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(Pocket-lint) - Solid State Drives, or SSDs as they're more commonly known, can be pretty significant game-changers if you're not used to them. It's one thing if you can fit one to your computer or laptop internally, but they're just as useful as external drives.

They effectively wave goodbye to the sad old days of sitting around waiting for backups and file transfers that might take hours and hours at the best of times, speeding up transfers massively and also generally shrinking down the drive's size by a good margin, too. There's some variation in the size of external SSD on the market, of course, but we feel that one Terabyte is often a safe place for people to land.

That amount gives you loads of room for data, videos and photos, but is also an amount that people might actually use, rather than a yawning chasm of space that's never actually going to be filled.

That's why we've gathered together the very best 1TB SSDs on the market for you, right here, after testing their speed, durability and value as part of an extensive review process.


Our top pick is the Samsung T7 Touch. Also worth considering are the ADATA SE800, SanDisk Extreme Portable, Gtech G-Drive and Samsung X5 Thunderbolt3.

The best 1TB drive to buy today

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Samsung T7 Touch

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For

  • Biometric security
  • Really fast speeds
  • Good value

Against

  • Not the most weather-resistant

Samsung's latest external drives are something special, with really impressive transfer speeds that can top out at 1,050MB/s, but what we love most about it is that new fingerprint reader. Biometric security is something we're all used to with our phones, but it makes perfect sense to use it as a buffer around potentially precious data. 

That it also has a nice, small size to make it super portable, and connectivity and compatibility with Macs and PCs makes it as useful as you'd hope, and a sure thing as our 1TB SSD of choice, with other sizes also available. 

1TB SSDs that we also recommend

Here are four other 1TB SSDs that we also rate highly:

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ADATA SE800 External Solid State Drive

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For

  • Really durable
  • Good speeds
  • Solid value

Against

  • Quicker options out there

ADATA's drive is nice and small, with a clean brushed-metal look, which instantly scores it points in our books, but also packs really impressive durability given that it undercuts Samsung's T7 by a good margin on the price front. It's rated with weatherproofing that means you're not in any danger if it falls into a puddle or gets left out in the rain - peace of mind that means a lot for stored data. 

Like the Samsung, it's got USB 3.2 ports to ensure it can hit speeds of up to 1,000MB/s, so you'll not find it lacking on the transferring side of things, so if you're looking for a slightly less expensive option it's absolutely worth picking up. 

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Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD

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For

  • Great design
  • Weatherproof

Against

  • Not the fastest drive

While the nature of an external SSD means it's unlikely to be hugely heavy and bulky, especially at the 1TB size, there's still something to be said for a drive that's expressly designed around portability. That's where Sandisk's drive excels - it's got water and dust resistance, though not to a high degree, and is extremely light and has a useful hook for fastening or carrying. 

On top of that, you get the requisite excellent read and write speeds, meaning that transfers can hit up to 550MB/s, which isn't the quickest on this list, although it's still easily fast enough to have most people satisfied. In fact, it's a level that was industry-leading until the most recent generation of SSDs arrived. 

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Gtech G-Drive Mobile SSD

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For

  • Impressive rugged toughness

Against

  • A bit ugly
  • Middling speed

With transfer speeds of up to 560MB/s, this Gtech drive is another that's no longer going to win prizes for its speed, but we're still pretty convinced it'll exceed most people's expectations, especially if they're moving from the world of HDDs. 

However, it's one of the most rugged drive we've got on the list, with shock-absorbing rubber buffers around its body to make sure that it's safe from drops and bumps. That makes it slightly on the bulky side, too, but if you're looking for a drive that can take some wear and tear while still working perfectly out in the wild, this could be the one for you. 

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Samsung X5 Thunderbolt3

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For

  • Crazy speeds
  • Sleek looks

Against

  • Frightening price tag

Now, it might be frankly off-putting when it comes to price, but we wanted to include another option from Samsung to ensure that if you're looking for the best speed, at whatever cost, you've got something to aspire to. With an astonishing maximum read speed of 2,800MB/s, this is as fast as fast gets, and will have you reading and writing so quickly you'll blink and it'll be done.

That translates to a premium cost, and it's also a fairly heavy and chunky drive, but if you're looking for raw speed and have money to spend, look no further. 

Other products we considered

The Pocket-lint editorial team spends hours testing and researching hundreds of products before recommending our best picks for you. We consider a range of factors when it comes to putting together our best guides including physically testing the products ourselves, consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. Many of the devices we consider don’t make our final best guides.

These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5:

How to choose a 1TB SSD

There are plenty of factors you might want to consider as you go about choosing the right 1TB SSD for your needs - here are some key questions to ask yourself:

Do you need a full terabyte?

How much storage space do you really need? If you're looking down the list of options that we've gathered and feeling like they're all a bit out of your price range, the quickest way to slash those prices is to drop down to 500GB of space instead. It's worth your time to work out how much material you need to store so that you can tell whether 1TB is really necessary.

Do you care about durability?

Some of the SSDs we've tested are rated for impressive degrees of punishment. You can drop them in lakes, out of windows, or leave them out in the rain, and your data will be secure nonetheless. If, though, you know with certainty that your SSD will be staying in a drawer its entire life, you can probably overlook that sort of detail.

How fast is fast enough?

Even the best drives out there have quite a wide range of transfer speeds at present. Our list has a few options that can move faster than the others, as well as one final choice that's insanely quick. If you're going to be moving files often, that'll matter to you. Again, though, if you just want to back up your photos once a year, you're less likely to care about speed, which will mean you can save a bit of cost.

Is security important?

Samsung's latest SSDs offer a really impressive proposition in the form of biometric security, letting you lock your drive with a fingerprint. Don't be misled, though - many SSD options come with software to password-lock them. This means that you've got a few options when it comes to keeping things secure, but it's worth looking up each provider's system so that you know you'll be getting one you're comfortable with.

More about this story

Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.

For SSDs, that means using the drives while watching a fairly tight set of parameters that determine how well each one performs. A key variable is speed, of course, but we're also testing for durability and reliability since a drive that wears out is no good to anyone.

The external durability and weatherproofing built-in is a huge factor, of course, as is the drive's security offering, and while in this case capacity is standardised, value for money is still a consideration.

We aren’t interested in pointless number crunching or extraneous details - we just want to provide an easy to understand review that gives you an idea of what it's going to be like to use. And don’t for a second think that the products aren't tested fully because the reviews are concise.

We’ve been covering tech since 2003, and, in many cases, have not only reviewed the product in question, but the previous generations, too - right back to the first model on the market. There is also plenty of models we've considered that didn't make the cut in each of our buyer's guides.

Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Originally published on 3 June 2020.