Let me start by stating the obvious here. It’s rarely a external drive delivers jaw-dropping innovation to the market. And at first glance, Toshiba Canvio Basics 4TB looks like Toshiba Canvio Basics has always looked like. And while it’s fascinating that today it is possible to get a pocket-sized (well at least almost) hard drive with 4TB memory for under $100, the question you end up with is whether it’s worth the money?

The Canvio Basics 4TB is part of the 2019 range launched by Toshiba. It is a traditional 2.5-inch external hard disk drive that comes with a USB 3.0 connector. The drive is available in a few different sizes and it comes in a plethora of different colors, as long as you choose black. It comes pre formatted for Windows but requires reformatting for macOS.

As mentioned earlier, Toshiba Canvio Basics looks like it has done in recent years. However, there is nothing bad about that, as it has a relatively timeless design with a clean shape and matte black plastic enclosure. The only negative in terms of design is that there are no rubber feet underneath to prevent it from slipping on the desk.

Out of the box you’ll get a 50cm USB cable and a quick start guide. And at 109 x 78 x 19,5mm with a weight of 217,5g, this drive is small enough to be slipped in a rucksack (the 500GB-model is, for obvious reasons, both lighter and thinner).

Same as with the design could be applied here as well. Not much has happened on the performance front of external hard drives (with spinning discs) in general or Toshiba in particular. In my different tests with CrystalDiskMark and ATTO Disk Benchmark I get 145MBps (read); 154MBps (write) on average, which is about what I expected (maybe a bit better to be honest).

The Market
At the time of writing you can get the Canvio Basics 4TB for around $95 on Amazon, which makes it a bit problematic since you could also get the Canvio Advance 4TB for only $5 more (and hey, it comes in other colors than black!). You could also get Seagate’s competitor, the Seagate Backup Plus for $5 less or Western Digital’s WD My Passport 4TB for around $10 less.

I like the Toshiba Canvio Basics 4TB portable HDD. I’d love to see Toshiba use a USB Type-C connector next time, but I guess it’s a way of squeezing the price. To link to what I wrote in the beginning, it is not a jaw-dropping experience in any way, but I think that Toshiba gets the job done with their Canvio Basics drives. However, it’s impossible not to see how the market looks like, and right now you could probably get a little more for your money with Western Digital or Seagate.


  • Decent speed results
  • Disk free of errors
  • One-year limited warranty (2 years in Europe)


  • Not the cheapest
  • No innovation
(Image credits: Toshiba & x-kom.pl)