PROS / It is secured by 256-bit AES security and can be password protected.
CONS / A lightweight plastic design makes it susceptible to damage if it’s dropped.
VERDICT / A high-performing 1TB external hard drive, the Samsung P3 is an excellent choice if you don't need a rugged drive.
The Samsung P3 portable 1TB external hard drive for PC and Mac is a slick, well-performing device that you can use to back up all of your personal data. It connects to your computer via standard USB 3.0 and comes with versatile, easy-to-use software backed up by capable security. Because of its high ranking in the areas of performance, software and security, and help and support, it is the winner of our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award for portable external hard drives.
The Samsung P3 connects to your computer via USB 3.0 cable and is bus-powered. This means it does not rely on secondary power and uses your computer’s power to operate. In hands-on testing, we found that the external hard drive recognition time, which is the length of time it takes for your computer to recognize the drive once it’s plugged in via USB cable, was 6.5 seconds. This rates it on the faster end of portable hard drive recognition, which means you won’t have to spend much time waiting to use the drive once it’s plugged in.
It comes in a variety of different models that offer a range of storage space, from 500GB to 4TB. The Samsung P3 is equipped with a USB 3.0 port and comes with a supplied USB 3.0 cable. Like all other portable external hard drives that operate on the USB 3.0 platform, the P3 is reverse compatible with USB 2.0. This means if you have an older computer or laptop that only has USB 2.0 ports, the P3 will work, even though data speed transfer times may be slower than you could achieve utilizing a 3.0 port.
Software & Security
Included software can be installed on your computer to schedule automated backups of data in hourly, daily or monthly increments. This gives you the ability to not have to manually click and drag items to be saved to the external drive. It also means your data will be backed up on a consistent basis, ensuring you the best possible safety for your important files and documents.
The software dashboard itself is very easy to use, offering a minimal learning curve to let you get the most out of its capabilities. The security of your stored data is bolstered by password protection and 256-bit AES encryption, which is the same kind of encryption used by banks.
The Samsung P3 is not a rugged external hard drive and should not be confused for one. Although its compact form factor makes it extremely portable – it weighs just 5.3 ounces and measures 4.4 x 3.2 x 0.58 inches – its external casing is made of plastic.
Whereas some of the best external hard drives are manufactured with military-grade shock resistance, the P3 is not. Additionally, it is not rated for water and dust resistance and therefore may not be your ideal choice if you’re planning on bringing it with you everywhere you go. However, for typical home office environments, it is well suited for normal everyday use.
Help & Support
Help and technical support is available via email, but there is no phone number to call – which could leave you waiting for a response if you should have questions about how to operate the drive or the included software. Fortunately, Samsung does a good job of providing you with FAQs and an online knowledgebase of information for self-help.
The Samsung P3 comes with a limited manufacturer’s warranty that protects you against defects and electronic failure for a period of three years, which is the standard length of warranty for most of the best portable external hard drives we tested. Although not as long a warranty period as some of the external hard drives we tested and reviewed, this time frame is sufficient to give you time to identify shortcomings with respect to the hard drive’s manufacture and functionality.
The Samsung P3 portable external hard drive is lightweight, small enough to fit into a pocket or purse, and includes excellent software and security features that ensure your private information won’t fall into the wrong hands. It lacks any sort of impact protection and shouldn’t be used in environments where dust and water are present – however, if you plan on using it mostly indoors in an office or home environment, you should have no trouble operating it at optimal capacity.