The Samsung T1 Portable 500GB USB 3.0 SSD does so many things right, which is why it's such a shame it does one thing terribly, terribly wrong.
But let's start with the good.
1.) It's adorable. I mean really, really adorable. And tiny. It's smaller than you think. At 0.8" thick x 2.0" long x 0.4" wide (and only 26 grams!), it makes regular 2.5" SSDs in enclosures look and feel absolutely massive.
2.) It's based on the 850 EVO with 3D NAND, so it should be very reliable in the longterm.
3.) Comes with a dinky little USB 3.0 cable. While the cable design itself is unique to the T1 as far as I'm aware, you can use any USB 3.0 cable out there if you lose the one the T1 comes with.
4.) Great speed. I recorded just a hair under 390MB/s writes and another hair over 430MB/s read speeds while connected to my 2014 5K iMac, and similar speeds connected to a 2014 Mac mini.
5.) 3-year warranty.
1.) When you plug this drive into a Mac, you're greeted by a small 128MB partition with Windows and Mac installation files. Given that with every external drive I've ever used I would just wipe the drive and start using the disk, I was surprised to see that this doesn't work on the T1. First, you can't format the disk in Disk Utility - it just hangs the application. And second, you have no access to the actual 500GB - it's simply not visible. Uh oh. So, against my better judgment I installed their utility, which put two kexts AND an executable application on my iMac. At that point, I was able to label the disk using Samsung's utility, and set a password if I wanted. As soon as that was done, voila - 500GB available for my usage.
But this is simply not acceptable. While I understand the necessity of the software if you want to password-protect the disk, there's no reason to force the software installation for everyone. So, I loaded up the Samsung utility, disabled the password, and then was able to successfully remove the two kext files and the Samsung application from my computer. At that point, the drive was readable on my 5K iMac without any issue, and also readable on the Mac mini (that I had never installed the software on in the first place).
So at this point I think it's a great shame that Samsung has forced a software installation that keeps a daemon running in the background on your Mac - when for many of us it will be completely unnecessary.
So here's my guide to making this SSD work on your Mac (and subsequently ANY Mac) without any software running - assuming you're not setting a password on the disk:
1.) Plug in your new T1 to your Mac (after marveling at how adorable it is). 2.) Install the Samsung application. 3.) Now your drive should show up fine to read from and write files to. 4.) Open up Terminal (quick way to get to it is hit Command+Space Bar, and then type "Terminal", and hit "Enter") 5.) Type or copy the following, one line at a time. (you can also manually do this in Finder if you have the know-how):
(This removes two of the three unnecessary files that Samsung installs)
6.) Remove the Samsung Application and folder from within ~/Library/Application Support/
You can achieve this this by doing the following:
a.) Open Finder. b.) In Finder, press CMD+Shift+G. c.) Paste the following: ~/Library/Application Support/ d.) Remove the "PortableSSD" folder. This folder should contain only the Samsung application, so the folder is safe to delete in this case. e.) Reboot.
7.) You're done!
What's really frustrating about what Samsung has done is that they do tell you how to remove the first two files before you install their software, but make no mention of the third file/application that keeps running in the background. I thought about docking this review to 3 stars out of 5 for that alone, but the drive quality "makes up for it" in many ways.
Overall, this is a great drive. It's just such a shame that Samsung has shown a lack of professionalism by their underhanded driver installation process (a process that needn't exist for many).
PS Samsung - if you're reading this: In future ship this drive "open," i.e. a 500GB SSD with 500GB accessible OUT OF THE BOX. You can put the Samsung application on the SSD (maybe being completely truthful about what this entails...), but this then gives people the OPTION of whether they want your files all over their computer depending on whether they want password protection or not. Don't force it upon absolutely everyone who wants to use this otherwise excellent SSD.
4 stars out of 5. Recommended with the above caveat.