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Hands-on review: Toshiba Canvio Gaming Portable Storage

By Darren Price, Wed 14 Jul 2021

Dynabook’s Toshiba Canvio Gaming Portable Storage hard drive may offer a solution to a problem that new console owners didn’t know they had. 

Whenever I start talking about data storage the first thing I always say is that you can never have enough. It’s not me just repeating myself, it’s because it is the absolute truth.

Unfortunately, storage space is also where the penny-pinchers at Sony and Microsoft like to scrimp. Even now, with games taking up upwards of 90GB of storage, both the new Xbox Series S and X, as well as the PlayStation 5 only ship with one terabyte of storage. 

Whilst the Xbox Series X|S consoles do have an optional (expensive) 1TB storage expansion unit, the PlayStation 5, which only has 667.2GB of accessible storage, is still awaiting activation of its (again, expensive) storage expansion socket.

The above means that Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 owners, out of the box, may find themselves running out of storage space as their game collection increases. The same goes for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners, to some extent.

A portable USB hard drive has traditionally been the solution to console storage space. PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC gamers will find the Toshiba Canvio Gaming Portable Storage works as a good all-in-one game storage solution. You can just plug the drive in an available USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 socket on a PC (for the best speed) or just plug in and play on a console, all without pulling anything apart.

Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 owners can still use a USB drive like the Canvio, but with caveats.  

The problem with the Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 is that native next-gen games specifically developed for these new consoles require very fast data access. This means that these games can only use the solid-state drives pre-installed in the machines or added using the build-in expansion slots. You cannot run these new games from an external USB drive.

The good news is that you can store your Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 games on an external USB drive like the Toshiba Canvio Gaming Portable Storage. This saves you from having to download the games again. You can also run all your PlayStation 4 and Xbox backward-compatible games from an external USB drive.

The Toshiba Canvio Gaming Portable Storage is a portable 2.5” hard-disk drive. The drive is housed in a compact plastic chassis with a faux metallic finish on the top. The drive is very light, so light that I initially mistook it for an SSD. Even as a USB HDD, the 1 TB Canvio review unit’s 150.61MB/s read and 146.24MB/s write speeds are very good, being 50MB/s faster than the competing portable drive I tested it against.

This is great news for PC gamers especially those running out of space using gaming laptops or those not wanting to open up their PCs. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners will also likely find the Canvio faster than the consoles’ built-in drives.

Even though native PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S can’t run from the Canvio drives, most owners of these new consoles will likely find that a majority of their library will be PS4/XB1 games. This is especially so for Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus subscribers. Both will have a large collection of last-gen games ready to install and these are best placed on a USB drive like the Toshiba Canvio Gaming Portable Storage.   

A 1TB Canvio Gaming drive at only around NZ$86/AU$79, as opposed to AU$349/NZ$399 for a 1TB Xbox Series X|S Storage Expansion Card, is a pretty good alternative for running backward-compatible games. At the moment, PlayStation 5 owners, having no other extended storage options will make better use of their small onboard storage by using a Canvio Gaming drive for their backward-compatible PlayStation 4 games.

The Dynabook Toshiba Canvio Gaming Portable Storage HDDs are available as 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB units. A 1TB review sample was provided by the manufacture.

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