Toshiba Canvio Advance 4TB Portable Hard Drive Review

Small hard drive, big capacity

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Toshiba Canvio Advance 4TB Portable Hard Drive HDTC940XL3CA

Toshiba Canvio Advance

Lifewire / Erika Rawes

What We Like
  • Attractive design

  • Small and compact

  • Different color options

  • Extremely affordable

  • Decent read/write speeds

  • USB powered

What We Don't Like
  • Fingerprints and smudges show up on the housing

  • Included manuals aren’t very comprehensive

The Toshiba Canvio Advance is a practical hard drive for everyday people.


Toshiba Canvio Advance 4TB Portable Hard Drive HDTC940XL3CA

Toshiba Canvio Advance

Lifewire / Erika Rawes

We purchased the Toshiba Canvio Advance 4TB Portable Hard Drive so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.

An external hard drive, like the Toshiba Canvio Advance, is an easy and cost effective way to get extra storage for things like photos, movies, games, and important documents. The Canvio Advanced is supposed to be a fast, durable hard disk drive with high storage capacity that you can take with you on the go. I tested the Canvio Advance for a week to see how it performs in a real world environment.

Toshiba Canvio Advance
Lifewire / Erika Rawes

Design: Sleek and compact

The Canvio Advance has a high gloss finish that comes in four different color options: black, white, blue, or red. You can choose between different capacities ranging between 1 and 4TB. I tested the red, 4TB version, and immediately noticed the drive’s vibrant color through the package’s display window before I even opened the box. 

The Toshiba Canvio Advance is like the little red dress of hard drives—small and simple, yet eye-catching. If you’re looking for an inconspicuous hard drive that will sit unnoticed on your desk, this probably isn’t the right option. In addition to the glossy finish, there’s a small light ring in the upper right hand corner that flashes when the drive is in use. 

The Toshiba Canvio Advance is like the little red dress of hard drives—small and simple, yet eye-catching.

The Canvio Advance is extremely portable. In total, it clocks in at only 4.3 inches wide, 3.1 inches tall, and less than an inch thick, so it can easily fit in a laptop case or even in your pants pocket. The included USB 3.0 cable, while a bit on the shorter side, is also compact and easy to take along with you. 

The glossy finish, which is made of a hard plastic material, is durable enough to withstand regular wear and tear. Even though it has a plastic casing, it doesn’t easily scratch or dent. I attempted to scratch the case using my fingernails, and metal objects like coins and keys to see how it would hold up. My fingernails didn’t make a mark, and the keys only made a light surface mark. If you're carrying the drive in a bag with other items, the housing should protect it fairly well. 

Performance: Quick and quiet

If you’re connecting the HDD to a Windows PC, you can just plug and play. It's been formatted with NTFS (New Technology File System), so it’s ready to go for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. If you’re using it on a Mac, you’ll have to reformat it, but this process only takes a few moments. You can also connect it to your Mac using file management software. You can connect the Canvio to gaming consoles, like the PlayStation or Xbox, but you may need to format the drive for PS4.

Toshiba Canvio Advance
Lifewire / Erika Rawes 

The Canvio Advance is extremely quiet. When I tried to measure the sound it puts out in decibels using an application, I was unable to get a reading because the environmental noise (ticking wall clocks, air conditioning noise, etc.) made more noise than the hard drive. 

For a 2.5-inch, 5,400 rpm HDD, the Canvio Advance has decent performance. The manufacturer reports the transfer rate at up to 5 Gbit/s over USB 3.0, and up to 480 Mbit/s over USB 2.0. To measure its read/write speeds, I connected the Canvio Advance to a brand new inexpensive Windows laptop (A Lenovo IdeaPad S145 Series), as many everyday users purchase budget laptops for word processing, photo storage, and media. I used two different benchmark tools: CrystalDiskMark and Atto Disk Benchmark

For a 1GB file, read speeds were steady at about 142 MB/s, and write speeds stayed at around 150 MB/s after multiple simultaneous test runs. The Atto tests produced similar results, with the read speed leveling out at around 143 MB/s and write speed at 144 MB/s for a 1GB file.

Even though it has a plastic casing, it doesn’t easily scratch or dent.

I also downloaded SIMS 4 Deluxe, a 1.14 GB game, and measured the load times. The Canvio Advance loaded the game in 4.2 seconds, and it took 5.3 seconds to load up a saved game from the main menu. 

Software: Optional backup and security included

When you connect the drive, you can install two different companion programs: backup software and security software. The backup software lets you automatically backup your files, while the security software protects your HDD and lets you create a password.

The software is completely optional. When you open the drive’s file folder, you’ll find a link to the Toshiba site where you can download the two different software programs.

Price: About 2.5 cents per GB

You can find the 4TB drive for under $100. Even at a price of $100, you’re paying only about 2.5 cents per GB which is extremely reasonable. Plus, when you factor in the portability and attractive aesthetics, the Toshiba Canvio Advance is a good buy.

Toshiba Canvio Advance vs. Silicon Power Rugged Armor A60

Silicon Power’s A60 is another portable hard drive option. It’s more durable than the Canvio Advance, with a shock-proof silicone bumper, as well as a water resistant case. The A60 is in a similar price range to the Canvio, and it comes in a few different capacities too but, the Canvio has a smaller, sleeker look. Both drives are formatted for NTFS, and both are extremely versatile. If you want added durability, go with the A60. If you want a small drive that fits in the palm of your hand, go with the Canvio Advance.

Final Verdict

Affordable and portable, the Toshiba Canvio Advance is one of the more versatile hard drives available.

Whether you want a hard drive for media, work, school, or gaming, the Canvio Advance should serve your needs.


  • Product Name Canvio Advance 4TB Portable Hard Drive HDTC940XL3CA
  • Product Brand Toshiba
  • Price $95.00
  • Weight 7.4 oz.
  • Product Dimensions 4.3 x 3.1 x 0.77 in.
  • Color Red
  • Capacity 4TB
  • Interface USB 3.0 (backwards compatible with USB 2.0)
  • Transfer rate Up to 5 Gbit/s (USB 3.0), Up to 480 Mbit/s (USB 2.0)
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