Summary : Toshiba pushes the boundaries of external hard drives with a sleek looking 5TB drive that boasts high speed transfer rates but suffers from being a dust magnet.
I have always been a bit of a storage hoarder. Generally my storage hoarding pertained to USB thumb drives and micro SD cards. More recently I have been looking towards physical hard drive, both internal and external, for my desktop PC and Chromebooks. When Toshiba contacted me to take a look at their latest 5TB external hard drive, I jumped at the chance. No that wasn’t a typo, 5TB’s and yes, I really did jump.
Toshiba is one of the few manufacturers that I have found that manufacture external hard drives that reach the 5TB capacity. Seagate offers an option along with LaCie and Fantom. All of them vary in design and price. This isn’t a comparison review between those guys thouh, this a lok and review of the Toshiba Canvio Desk. So let’s get to it.
The Canvio Desk manages to pull off a sleek look with its combination of matte and glossy black accents with its consistently traditional brick design. The glossy black has a tendency to acquire dust, hair and scratches rather easily that can quickly detract from the overall look. Toshiba gave the hard drive a set of small rubber feet on two sides of the enclose so it sits easily in a vertical or horizontal position. They also shield the drive from any small vibrations due to the internal disc spinning at 7200 RPMs. In terms of physical size you are looking at 129 X 42 X 167 mm.
The Canvio desk is not a light component to have around as it weighs in at 1,040g or 2.29 pounds. Not exactly something you want to tote around on road trips. The drive only has two access points, one for the USB 3.0/2.0 cable connection and one for the power supply. Both are found near each other on the rear of the drive. Both are cut outs in the hard plastic. They both seem to be seated pretty well with little to no gap between the component and the outer casing. Both cables fit in securely and feel solid when inserted.
You might also notice a number of vents that surround the drive. These are all in place to help disperse heat from the drive that builds up inside the plastic enclosure during long operations. While they do help heat escape, they also allow a small amount of noise out too. If your system is a super silent runner, then you might notice the noise, but only during heavy operations like backups and large file transfers.
This is where the fun begins. I mean, seriously, I like things to look nice, but when it is an external hard drive that is going to spend most of its time stuffed somewhere that won’t be making an impact to outside visitors. What it boils down to for me is the speed and if it works. The Canvio desk has an internal disk that spins at 7200 RPMs. It offers average seek times of 10.5 ms and Toshiba puts it at a max of 5Gb/s via USB 3.0 and 480 Mb/s via USB 2.0 connections. I ran a few speed testing apps to give you, and myself, some baseline numbers for speed on my system. Which you can get the hardware details of that over at my write up of my first PC build.
Speed wise it fared well. As for actual storage size I had access to a typical lower amount than advertised. While the drive is 5TB, the NIT Backup Now EZ software, warranty information and other files that the drive has on it brings the user storage down to approximately 4.65TBs. Losing a portion of the storage space is common on all storage drive, cards and the likes.
In addition to the drive being, well, a drive, Toshiba includes a set of backup software from NTI. NTI® Backup Now EZ™ comes preloaded on the drive for your convenience. The software alone runs you, on sale right now, $39.99. It is a good perk included with the drive. The software allows you to easily set up full system backups and restores at the push of a button. You can opt for select files or folders and even put them on a schedule that is convenient for you. Cutting out the need to remember to run a back up every so often.
While Toshiba has a deal worked out for the software side of things, the cloud side of NTI Backup isn not free. You can get a 30-day free trial of the cloud option that gives you 2GB of cloud storage. Once that concludes you would need to look into one of the monthly subscription options. Those start at $4.99 a month for 25GB all the way to $199.99 a month for 1TB. On a side note though, there are associated Android and iOS apps to access your photos, videos and files that have been backed up on the go.
For the security buffs out there you will be happy to know that you can also secure your backups with password-protected data encryption (up to 256-bit).
Toshiba has the Canvio Desk 5TB drive listed directly through them for $299.99. As always you can find it priced a lot better through sites like Newegg, who have it for $189.99 and Amazon who have it for 184.00. In my mind that price is a bit more reasonable. That averages out to $38 per TB if you go off Neweggs price and $36.80 per TB from Amazon. Putting those price tags to the current prices of 1TB external drives and you see the per terabyte cost is about half of what they are selling for. The cost value per TB is great. Toshiba also offers you a 3-year limited warranty on the drive to give you some peace of mind with your purchase.
I have used the 5TB Canvio Desk for just about 2 months now with no hardware issues or failure. I ran a backup the same day of the images above for the included NTI software without issue. During the backup is where you might hear some sound coming from the enclosure, but it wasn’t enough to bother me. I only heard it because I was close to the drive listening for sounds under a heavy load.
The drive looks nice, but as you can see in the images, it collects dust and hair like a magnet. I am not personally interested looks for personal use as it sits tucked on a shelf in my bedroom office corner. Looks and dust gathering issues might be important to you when looking for an external drive of this size.
I have been rather pleased with the drive myself. I transferred nearly 750GB of video and photos from a WD My Book drive to it. It took quite some time since its speed was limited by the old WD drive only using USB 2.0. I do notice that it takes a little bit, a few seconds, for the initial access of the drive after a reboot of the PC. Once you have accessed the drive though it doesn’t have any trouble. I can’t necessarily say that is a fault of the drive.
If you think this might be exactly what you are looking for then by all means get one ordered.