Samsung's X5 portable SSD is a beast with best in class performance, but a price tag above what the average consumer will need. We review the red and gray device and compare it to a pair of other extremely capable SSDs from GDrive and Glyph.
The X5 is Samsung's fastest SSD to date, following a long line of other excellent T-series drives. Metal encapsulates the X5, with a glossy finish on top and a matte, non-slip red finish on the bottom.
Samsung built in some durability into the X5, including six feet of drop protection. This isn't the most we've seen, but it should be sufficient for most drops in the field.
As an interface choice, Samsung is one of few who have adopted Thunderbolt 3. It has speed improvements over USB 3.1 type C drives, but often is accompanied by a larger price tag.
Since most won't need the speediness, or care to pay the high price tag, associated with the X5, we wanted to compare it to the G|Drive Mobile SSD R-Series as well as the Glyph Atom RAID SSD — two other excellent drives.
For the test, we ran the Blackmagic Disk Speed test several times on each drive, averaging the results. We also made sure that each drive was the same capacity to even the playing field.
G|Drive Mobile SSD R-Series
G|Drive's R-series SSD is the most durable of the lineup, withstanding drops from nearly ten feet, IP67 water and dust resistance, and 1000lb crush resistance.
It has a sharp exterior with a vivid blue peeking out from behind the grill of the exterior. Instead of Thunderbolt 3, G|Drive uses USB 3.1 type C and has speeds up to 560MB/s.
In our real-world speed tests, we read speeds averaging 520MB/s and write speeds around 400MB/s — not far off from the advertised performance on our 1TB model.
Glyph Atom RAID SSD
The Glyph drive we tested isn't quite as durable, though it does have an all-metal exterior and an optional silicone cover.
There are two SSDs inside with a RAID configuration, letting it read and write to both simultaneously. That should yield near double the performance over USB 3.1 type-C than one drive over SATA, which is pretty spot on with what we saw.
Write speeds averaged around 600MB/s and read speeds clocked in at 850MB/s.
The Samsung X5 is the only one of the three using NVMe media as well as Thunderbolt 3. It also is durable, capable of carrying on after a 6-foot drop.
In testing, we saw write speeds average around 1750MB/s and read speeds around 2150MB/s.
That is near triple the speed we saw from Glyph, making it an ideal choice for high-speed work on-the-go.
The three bears
Each of these drives has its pros and cons. G|Drive is the slowest, though it is also the most durable, capable of weathering extreme conditions. It is also the cheapest, running around $250 for the 1TB model.
Glyph is almost twice as fast, but only a $50 premium over the prior. This makes it an excellent choice if the extreme ruggedness of the G|Drive isn't essential.
The Samsung X5 is — to no surprise — by far the fastest, but carries the corresponding price tag. For a 1TB, the X5 will run you around $600. It is well built, fast, and durable. Any pro would be thrilled to have such high performance while working in the field.
The real choice between the three presented here is made based on what you, the user, prioritizes. If you need a SSD, and price plus ruggedness is the primary consideration, the G|Drive is your choice. If maximum speed is the goal, then the Samsung X5 or the Nekteck SSD we reviewed earlier in December are the choices. On the other hand, if you can sacrifice ruggedness and want a bit more speed, then go for the Glyph.