Toshiba Canvio Connect II
£104 inc VAT (3p per GB) • toshiba.co.uk
Not everyone needs the blistering speeds of a portable SSD and if you’re just after a large-capacity drive to store backups of your videos, photos and music, it’s a bit pointless to pay the high prices that solid-state drives currently cost. The Canvio Connect II may be larger, heavier and less stylish than its SSD-based rivals, but it still has a lot to offer.
The 3TB version costs only £104, which means it’s just 3p per GB. This is the top capacity: there are also 500GB, 1TB and 2TB models. You also get a choice of colours: red, white, gold, black or blue.
Features and design
There’s little you can do with a 2.5in hard disk in terms of design, but the Canvio isn’t ugly. The glossy plastic casing has a slightly domed top and an activity LED in the corner. On one end is a Micro-USB 3.0 connector, and a standard USB cable is provided.
It’s not amazingly light at 230g, and it’s unlikely to fit in your pocket, measuring 109x78x19.5mm. But it’s still eminently portable – just take care of it as it won’t appreciate being dropped: mechanical hard drives are precision-made devices, which are fragile.
Toshiba is generous with software, bundling NTI Backup Now EZ and Pogoplug PC. The latter lets you access the contents of the drive remotely, but only if the PC it’s connected to is left turned on. If you want remote access, you’re better off buying a proper NAS drive. Still, you get 10GB of cloud storage with Pogoplug, so there are benefits. The drive is formatted with NTFS, but the Tuxera software allows you to connect the drive to your Mac without reformatting it.
Thanks to a USB 3.0 interface, the Canvio can stretch its legs. It’s nowhere near as quick as an SSD, but we saw 131MB/s when reading large files and 135MB/s when writing them in CrystalDiskMark’s sequential tests. This is reasonably good for a 5400rpm hard drive.
For small 4KB files, performance falls off a cliff and the Connect II could only manage half a megabyte when reading and 1.2MB/s when writing such files.
It’s a minor point, but you can hear the drive spinning so bear in mind that it’s not silent like an SSD.
Aside from speed, the Toshiba Canvio Connect II is a brilliant all-round package. It offers acres of space for your backups and media library, it’s cheap and it comes bundled with genuinely useful software.