While a portable 2,5 inch hard drive may not sound very interesting or special, it still is one of the tools I tend to keep in my (photo- or laptop-) bag when I’m on the go. Even while there are options available like OneDrive or Google drive to back up and share files, I still like the simple and robust solution of an external hard drive. I still encounter situations where I don’t have (unlimited) internet access, so I can’t rely on cloud storage alone. Besides that, uploading several gigabytes of photos or video over a cell phone connection can be quite the challenge.
Thinking about robust storage solutions my trusty Toshiba drives come to mind. I’ve had a few over the years (and still keep most them in my desk) and they have always been reliable. The only reason to move to a new one was increased storage space. So when Toshiba asked me to review their new Tosiba Canvio Premium I was interested to find out if this fancy looking new drive was still as robust as Toshiba’s drives have been in the past.
The Toshiba Canvio Premium is available in sizes ranging from 1 TB to 4 TB. For this review I’ve used the 4 TB version. All versions come in the same package and have the same features.
Toshiba Canvio Premium
Toshiba’s Canvio drives are available in several models, with the Canvio Basic being the (as the name says) basic option for people looking for a simple, reliable hard drive. The Canvio Premium I’m reviewing is on the other end of the scale. It is the high-end, luxury model. The case of the Toshiba Canvio Premium is made out of lightweight but durable aluminium and good looking plastics and is available in two colours. I’ve gotten the darker grey version for this review, but it is also available in light grey. Whatever you like best. The edges are chamfered and look really nice, especially on the darker grey Toshiba Canvio Premium. There is a little round indicator light that tells you if the drive is on and active.
As you’d expect from a high end luxury product the Toshiba Canvio Premium comes in a very complete package. In the box you’ll find the drive itself (of course), a small carrying pouch that feels a little like velour and the regular USB-A cable (USB 3.0 compatible). What I really like was that they also put a USB A to USB C adapter in the box. So you can use the drive on laptops, smartphones and tablets that have a USB C port. On my laptop I have three USB A ports, but when they are in use I love the option to switch to USB C. Being a modern 2,5 inch drive it doesn’t need a separate power supply.
When you buy the drive you’ll find Toshiba’s back-up and protection software preloaded on the drive making it easy to protect and back-up selected files. You can use Toshiba’s software to encrypt your files for extra security. On my review sample the software had been deleted by the previous user unfortunately. Luckily that isn’t a problem as you can download the software form the Toshiba site.
Using the Toshiba Canvio Premium
Using the drive is as easy as you’d expect. Just plug it in and the drive will be found and shown in your explorer. If you want to use the Toshiba software you can install it directly from the drive. Being a modern USB 3.0 capable hard drive the performance is very good. When active you can hear the drive ever so slightly, but it is very quiet in operation. It is a lot quieter than a normal 3,5 inch desktop hard drive.
When it comes to speed I have no complaints at all. I can back up huge amounts of photos to the drive at high speed and reading them is even quicker. I’ve even used the drive to store my Lightroom Catalogue when I was on the move. Of course you are going to have less performance that way then when working off your SSD, but it was very manageable with the smaller files of my Nikon Df and D4.
In practice I’ve been able to write large files of about 500 Mb to the drive at about 130 Mb/s which is quite fast for a normal external drive. I was pleasantly surprised it also kept an average speed of about 130 Mb/s (with just a few drops to 115 Mb/s) when I copied 10 Gb of photos to the drive. It’s clear Toshiba has invested in a very fast hard drive to put in the Canvio Premium.
Durability and reliability
I have been using the Toshiba Canvio Premium for several weeks now, and haven’t been easy on it. I used it as a back-up drive to back up my photos and to transfer them from my laptop to my desktop. As you may expect the drive didn’t give me any problems, performing perfectly in all conditions (even when I left it in my bag that stood in the full June sun for some time and it got quite hot before using it).
Of course I can’t say anything about the durability in the long term from just a few weeks of use, but I can say the case is very sturdy. It feels like it can withstand quite some harsh use and I doesn’t get scratched easily. Looking at the other Toshiba hard drives I’ve used over the years I can say that none of those, or any other Toshiba product has ever let me down. That is one reason why it has been a go-to brand for me for some time now.
While the Toshiba Canvio Premium is the luxury model of their line up this hard drive isn’t scared of a little rough handling and hard work. It will take a beating as good as any other Toshiba Canvio, despite its luxurious appearance. That said, this drive also looks good on your desk and comes with a nice pouch and the added USB-C adapter making it a versatile product. I have no problem recommending this drive if you are looking for a durable, good looking external hard drive.