Toshiba is a brand that plays a huge role but often plays that role on the sidelines, and I never have figured out why. They have great products (from personal experience), and when I got a chance to review a new Toshiba product, I was excited. Toshiba had sent over their STOR.E CANVIO Hard Drive, which I thought looked cool and really wanted to use it for a while and see how well it could perform.
Body, Design and Size
At first glance, the device looks pretty neat! I got the white model which had 1TB of storage. This being my first hard drive review on ihabstech.com, I wanted to really experience the hard drive to the max, so I loaded it with all my files that I often use, including all the pictures for all my reviews. I used it as my primary storage device, which meant A LOT of switching between devices, I pushed it to its max!
Physically, it is quite attractive in its simplicity. There is nothing to it, just a simple clean design where the top and bottom are a glossy soft white plastic with a rougher center plastic, which I guess could suggest better grip.
The top of the device is as simplistic as can be with a simple and clear Toshiba logo in silver, and a little LED light (above the USB port) at the back which lights up in white when the drive is working.
The Bottom has the same plastic as the top but with 4 small rubber pads so it is a bit stable when on a table or any other surface.
As far as size is concerned, it is pretty decent. Hard drives cannot get any smaller than the standard internal drive size, so most brands play with design and materials as they are limited on the size. The Toshiba STOR.E CANVIO (It does get tough constantly typing this capitalized name with a oddly placed full stop) is quite light to carry around weighing in at 165 grams.
As you can see placed beside the HTC One Mini, its sized quite alright, not too big or too thick, fits around pockets and bags quite nicely.
Build is good too, with nearly 2 weeks of constant use, it did not get messed up. There are some really light scratches from daily use and moving around but hardly noticeable with the type of plastic and color. I believe this could age well.
The USB cable that came with it is about a foot long, which sometimes was slightly short, but this is a user specific thing.
Performance and Benchmarks
So enough with the physical, lets get down to the technical, the following are some average sample transfers I have done on both Mac and PC:
10 GB – 7 Minutes (That averages 23.8 MBPS)
400 MB – 10 Seconds (That averages 40 MBPS)
11 GB – 11 Minutes (That averages 16.6 MBPS, keeping in mind the transfer was over 1000 files)
10 GB – 5 minutes (That averages 33 MBPS)
So the overall transfer rates over USB 2.0 was fairly decent, on average in the real world I got around 28 MBPS Write speed on USB 2.0, While on USB 3.0 I averaged nearly 90 MBPS Write speed. It did quite well. Here are some technical Benchmarks;
Essentially, the benchmark software the average stated USB 2.0 Read speed is 31MBPS and Write speed is 25MBPS, while the average stated USB 3.0 Read speed is 117MBPS and Write speed is 116MBPS. Using USB 3.0 never made more sense.
Any haggles? Of course. The hard drive performs really well, but there were times where the computer would not immediately access the drive or folder, and there would be nearly a 5 second wait before it seems to load the folder, but once in, everything is immediate.
The exciting part isn’t just the good decent performance numbers, Toshiba has bundled quite a few pieces of software, which I have mixed feelings with.
Starting with the really useful feature is the Turexa NTFS, which essentially allows the drive to be used on Mac without the need for formatting. This is certainly a helpful tool for people who are constantly shifting from Mac and PC, the drive installed quickly, needed a restart and then worked smoothly.
The main highlight software though, is Toshiba’s free subscription to Pogoplug. What Pogoplug essentially does is offer online cloud storage. With this hard drive I got a 10GB free online storage (FYI, pogoplug offer unlimited cloud storage for about 5$ a month, which I think is one of the cheapest I have ever seen). The cloud storage can be accessed online through the browser, through the PC software or through mobile apps (iOS and Android).
Sounds good? It gets better.
Not only do they offer 10GB online storage, Pogoplug’s software allows the user to select folders (on the hard drive or off it) to be shared through their cloud storage! So as long as the system remains online, files on the computer and hard drive can be accessed from anywhere online.
The online interface is pretty straight forward, with easy access to the files, or could display files based on their type. Access to the computer files are shown in the computer section.
The pogoplug account can be used on one PC only, but can be accessed from unlimited devices.
It wouldn’t be an external hard drive without some sort of Back up software, and Toshiba hasn’t forgotten about that.
The software is called NTI Backup Now EZ, and what it essentially does three forms of back up;
– selected files and folders to their online storage (Which is a different sign up, storage options and prices)
– selected files and folders to the hard drive
– entire computer backup to the hard drive
and as can be seen in the picture, they can be scheduled to be done automatically.
Toshiba has created a nice external hard drive with the STOR.E CANVIO. It handles speed well being USB 3.0, they offer decent storage (1TB in the model tested is quite good) and the device itself looks good, classy and seems to be of a good quality, I do believe this could stick around for quite some time. It does come in 4 colors as seen in the beginning of the review.
They also offered good bundled software. The Mac compatibility software is really thoughtful, and Pogoplug’s free online subscription and remote access features are really good. I did not really enjoy NTI Backup Now EZ but I am sure there are tons of alternatives.