Data storage is definitely undergoing a big change, from the UFS 2.0 that trumps eMMCs in mobile devices, to the 10 TB hard drive, to the crazy expensive 512 GB microSD card, to this new 4TB portable external hard drive from from Samsung. Although that storage size isn’t exactly new as far as hard drives or even SSDs are concerned, this is probably the first time that such a large capacity would come in such a small package. Measuring only 19.85 mm (0.78 in) in height, the Samsung P3 also touts ultimate portability by throwing away the power cable.
The need for bigger storage is also getting bigger. Despite the ubiquity of cloud storage, there is still a real need for more local storage, especially with the growing sizes of files, particularly multimedia content. While large capacity drives, both of the HDD and the SSD kind, do exist, most of the are stuck inside racks, desktops, laptops, or enclosures that need to be plugged in to use.
Samsung achieves what is almost impossible by going against tradition. Most portable external drives, including its own, multiple-drive internal designs. The P3, on the other hand, uses only a single drive. This allows the whole drive to be thinner than even regular drives, with the 4 TB model only 0.78 inches tall and weighing only 8.3 ounces (236 g). Another benefit is that it can all be powered by a single USB 3.0 connection, removing the need for a separate power source that will keep users tethered to walls and outlets.
The 4 TB hard drive is just the highlight of Samsung P3. There are other variants available, coming in the usual 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB sizes. These are even thinner and lighter, at only 14.8 mm (0.58 in) and up to 166 g (5.85 oz). The drives go on sale by the end of the month. Prices have not yet been announced, but, given the novelty and size, you can expect the 4 TB to cost maybe an arm.