Android smartphones like the Huawei P20 Pro can easily access an external SSD drive. This blog post explains how to do that by following a few simple steps.

Best external SSD drive for smartphones

Late last year, I bought a Samsung Portable SSD T5 500GB USB 3.1 External SSD (MU-PA500B/AM) drive. Usually, I re-format all of my drives for better Linux compatibility but chose to leave the existing file system in place to preserve the files which came with the drive. That turned out to be a good decision.

How to connect an Android phone to an external SSD drive

Samsung SSD connected to Huawei P20 Pro phone with USB3 cable

Luckily, Samsung included two USB 3.1 cables with the SSD drive. One I used to connect the SSD to my Dell workstation and the other cable to my smartphone. As soon as the cable is plugged into the phone, the data will become accessible via the file browser.

Huawei file browser opens external SSD storage location

After opening the file browser screen, a new entry is shown which when touched, opens the external SSD storage location. Once there, I was able to see all of the files which I saved to the drive earlier. I was very impressed that Android was able to read my files because they were written on a Linux system. We have come a long way. Those of you who were mounting drives in the 90’s surely remember what it was like.

Why connect an Android phone to an external SSD drive

There are a few ways to transfer files between an Android phone and a computer. Bluetooth and e mail come in handy for smaller files like photos. For larger files which consume hundreds of Megabytes, an external SSD is the better option. Backing up the photo directory which had filled up with over 100 high resolution images was amazingly quick.

Bad timing and low stock

Sadly, right now, the world is in the midst of the Corona virus epidemic which is starting to affect the supply chain. I bought my external Samsung SSD drive before Christmas. If memory serves me right, I paid CAN $99.99 plus tax which brought the total to about $112 or so. As of today, bestbuy.ca lists the exact same drive for $150 plus tax.

Everything is affected by the current supply shortage but in a few weeks the situation will improve and the prices will slowly return to a level that makes us buy again.

All in all, SSD drives are the best improvement one can make to a computer which is still using conventional spinning hard drives. If a laptop came with a slow-spinning 5200 RPM drive then it is worth the investment as everything will feel faster.

Tip! Buy an external USB3 hard drive enclosure and keep the old drive as a backup.

When I first bought the external SSD drive I planned to use it as a scratch disk for OBS and Reaper VST plugins. The advantage of having those files on a fast portable drive was that I could use any computer while others render a 3D animation.

Just the other day I created a 300+ Meg audio file and didn’t want to email it. Transferring the mp3 from the external SSD was quick and easy. From now on I won’t even bother with Bluetooth and just connect the Android phone to the SSD when ever I have a need to transfer or back up my work.

The Huawei P20 Pro is an impressive phone. I love the photos and long battery life. Speaking of, there is no power source needed. The external Samsung SSD plugs straight into the phone via the included cable and powers the drive. Since a solid state drive does not have moving parts (spinning platters) the power consumption is very low. I did not notice any drain on the battery while I was transferring the file. Then again, it only took a moment.
Thank you for reading. I hope that it helps someone who wants to connect an Android phone to an external SSD for big and fast file backups.

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