Skip to content

Toshiba Canvio Flex portable harddrive review

Canvio Flex harddrive

This is a review about the Toshiba Canvio Flex harddrive. Although SSD’s are the most popular and fastest form of storage, harddrives are still the way to go for big and affordable storage. Despite using an older type of storage, the Toshiba Canvio Flex is still a modern harddrive. It offers both USB-A and USB-C connection so it can be connected to a Windows PC, Mac but also an Android phone and tablet or a modern iPad.

Toshiba Canvio Flex review
The Toshiba Canvio Flex a nice looking premium harddrive

The Canvio Flex is available in 1, 2 and 4 TB sizes. For this review I’m using a 4 TB version that offers plenty of storage. I’ll tell you about the build quality, looks and the performance of the Canvio Flex so you can decide if this is the right drive for you.

Looks and build

The Canvio Flex is a small rectangular box with an aluminium top. The bottom is made out of white plastics. It is 11 by 8 cm in size. There is a difference in height between the 1 and 2 TB versions and the 4 TB I’m using. The smaller sized drives are 1,3 cm deep. The 4 TB is a little bigger measuring 1,9 cm deep.

Toshiba Canvio Flex review
The bottom is made out of high quality plastics. The 4 TB version is a little deeper than the smaller sizes.

The Canvio Flex feels sturdy and high quality. Despite the bottom being made of plastics it does still feel like a premium product. There is only one USB port and a small indicator light that shows if the drive is powered on. Despite the very big storage the drive doesn’t need any external power besides what the USB port can deliver. So you just need one cable.

The Canvio Flex is supplied with both the USB A and USB C cable, so everything you need to get started is in the box.

Toshiba Canvio Flex performance

Speed wise the Canvio Flex isn’t keeping up with a modern SSD. But while only having a 2,5 inch harddrive on board it is still quick enough for almost any application. I’ve tested the drive connected to one of the USB A ports of my Mac Mini (please note there isn’t a difference in performance when it is connected to a USB C port). The USB A ports of my Mac are rated up to 5 Gb/s, so the theoretical maximum speed of the USB port is up to 625 MB/s. I’ve used the BlackMagic disk speed test app for the performance test.

Toshiba Canvio Flex review

As you can see in the image above the drive doesn’t disappoint. Writing files it reaches a comfortable 131 MB/s. Reading was a little faster with about 137 MB/s. The read and write speeds are very stable, even after running the Disk Speed Test for about 20 minutes continuously it still kept going on without any signs of slowing down. The drive also doesn’t get hot while being stressed.

Canvio Flex in mobile use

Besides using the drive on my Mac I’ve also connected it to my iPad Pro. I’ve connected it to my USB-C dongle that has both a USB-A port and built in card reader to download images from my Sony A7R3. Connecting it to the iPad couldn’t be easier, plug and play. When you open the ‘files’ app on the iPad you can immediately see the drive and browse it as you are used to on a PC. Copying images to the drive from the SD card was also a piece of cake, though transfer speeds are a little limited. I don’t know how fast the files where transferred, but I have a feeling my Anker USB-C dongle was slowing down the process because both the Toshiba drive and SD-card where connected to the same port.

Toshiba Canvio Flex review
The Canvio Flex is a perfect match with your tablet for mobile use

After downloading the images to the iPad I’ve used Lightroom to edit and export some images. And I must admit it was a very pleasant way of working. Lightroom on the iPad is a great tool and not having to worry about filling the iPads limited 128GB storage makes it even easier. I was truly surprised how easy and hassle free it was to connect an external harddrive to my tablet.


When you are looking for a reliable external harddrive the Toshiba Canvio Flex deserves your attention. It is a well built, nice looking small external drive that offers generous storage and flexibility. The drive performs very well for an external harddrive and performance is very stable. It comes with both the USB A and C cable and works perfectly on both your PC and mobile device. And there is a 3 year warranty for extra security. But knowing Toshiba products and especially their harddrives I don’t think you will be needing that.

You can buy it at amazon.

external harddrive review

5 thoughts on “Toshiba Canvio Flex portable harddrive review”

  1. Hi,

    After watching dozens of reviews on youtube and internet regarding various brands of external SSD and HDD, I came across your website and read your review. Very consistent and objective article on Toshiba harddrive, I love it and really helped me to take a final decision. I ‘ll go with the Flex drive from Toshiba, because is so versatile, reliable and quality built.

    Thank you very much for your time and effort to help and guide other people.

    Cheers !

    1. Hi Robby, thank you for the kind words! I don’t think you will be disappointed by the Toshiba drive, I’m still using it and very happy with it.


  2. Hi Robby, Great review. I purchased 3 of these and am still puzzled. Due to the fact that it comes with both USB A and USB C connectors, I expected the performance to be much faster using the USB C when plugged in to my HP Omen 17″ laptop’s USB C/Thunderbolt port. What I found was that it didn’t seem to be faster than when plugged into a USB A (USB 3) port.
    Does that mean the USB C cable is just to give one the flexibility of plugging into either type of port, with the performance remaining about the same?

    1. Hi Jay,

      Yes the interface is the same speed, no matter if you use the USB C or USB A plug. Or you must have a laptop with a slow USB A 2.0 interface and a faster USB C 3.2 interface. But in most cases the maximum read / write speed for the hard drive will be slower than the maximum speed of the USB port. So that won’t make a difference in speed.



  3. Pingback: Homepage

Leave a Reply