by Doug Crowthers

Toshiba Canvio Desk 3TB Review

Over the summer, Toshiba released three new Canvio Desk external desktop hard drives that are available in capacities of 1TB (HDWC110XK3J1), 2TB (HDWC120XK3J1), and 3TB (HDWC130XK3J1). Today, we have the opportunity to get our hands on and review the 3TB Canvio Desk Desktop external hard drive. The drive is USB 3.0 compatible, which Toshiba was kind enough to include the USB 3.0 cable within the package. It comes formatted NTFS for Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8. Mac users aren't to be left out though, as the drive can be reformatted to work with Mac OS X Tiger, Leopard or Snow Leopard.

The first thing that catches your eye, or should I say doesn't, is the black on black enclosure. It is a simple black matte finish on top and bottom, with a gloss finish on the sides. The enclosure does serve its purpose though providing adequete cooling and projection for the enclosed 3TB hard drive. During testing and general usage, the drive remained quiet to were at times I had to double check it was running, specially when paired with my laptop.  

Toshiba Canvio Desk 3TB Specs:

  • Capacities
    • 1TB (HDWC110XK3J1)
    • 2TB (HDWC120XK3J1)
    • 3TB (HDWC130XK3J1)
  • Interfaces: USB 3.0 (backwards compatible with USB 2.0)
  • Speed: 5700 RPM
  • Average Seek Time: 14 ms
  • Cache Buffer: 32 MB
  • Size: Height 6.6 Inches, Lenght 5.1 inches, Width 1.7 Inches
  • Color: Black/Black
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds

Design and Build:

The Toshiba Canvio Desk external drive is a standard black (matte) on black (gloss) enclosure with the Toshiba logo embedded on the front. It is constructed of plastic material that provides adequete protection to the drive during use or travel. The Canvio Desk has padded rubber feet on the back and bottom of the drive, which allows users to either stand the drive up or lay it flat on their desk. The panel connector side and bottom of the enclosure feature vents for passive ventillation during usage. 

The back features a USB 3.0 port and a power connector that can be expected with most desktop external hard drives. There are no physical security lock ports on this unit, so users with have to utilize the pre-installed NTI Backup Now EZ for security of the drive. 


The Canvio Desk is USB 3.0 compatible, but the performance is limited to the speed of the 5700 RPM Toshiba hard drive. We connected the drive to our consumer test rig via USB 3.0 to see how it performed under best conditions. Using IOMeter, we measured an average sequential read speed of 147.4 MB/s and a write speed of 136.8 MB/s. Even with these performance numbers, it made quick work of my 24GB folder transfer from my hard drive to the Canvio Desk, in just under 20 minutes. 


The Canvio Desk comes pre-installed with NTI Backup Now EZ software developed by NTI Corporation. NTI Backup Now EZ is a simple backup program, which allows users to do incremental backups to a full system restore. Backup options include specific files and folders, or the user can specify the type of files they want to back up by category, like photos. Once configured, users can setup the software to backup files to their desired scheduled, be it daily, weekly or continous. 


The NTI Backup Now EZ allows users to select their backup destination, along with ecrypting their external drive for higher level of data protection. 


The Toshiba 3TB Canvio Desk Desktop external hard offers a nice blend of performance and storage capcity. With its black on black appearance, the Canvio Desk lacks some of the style seen with similar units, such as the Western Digital My Book Studio. Weighing in at 2.2 pounds, the Canvio Desk is still light enough to be a portable external drive, or can be used as a stationary external backup drive. 

With its USB 3.0 compatibility, the Canvio Desk performs adequaltely with speeds peaking at 147.4 MB/s read and 136.8 MB/s write over USB 3.0.


  • Strong performance over USB 3.0
  • Quiet, passively cooled, design


  • No eSATA for PC users
  • Tops out at 3TB where many externals offer 4TB

Bottom Line

The Toshiba 3TB Canvio Desk Desktop external hard is a nicely done desktop hard drive. It will meet the needs of most users with its USB 3.0 compatibility but offers little that's unique to set it apart from other competing drives. 

Toshiba Canvio Desk at

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