PCWorld (USA)

Samsung T7 Shield portable SSD: Ultra-fast and built to last

Goodbye, fingerprin­t scanner, hello toughened outer skin—and speed.

- BY JON L. JACOBI

If you’ve had your eyes on Samsung’s fast USB 10Gbps T7 Touch ( fave.co/3wx2d1j), but you weren’t sure it was suitable for your rough-and-tumble environmen­t, your conundrum is at an end. The latest iteration in the T7 series—the T7 Shield—is IP65 rated to withstand a wet weather and offers additional protection against shock (though admittedly, shock is a bigger deal for portable hard drives than it is for portable SSDS). This is another top-tier USB drive from Samsung.

DESIGN

The Samsung T7 Shield is a USB 10Gbps enclosure with an NVME SSD inside. We’re a bit surprised the latest version didn’t opt for 20Gbps USB, though admittedly, such ports are pretty rare and will remain so until

full USB4 implementa­tions become the norm ( fave.co/3ipmbkj). The T7 Shield is available in 1TB and 2TB capacities for $160 and $290 respective­ly, and you can buy them with blue, beige, or black silicone-like protective coverings.

The drive measures 3.5 inches long by 2.3 inches wide by 0.5 inches thick, and weighs just under 4 ounces. That’s a little heavier than the T7 Touch, but considerin­g that it’s wrapped in a silicone protective sleeve, it’s hardly surprising.

The extra weight is inconseque­ntial in terms of transporta­bility, and gives the T7 Shield a nice heft. Indeed, I contemplat­ed hurling it against a wall to test shock resistance. I didn’t, though I dropped it from about four feet onto a wood floor with no ill effects.

If you want the entire IP lowdown, read this article by yours truly on Techhive ( fave. co/3a70n9r). But here’s the gist of it.

The first number, 6, means the T7 Shield can keep out just about any kind of particulat­e matter. The second number, 5, means you can spray it with water, but not immerse it. (7 would indicate that immersion is survivable). No doubt the Type-c port is the culprit for the lower liquid resistance rating, though we’ve seen them on plenty of Bluetooth speakers sporting the same port that claim IP67. Most cover the port with a captive plug, but not all.

Perhaps Samsung is just a little more conservati­ve in its conclusion­s. I’m not saying drop the T7 Shield in the pool, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it survived a short dip—as long as it’s not connected and active. If it is, you’ve got other issues.

The T7 Shield’s USB connector is Type-c and thoughtful­ly, Samsung includes both USB Type-a to Type-c and Type-c to Type-c cables.

As to the IP rating, 65 is a bit unusual. Most devices claim 67.

Though the Shield lacks the Touch’s fingerprin­t reader, it can still be password secured using Samsung’s Portable SSD software. Of course, you must then install said software on any computer you want to access the drive from. That’s certainly not as handy as a simple finger scan, but workable.

PERFORMANC­E

The Samsung T7 Shield showed a noticeable performanc­e improvemen­t over its T7 Touch predecesso­r, especially when it came to writing files. Then again, our Shield test unit was 2TB, where the Touch was 500GB. This will make a difference, especially during long writes as the drive can treat more NAND as single-bit/level, SLC secondary cache.

We recently switched to the latest Crystaldis­kmark, version 8.04, and a new testbed so these charts are not direct comparable with those for previous drives.

The two drives the Shield is compared to below were retested, however. That said, CDM 8 demonstrat­es that noticeable write speed improvemen­t I just spoke of. (Rightclick on images and choose “Open image in new tab” to see full-size versions.)

Quicker writing was also largely responsibl­e for the better overall performanc­e in our 48GB transfers shown below. The older Touch actually proved a slightly faster reader.

Having 2TB instead of 500GB to play with was a boon for the T7 Shield when it came to writing our single large 450GB file. That said, the Lacie was also 2TB and not as quick. Samsung has obviously been upping its game (or components) since the last T7 iteration. There aren’t many 10Gbps SSDS that will top the Samsung T7 in performanc­e.

External USB drive tests currently utilize Windows 11 64-bit running on an MSI MEG X570/AMD Ryzen 3700X combo with four 16GB Kingston 2666MHZ DDR4 modules, a Zotac (Nvidia) GT 710 1GB x2 PCIE graphics card, and an Asmedia ASM3242 USB 3.2×2 card. Copy tests utilize an Imdisk RAM disk using 58GB of the 64GB of memory.

VERDICT

Though we’d like to see a bit better waterproof­ing, the Samsung T7 Shield is indeed a much better drive for harsh environs than the Touch. It lacks the convenienc­e of fingerprin­t security that the Touch offers, but it’s a better performer and you can still secure it via software. It’s another great portable drive from Samsung, and comes highly recommende­d.

Keeping your Android phone secure without security software is doable, but for some people it’s just plain risky. That’s especially true if you open a lot of files on your phone from email or messaging platforms, or if you are, shall we say, a little too liberal with the kinds of apps you’re willing to install— even if they are from the Play Store.

If you want to make sure your Android device is secure from these threats and others, an antivirus app can help. In fact, there are a bunch of completely free ones in

Google Play, but you want to make sure you’re getting security from a known and reputable company. Because there’s only one thing worse than getting pwned by an app you downloaded from Google Play: getting pwned by an antivirus app you downloaded from Google Play.

Luckily for us, almost every major antivirus maker has an Android app with the ability to

keep your device secure, and some of them are even free. And by free we mean really free. Not 30-day-trial free, but actually free for as long as you have it on your device. Some may have more restricted features (that is often the trade-off with free), but if you want to keep your device more secure without paying for a subscripti­on you don’t otherwise need, these are the apps we recommend.

For more smartphone fortificat­ion, check out our roundup of the best free VPNS for Android ( fave.co/37rixa7)— a great way to protect your privacy and guard your data when using public Wi-fi.

1. AVIRA SECURITY FOR ANDROID

Price: Free from fave.co/3mnunhz

Our top pick is Avira for a few reasons. First, it gets top marks from both Av-test ( fave. co/3whnbmg) and A-V Comparativ­es ( fave.co/3mzlre0). From the former it earned 99.9 percent on both the real-time attacks and widespread malware tests in March 2022. Over at A-V Comparativ­es Avira got 100 percent detection using nearly 3,700 samples in the 2021 Mobile Security Review.

2. BITDEFENDE­R ANTIVIRUS FOR ANDROID

Price: Free from fave.co/3lhdae9

If you want something much simpler that has equally good protection rankings, look no further than Bitdefende­r. The Romaniabas­ed company actually has two apps in the Play Store. The free one is Bitdefende­r Antivirus, not Bitdefende­r Mobile Security. The free version does exactly what it says:

Bitdefende­r earned 100 percent from Av-test ( fave.co/37qshmk) for real-time attacks and widespread malware tests for

3. AVG ANTIVIRUS FREE FOR ANDROID

Price: Free from fave.co/3lmouqv

Another top protection option is AVG Antivirus & Security for Android. It got top marks from Av-test ( fave.co/3mmivup) with 100 percent protection for the real-time and widespread malware tests. Over at Av-comparativ­es ( fave.co/3mzlre0), however, the detection rate was 99.6 percent, with one false positive. That’s partially why we’re putting it down here in third place. Another downside is that it uses personaliz­ed advertisin­g to support it, while the others don’t.

Despite that annoyance, however, there’s a lot to like about AVG’S free Android app. It can scan apps and files, clean up junk files, and scan your current Wi-fi network. It also has malicious website protection, a “RAM

4. SOPHOS INTERCEPT FOR MOBILE

Price: Free from fave.co/39tj07f

Sophos was not analyzed on Android by A-V Comparativ­es, as the company opted for only a score from Av-test ( fave.co/3leacvn). Av-test gave it 99.8 percent in March 2022

March 2022. It also had a 100 percent detection rating from Av-comparativ­es’ ( fave. co/3mzlre0) 2021 Mobile Security Review. booster” that kills background apps, a Wi-fi speed test, and an anti-theft feature for tracking and securing your phone remotely.

That last feature requires an AVG account. If you prefer Avast, which owns AVG, that app is good too. It had the same protection scores as AVG and pretty much the same feature set for free. for the real-time malware attacks. For the widespread malware test, meanwhile, Sophos earned 100 percent.

For major features, Sophos offers a lot including malware scanning for apps and files, malicious web page blocking, a link checker for protection against malicious links,

HOW TO CHOOSE A FREE ANTIVIRUS FOR ANDROID

We’ve already touched on this briefly, but you should always get your antivirus from a well-known security company. It’s also a good idea to see what third-party testing firms are saying in their reports about various Android apps.

After that, you should see if the company is using ads in their app and whether you’re okay with it or not. Finally, see if it has the features you’re looking for. Pretty much all the features you can expect in a free app are like the ones we highlighte­d here. If you’re looking for active real-time scanning, for example, that is a paid option from most services.

HOW WE TESTED

For these antivirus apps we installed and ran the app for each selection, as well as consulted with third-party testing firms to see what kind of protection scores the apps received. We also filtered out any “free” apps from major antivirus vendors that were only a limited free trial since a free service and a free trial are not the same thing. A free service should be a long-term service with an option to upgrade to a better version of the app with a subscripti­on.

There are an absolute ton of antivirus choices for Android users, but these four should be at the top of your list.

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 ?? ?? Samsung’s Toolbox for its external drives. With the Touch you get fingerprin­t security. With the Shield you set the password and must have the software installed in any computer you wish to mount the drive on.
Samsung’s Toolbox for its external drives. With the Touch you get fingerprin­t security. With the Shield you set the password and must have the software installed in any computer you wish to mount the drive on.
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 ?? ?? The Samsung T7 Shield showed a noticeable performanc­e improvemen­t over its T7 Touch predecesso­r.
The Samsung T7 Shield showed a noticeable performanc­e improvemen­t over its T7 Touch predecesso­r.
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 ?? ?? Avira also has more features. Beyond the virus scanner, it has 100MB of VPN usage per day, some storageopt­imizing features, identity protection, and a permission­s manager. It’s a nice set, along with top-notch protection, as of this writing.
Avira also has more features. Beyond the virus scanner, it has 100MB of VPN usage per day, some storageopt­imizing features, identity protection, and a permission­s manager. It’s a nice set, along with top-notch protection, as of this writing.
 ?? ?? scans your phone when you ask it to. There’s also some minimal automated scanning from Auto-pilot when you download a new app—a potential attack vector for Android phones.
scans your phone when you ask it to. There’s also some minimal automated scanning from Auto-pilot when you download a new app—a potential attack vector for Android phones.
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 ?? ?? Always get your antivirus from a well-known security company.
Always get your antivirus from a well-known security company.
 ?? ?? Wi-fi network scanning, and a privacy adviser.
While it has a slightly lower score than the other apps for real-time reaction, it’s still a very good service and it has a lot of nice features. Plus, it doesn’t have any ads.
Wi-fi network scanning, and a privacy adviser. While it has a slightly lower score than the other apps for real-time reaction, it’s still a very good service and it has a lot of nice features. Plus, it doesn’t have any ads.

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