive in my full bathtub overnight and let it through a washing and drying process with my laundry, and the drive survived with its content intact.

On top of that, I gave it to my toddlers to play with for a few hours, and it also survived intact. It’s worth noting that the kids have consistently been able to put dents, cracks, and scratches on most of my other tech toys “by accident.”

The point is the T7 Shield is a tough portable drive. However, I put the original Samsung T7 through similar real-life ruggedness “tests,” and it survived, too, albeit with some scratches. So the Shield’s toughness is likely overkill in most cases.

But that doesn’t hurt. Despite the added protection, the Samsung T7 Shield remains compact — it’s merely a tad heavier and slightly larger than its older cousins, as you’ll note in the hardware specification table below.

Samsung T7 Shield
The new Samsung T7 Shield comes in three colors: Beige, Black, and Blue.

Samsung says it’s about the size of a credit card, which is a bit of a stretch — that’s only true if you look at it directly from the top or bottom.

In reality, the drive is significantly thicker than the height of its USB-C port located on one side. (This port alone has the thickness of some two credit cards stacked up horizontally.) Like all portable SSDs, this port works for both data and power connections.

Samsung T7 Shield vs T7/Touch: Hardware specfications

Full Name Samsung T7 Shield
Portable SSD
Samsung T7 Touch 
Portable SSD
Samsung T7 
Portable SSD
Capacity 2TB/1TB 2TB/1TB/500GB 2TB/1TB/500GB
Interface USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps)
Compatible through USB 2.0
the same the same
Dimensions 3.5 x 2.3 x 0.5 in
(88 x 59 x 13mm)
3.3 x 2.2 x 0.3 in
(85 x 57 x 8.0 mm)
3.3 x 2.2 x 0.3 in
(85 x 57 x 8.0 mm)
Weight 3.47 oz (98 g) 2.0 oz (58 g) 2.0 oz (58 g)
Transfer Speed Up to 1,050 MB/sec Up to 1,050 MB/s Up to 1,050 MB/s
UASP Mode Supported Supported Supported
Encryption AES 256-bit hardware 
data encryption
the same the same
Security Password Protection Software Fingerprint Recognition (Touch)
Password Protection Software
Password Protection Software
Software Samsung Portable SSD Software 1.0,
Samsung Magician Software
the same the same
Certifications CE, BSMI, KC, VCCI, C-tick, FCC, IC, UL, TUV, CB, EAC, UKCA, BIS CE, BSMI, KC, VCCI, C-tick, FCC, IC, UL, TUV, CB CE, BSMI, KC, VCCI, C-tick, FCC, IC, UL, TUV, CB
RoHS Compliance Yes Yes Yes
Colors Beige,
Black,
Blue
Black, 
Silver
Metallic Red,
Indigo Blue, 
Titan Grey
Included Cables USB type-C-to-C, 
USB type-C-to-A
the same the same
US MSRP
(at launch)
$159.99 (1TB)
$289.99 (2TB)
$120 (500GB)
$230 (1TB)
$400 (2TB)
$110 (500GB)
$200 (1TB)
$370 (2TB)
Warranty 3 years 3 years 3 years
Samsung T7 Shield vs. T7 Touch vs T7: Hardware specifications

Like the previous versions, the new T7 Shield features a USB-C port and supports USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps). It’s designed to work with computers, game consoles, and Android-based mobile devices.

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD: Detail photos

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD 4
The Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD includes two USB cables — USB-C and USB-A — and is ready to work with any host device.

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD 11
The new Portable SSD is very light. Note its groves that give your hand a good grip.

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD 10
On one side, the Samsung T7 Shield comes with its technical specs and regulatory information.

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD 8
The USB-C port that features USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) is on the opposite side.

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD 2
Formated in exFAT, the Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD will immediately work with a Windows or Mac.

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD 12
Here’s the Samsung T7 Shield in action. Note its blue LED status light that flashes to show data activities.

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD 3
The Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD’s retail box

Plug-n-play with extras

Out of the box, the Samsung T7 Shield is formatted in the exFAT file system. As a result, you can use it on any computer interchangeably — Windows, Linux, or Mac.

exFAT doesn’t support Mac’s Time Machine backup, so you will need to reformat the drive if you want to use it as a backup drive. But for general storage and file sharing, the T7 Shield is plug-n-play.

The drive includes two USB cables — one is a full USB-C, and the other is a USB-A to USB-C. Consequently, you can grab it out of the shell, and rest assured you’ll be able to use it anywhere.

The T7 Shield features hardware encryption and includes the Samsung Portable SSD software that works as a password management tool for those caring about data privacy.

Samsung T7 Shield Security Software
On a computer, the Samsung Portable SSD software is straightforward to use as a security measure.

Once installed, the software enables password protection for the entire drive. Here’s how it works:

  • When plugged into a computer with Samsung Portable SSD software already installed: A window will pop up for users to enter the password.
  • On a computer without the software: The drive will appear as a small read-only partition that contains the installer of Samsung Portable SSD.

So, if you use the drive with a Windows or a Mac computer, the Samsung Portable SSD software works as intended. However, if you want to use the T7 Sheild with an Android device, that’s a different story entirely.

Buggy Android app

Samsung says the T7 Sheilds works with Android phones or tablets, which proved to be the case in my trial. However, things were less than straightforward.

First of all, most Android devices don’t support exFAT, so you will need to format the drive into FAT32 — the host device will ask you to. After that, you can use it via Android’s built-in file management function. However, if you want to use the drive’s security feature, you’d be out of luck.

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD
The Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD never fully worked with an Android device in my trial. The Samsung Portable SSD app just didn’t recognize it, and I couldn’t enter the password.

The reason is that the Samsung Portable SSD app — the mobile version of the software mentioned above — proved useless. As shown in the photo above, it never recognized the plugged-in T7 Shield in my trial.

That said, while the new drive works with Android, don’t expect it to work the way you use it on a computer. Specifically, in this case, chances are you can’t use it in any file system but FAT32, nor can you password-protect it.

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD: Excellent performance

The T7 Shield performed well in my testing. It was among the fastest portable SSDs on the market.

Most importantly, compared to the older T7/Touch cousins, the new drive no longer suffered from speed degradation in pro-longed operation. You can expect it to be speedy when copy lots of data to or from it.

Samsung T7 Shield Performance
The Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD’s performance

In terms of throughputs, the new drive was slightly slower than the T7/Touch when used with USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps). However, when connected via a USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps), it had doubled the sustained speed of its older cousin.

The T7 Shield also remained cool — it literally showed no change in temperature that my hand could detect — even during extended operation.

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD 6

Pros

Fast performance, compact and rugged design

Hardware encryption with effective password protection

Cons

The Android app is a joke

Conclusion

While far from perfect, the T7 Shield is the best portable SSD from Samsung yet.

While you might not need its extra ruggedness, that doesn’t hurt. On top of that, the excellent performance plus relatively reasonable price tag only help.

Looking for a quick decision on a portable SSD for the next field trip? The Samsung T7 Shield is an easy recommendation.