PROS / The pre-installed software is fairly light and easy to use.
CONS / There's no option to disable the sleep mode.
VERDICT / The Canvio Desk is a great, easy-to-use storage device that keeps your files safe.
Toshiba is a brand known for quality TVs, laptops and other electronics, but it is also one of the three big hard drive manufacturers. Toshiba's desktop external hard drives are durable and easy to use. The Canvio Desk external hard drive series is available in capacities ranging from 1TB to 5TB. The device has a sleek black finish and sits both vertically and horizontally. However, to keep it cool and maximize space, we prefer to keep it vertical. The Toshiba Canvio Desk earns our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award for desktop external hard drives due to its high usability, solid design and good security options. It isn't the very best desktop external hard drive you can get, but it comes pretty close.
Ease of Use
Life is complicated enough without having to remember whether you scheduled your desktop external hard drive to back up your content that day. For its built-in software, Toshiba uses NTI Backup Now EZ. It's easy to use but is a trimmed-down version of a better program. New users won't care much about the simplicity.
This software lets you schedule backups and syncs to run when it's convenient for you. Once scheduled, whether one-time or recurring, the backup or sync process occurs automatically. Not only can you determine when a backup occurs, you can specify which file types are backed up. You can use the sync feature when you need to transfer duplicate copies of files from one device to another easily and effectively – no copying and pasting required.
The Canvio Desk lost its eSATA connection from its previous model, instead opting for the more common USB 3.0 interface. If your computer is not set up with that USB 3.0, the device is backward compatible with 2.0. However, data transfer speed is affected, as the 3.0 connection runs 10 times faster than the 2.0 interface. That is a big deal if you back up and restore files frequently or want to transfer large quantities of data.
A small LED on the front of the drive is a convenient indicator of what state the drive is in. When flashing, the drive is currently in use or being written to be. A solid light indicates that the drive is on but not being directly used. After five minutes of inactivity, the drive enters sleep mode and the light dims. This is meant to prevent the drive from constantly drawing electricity, but depending on what you use the drive for, it could prove to be annoying. For a backup drive, it's not an issue. However, if you want to use it for media streaming or running applications (which generally isn't a good idea for external hard drives), then it could become a problem. The fact that there isn't a way to disable the sleep mode is somewhat baffling.
Toshiba has implemented several security measures to ensure this drive is a safe place to store your content. To protect the drive itself, it has an internal dampening system that dissipates excess energy for shock protection. To protect your content, this external hard drive has an automatic backup and sync option that runs on a schedule you set up. These backed-up files can be password protected or encrypted for further protection.
When you're using a desktop external hard drive to back up your data, you want to make sure it will last for a long time. The Canvio Desk comes with one of the better warranties you can find –a three-year limited warranty. That means you have three years to return the drive under warranty if anything goes wrong. Keep in mind, this doesn't mean that your data is under warranty. If the drive fails under warranty, you can get a new one, but your data is likely lost.
You can contact the support team via phone or email. In case you don't want to do that, there are FAQs and a user manual online that will likely answer most questions or concerns you have.
Toshiba has created one of the best external hard drives with the Canvio Desk. Even if you go with the 1TB model, you will have a lot of storage space for media and system backups. And, as far as desktop external hard drives are concerned, the Canvio Desk is a great-looking accessory.