2 March 2013

REVIEW: Toshiba STOR.E Canvio External Hard Drive

We can't speak for our dear readers, but each of us here at The Test Pit have been steadily accruing digital 'stuff' since the late 90s. All that 'stuff' – be it photos, music, movies, documents – needs a safe place to live. But those places are getting a bit crammed these days. Having a handy and secure thing sitting on your desk that welcomes all those blurry pictures of Aunt Brenda and those half finished novels that you are definitely going to complete one day, is a total necessity. That is why we took a look at the latest offering from tech giants Toshiba – the STOR.E Canvio External Hard Drive, with its whopping 3TB of storage.

Lets not beat around the bush; this is hard drive. Hard drives are essentially lumps of plastic and silicon that don't do anything. It can be a bit trying to add a layer of flash to something that, by its very definition, is void of content and features when you buy it. They are digital sheds. So we'll get straight to the facts...

Looks: As you'd expect, the STOR.E Canvio is a lump of plastic the same size as most other desktop hard drives. Solidly built in tough and smooth plastic, the drive looks pretty snazzy and reminds us of the early days of the iPod – being black and white. You have the option of positioning it either flat on its back or standing on the side, leaving more room on your desk. Thankfully both positions are catered for by little raised feet to keep the body of the drive from total contact with the surface.
There are two ports; one for power (adapter included with a range of plug heads) and one strange looking data port that looks like a micro USB slot that has mutated and enlarged. This probably has something to do with the drives ability to cope with USB 3.0 which we actually found a great plus, safe in the knowledge that our new hard drive was future proof.

Operation: Once plugged in and connected to a computer the drive spins up relatively silently, with only a small and discreet blue LED flashing on the front. It appeared almost immediately on both PC and Mac, with the drive software for the prior installing without bother. After a quick glance we saw that of that promised 3 TB of storage, we actually got 2.72 TB - which wasn't a surprise and we were expecting much less. We're waiting for the day when they release a 10 TB hard drive that will actually have less than 9 TB of real space. We'll be on it in a flash.

Anyway, copy times were impressive. We dropped a 1.5 GB mkv film straight onto the Canvio and it copied over in less than a minute. There was a steady low rumble from the drive as this happened, but nothing shocking and something that would be hardly noticed in day to day operation. One thing we did notice is what happened when we picked up the drive while in was copying – it became a cylon! Seriously, the fan inside the drive moaned slightly as we hefted it up and sounded like the scanning red eye of a cylon from Battlestar Galactica. Weird, but fun.

The STOR.E Canvio is, at the end of the day, a good solid drive. 3 TB (or there abouts) is a fantastic amount of storage, and unless you've been recording every detail of your life for the past decade, we doubt you'll be filling it any time soon. We think it would be perfect as a back up drive, for tools such as Apple's Time Machine, or as a media library while connected to a smart TV or player.

Sleek, simple, usable, massive space. What more could you need?



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