by Doug Crowthers

Toshiba Canvio Personal Cloud Hard Drive Review

The Toshiba Canvio Personal Cloud hard drive is a personal cloud server that doesn't require a monthly subscription and/or usage fees. It's an ideal solution for storing, sharing, and streaming your music, pictures, videos, and files between your desktop computers, laptops, tablets and or smartphones across your personal cloud. Unlike typical Cloud solutions, your content is stored on your own personal network and not a remote unknown location out on the Internet. Users gain peace of mind knowing that they can access and share files anywhere in the world at any time.

The Toshiba Canvio Personal Cloud hard drive is available in two capacities; 2TB and 3TB, for personal storage needs. The 2TB drive has an MSRP of $219.99, while the 3TB drive has a MSRP or $249.99. Our review model is the 3TB capacity

Product Features

  • Three step set-up process
  • Easy to share and stream content with a simple, intuitive interface
  • No recurring subscription fees
  • Access files from any compatible devices remotely using the internet
  • Access files from your mobile devices with Andriod and iOS apps
  • Stream your content wirelessly to any device such as Smart TVs, gaming consoles, PCs, tablets, etc.
  • Back up and store all your digital content in a familiar, centralized place - not a remote unknown location
  • Works with all Windows PCs, Android and iOS-based tablets and smartphones, and DLNA-compatible devices

Toshiba Canvio Personal Cloud Hard Drive Specifications

  • Capacity:
    • 2TB (HDNB120XKEG1)
    • 3TB (HDNB130XKEG1)
  • Interfaces: Ethernet
  • Size (inches): 6.30 H x 2.17 (body) W, 3.11 (foot) W x 7.52 D (inches)
  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 3.10 pounds Max
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited Warranty

Build and Design

The Toshiba Canvio Personal Cloud hard drive is a standard matte black finish, which looks very much like the recently reviewed Toshiba Canvio Desk 3TB external desktop hard drive. On either side of the device, you'll find the Toshiba logo in a raised silver emblem. On the front of the device, there are five LED lights that are indicators of the storage capacity of the drive. The first LED provides a dual function of letting the user know that the device is 30% or less of its capacity and a drive activity indicator. When the second LED is light, it indicates the drive is at 30% to 50% of its capacity. The third LED indicates 50% to 70% capacity, while the forth LED indicates 70% to 90%. Once you reach the 90% or above, the fifth LED light is an amber color, which acts like a warning that the drive is near capacity. 

The back side of the device houses a reset button, Ethernet port, Kensington lock slot, 12V DC adapter and USB port. The USB port can be used to connect an external USB disk or USB flash drive for expanded storage capabilities, or a user may connect a USB printer to create a shared network printer.  

User Interface

Setting up the Toshiba Canvio Personal Cloud hard drive is a very simple process thanks to Toshiba's simple to use setup installation software. First thing you'll do is connect the device to your network or PC and run the installation software. You'll need to make sure you are running Windows XP or higher, along with latest versions of your favorite browser. When you have the Canvio Personal Cloud software installed, username and password set up, I recommend running the Update function on the main tab to ensure you have the latest version of the software. We found our software required a 140MB update to the current version of 3.1.10.55. 

Now you have the software installed and updated, the software provides seven basic functions, including software settings, backup upload and access to your music, videos, photos and files that you have uploaded to the Personal Cloud. 

Getting started, the Settings function allows you to add/modify user’s rights, add/modify sharing options, enable remote access, enable hard drive standby and Canvio Cloud power. When you modify the sharing options, you have the ability to change the users access rights from deny, read-only to full access. When you enable remote access, you'll need to record the supplied PIN number, as it will be required to access the Canvio Personal Cloud remotely by PC, laptop, tablet or Smartphone, via free downloadable app. The easiest way to upload your information to your Personal Cloud is to use the Upload function which gives you the option to upload your music, videos, photos and documents of your choice. Once you select the types, simply click on the Select Folders to bring up a listing of folders to copy the files from. 

Another option to upload files to the Personal Cloud is to click on the up arrow at the bottom of the full screen of the Canvio Personal Cloud Software. On this screen, you have the option to download files to your device that others may have uploaded by clicking on the down arrow and dragging the file of chooses into the box than download.
In addition to the Personal Cloud, the software has the function to completely backup your device and create a rescue media in case of a system malfunction or failure. This function is more set up as a full operating system recovery method than it is for recovery of the personal files on your computer.
The one feature that the Canvio Personal Cloud is missing is the ability to incrementally backup your personal files to your personal cloud. It is still a manual process of uploading files to your cloud, so your still run the risk of losing your data on your device if you don't perform a necessary backup. This option would prevent users from looking at other stand alone storage devices like the Toshiba Canvio Desk 3TB or Western Digital My Book Essential 4TB.
Conclusion
Toshiba offers two capacities; 2TB and 3TB, for its Canvio Personal Cloud hard drive, which gives you the necessary capacity to store your music, pictures, videos, and files on your personal cloud. The Canvio Personal Cloud software is easy to set up and use, which quickly gets your personal cloud up and running, without the need to modify often confusing router settings. With its support for Windows PCs, Android and iOS-based tablets and smartphones, and DLNA-compatible devices, the Canvio Personal Cloud offers an easy solution to share files between your computer, tablet and smartphone. Our gripes are minor, lack of Mac support is problematic and as it's a single drive system, users should be backing the Canvio Personal Cloud up to a second device (or more) just to be safe. 
Pros
  • Ease of use
  • Simple configuration (no router edits required)
  • 3TB Capacity
Cons
  • No incremental data backup option
  • Lack support for Mac
Bottom Line
The Toshiba Canvio Personal Cloud provides an easy to use device to set up a personal cloud that allows you to store, share, and stream your music, pictures, videos, and files between your desktop computers, laptops, tablets and or smartphones.

Toshiba Canvio Personal Cloud at Amazon.com

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