by Josh Shaman

Toshiba Canvio Slim II Review

The Toshiba Canvio Slim II is a bus-powered portable storage device that comes in a small footprint in both 500GB and 1TB capacities and interfaces over USB 3.0. The Slim II can also be purchased preformatted for Windows or Mac; the Windows model includes a NTFS driver for Mac and the Mac version is Time Machine compatible. For additional value, the Canvio Slim II features preloaded software that can also be found in some of the other Toshiba Canvio series drives. Users receive free licensed-access to NTI Backup Now EZ 2010 which enables simple, optionally-encrypted backups, and they also receive a license for Pogoplug PC for cloud backups which is normally $30. Canvio owners receive 10GB of storage for free versus 5GB for non-Canvio owners. There is also a piece of media editing software called Muvee and an HDD Password Tool that enables users to set a password for the drive.

The Canvio Slim II adds to the existing Canvio line which includes: basic capacity-expansion models, the Canvio Connect that we recently reviewed with backup software, and an automatic backup model. As we've reviewed the Connect and discussed the included software at length, we'll focus more on the Slim II device itself in this review; the Connect review can be referenced for relevant software information.

Though by a relatively small margin, the Slim II's pricing is at the upper-end of the Canvio line. However, that is quite clearly attributable to its slim size and high-end, brushed aluminum exterior. The Canvio Slim II runs about $20 more than the Connect and $10 more than the automatic backup at the same capacity. Consumers searching for a highly portable drive with a truly high-end appearance likely won't balk at the marginal price delta, especially given that the Slim II features a 3 year warranty (versus 2 years on those drives). Additionally, while the previous generation maxed out at 500GB, Slim II hits 1TB. As mentioned above, it also features Pogoplug, which was not included on the original Slim.

The Toshiba Slim II is available now in 500GB or 1TB capacities in either silver or black with a 3 year standard limited warranty. Our review model is the 1TB in the silver enclosure. MSRP pricing is $114.99 for 500GB and $149.99 for 1TB.

Toshiba Slim II Specifications

  • Capacity: 500GB or 1TB
  • Interfaces: USB 3.0 (backwards compatible with USB 2.0)
  • Spindle Speed: 5400 RPM
  • Average Seek Time: 12 ms
  • Cache Buffer: 8MB
  • Warranty: 3 year limited
  • Dimensions of 1TB (LxWxH): 4.21" X 2.95" X 0.49"
  • Weight of 1TB: 5.47 oz Max
     

Design and Build

The Toshiba Canvio Slim II matches well with existing Canvio designs, and takes a majority of its styling cues from the Slim I. Users can purchase the Canvio Slim II in two colors, silver or black, which both feature a brushed aluminum exterior. That means the drive will blend in well in either PC or Mac environments. Our tester is the 1TB silver model.

The top of the Slim II has Toshiba branding in the upper left corner, under which is an LED indicator. The bottom and sides of the Slim II are featureless aside from a product label on the bottom. The back of the unit features the USB 3.0 port.

Performance

Using our Consumer Testing Platform, we measured transfer speeds from the Toshiba Canvio Slim II over its USB 3.0 interface with IOMeter. Sequential read and write speeds measured 113.86MB/s and 113.63MB/s respectively, while random large-block transfers measured 72.81MB/s read and 51.98MB/s write.

Comparing the Canvio Slim II to similarly-marketed products, its counterpart Canvio Connect tested with sequential read and write speeds measured 101.5MB/s and 101.2MB/s respectively, while random large-block transfers measured 47.7MB/s read and 37.9MB/s write. The Buffalo MiniStation posted 115.1MB/s on both the sequential read and write tests and measured 46.3MB/s for reads and 49.1MB/s for writes on the large-block transfers. Meanwhile, the G-Technology G-DRIVE mini tested with sequential read and write speeds at 127.6MB/s and 121.2MB/s respectively, and random large-block transfers measured 55.1MB/s read and 55.9MB/s write.

Conclusion

The Toshiba Canvio Slim II comes in 500GB and 1TB capacities, with an exterior casing accented by either silver or black brushed aluminum. The drive is just under a half-inch tall at 0.49" and could easily fit in a pocket or most space-limited areas with its design. It's also unlikely to be damaged in transit given its rigid exterior. Beyond that, Toshiba includes software to deliver greater end-user value. The Canvio Slim II comes with NTI Backup Now EZ 2010 and Pogoplug PC (as well as a password client for the drive and Muvee for editing). The NTI offering enables users to backup all of their important content and files and offers optional encryption. Users also get the Pogoplug PC license and 10GB of free cloud storage. Something we previously mentioned in our Canvio Connect review is that it would be nice to have a more unified software offering.

When we tested the Toshiba Canvio Slim II, we had a rough idea of what kind of performance to expect as we had already recently tested the Canvio Connect. However, the Canvio Slim II performed with even greater marks. It was in the middle of the group with its approximately 114MB/s sequential transfers for both read and write activity. When it came to its random large-block transfers, the Canvio Slim II performed very well. Its performance during read activity was the best of the group at 72.81MB/s, while write activity at 51.98MB/s was second only to the G-Technology G-DRIVE mini. The Toshiba Canvio Slim II is more than sufficient for the backups and bulk transfers for which it's designed.

Pros

  • High-end brushed aluminum exterior
  • Performance for random large-block transfers

Cons

  • Middle of the group sequential transfers

Bottom Line

The Toshiba Canvio Slim II delivers up to 1TB of storage capacity in a high-end, aluminum enclosure, and it features bundled software to offer a more complete solution than a run-of-the-mill portable device.

Toshiba Canvio Slim II at Amazon.com

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