Software and smartphone connectivity
External drives often come with software that falls somewhere between "useful tool" and "bloatware," and the T3 is no exception. Privacy-minded users will appreciate Samsung's bundled utility for full-disk protection via AES 256-bit hardware encryption.
An interesting feature of the T3 is that it works with smartphones. If you have a compatible Android handset, you can hook it right up to the T3, download the creatively-named "Samsung Portable SSD" app, unlock your encrypted drive, and peruse your files on the go. As luck would have it, my personal phone is a Nexus 5X equipped with the requisite USB Type-C port and companion cable, so I took the T3 out for a spin with it.
The Nexus 5X may have a Type-C port, but its speeds are limited to USB 2.0. USB Type-C and USB 3.1 are often conflated in the media, but they are completely distinct specifications. Fortunately, the USB 2.0 speed limitation didn't have a noticeable effect on the drive's usability. The T3 lets you shuttle files between the drive and the phone much faster than the pokey SD card speeds we're used to (though Samsung also has a card-based solution to that problem). It's not entirely clear who needs these capabilities in a phone, but the feature works seamlessly and without fuss. The only compelling use case I can think of is having a large offline movie library at hand to use with a tablet on long flights.
The "Samsung Portable SSD" Android app provides an almost identical interface to the one presented on the Windows side. Like the Windows utility, the app is required if you wish to take advantage of the drive's security features while on the go. It even lets you enable encryption and set the password if that step hasn't been completed yet.
Samsung backs the Portable SSD T3 with a three-year warranty. That's a bit shorter than the five-year warranty the 850 EVO series boasts, but an internal SATA drive is less likely to a take a physical beating than a portable one.
We're impressed with the T3's mobile tricks and app experience, so let's move on to more traditional testing.
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