Toshiba Canvio Basics 2TB portable hard drive review

Toshiba Canvio Basics 2TB review: A cheap, no-frills portable hard drive that makes few compromises

While many portable storage drive manufacturers try to differentiate their product through design or features, Toshiba looks to be content just to build the cheapest drive it can with the Toshiba Canvio Basics 2TB. (See all storage reviews.) 

That’s not such a bad thing if you just want somewhere to keep your data rather than something to show off on your desk, providing no shortcuts have been made that could compromise performance or longevity. 

Toshiba Canvio Basics 2TB review: Build and design 

Like fellow diskmakers Seagate and Western Digital, Toshiba has been able to shave some useful millimetres from the overall dimensions of this Canvio Basics 2TB. Not in thickness as we saw with Seagate’s Seven^mm drive, but in length. See also: best portable hard drives 2015 UK.  

Instead of including a SATA-to-USB circuit board into the casework, Toshiba has engineered a raw disk with USB connectivity built right into the Toshiba Canvio Basics 2TB. This has allowed it to build a complete portable hard drive that’s just 111 mm long. Its 21.4 mm thickness, on the other hand, makes it the fattest of the group. 

The Canvio Basics' case is made from basic black plastic, gloss on top, matt to the sides, that is snapped-sealed closed. There’s the usual Micro-USB 3.0 port on one end, the company logo on top, and that’s about it.  

Lack of frills extends to the box contents, with no carry pouch to be found. That’s a pity too, as our second-hand review sample was covered in scratches across the top, likely just from being carried loose in a bag. 

Inside the Canvio Basics, Toshiba tells us, is an internal shock sensor ‘to help keep your data safe while on the go’. Three storage capacities are available, 500 GB, 1 TB or the 2 TB that we were loaned for testing. See our group test: What's the best SSD? 

Toshiba Canvio Basics 2TB review: Performance 

While we didn’t look inside, the benchtest numbers suggest that Toshiba may have installed a 2 TB disk based on the Toshiba MQ01ABD100 disk that’s used by iStorage, for example. 

Sequential reads and writes in Windows came in at 117 and 114 MB/s, and small-file transfers dropped to the 0.56 and 0.27 MB/s figures we’ve seen with similar notebook-disk portable drives. 

The Canvio Basics worked well with OS X too, returning sequential results of 109 MB/s reads and 106 MB/s writes. Small-files averaged 16.7 MB/s, a fairly typical result, but in the same write performance test (with data sized from 4 kB to 1024 kB), the Canvio Basics had the slowest overall speed of just 5.73 MB/s. 

Toshiba Canvio Basics 2TB: Specs

  • 2 TB USB drive
  • available in 500, 1000, 2000 GB capacities
  • Toshiba 2.5-inch HDD
  • no carry case
  • 450 mm USB cable
  • 111 x 79 x 21.4 mm
  • 207 g
  • 2 TB USB drive
  • available in 500, 1000, 2000 GB capacities
  • Toshiba 2.5-inch HDD
  • no carry case
  • 450 mm USB cable
  • 111 x 79 x 21.4 mm
  • 207 g

OUR VERDICT

Like Tesco Basics, the Toshiba Canvio Basics lives up to its name, a basic portable drive with no frills in its packaging, style or feature set. However there’s also little sign of any compromise in its overall performance and usability, excepting a slower than usual small-file random write issue. Importantly for many potential buyers, it’s one of the cheapest drives available at fewer than 4 pennies per gigabyte, without compromising the build quality required of its role.

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