Hard disk drives still rule the roost when dealing with bus-powered portable storage devices that are economical on a $/Gb basis, particularly at higher capacity points. Seagate and Western Digital offer capacities ranging from 1TB to 5TB in their Portable / Backup Plus and My Passport HDD lineups. Toshiba’s bus-powered Canvio lineup includes the Canvio Slim (1TB and 2TB), Canvio Advance, Canvio Basics, and Canvio Ready (1TB-4TB) models. Today, Toshiba is adding new models focused on the gaming market (add-on storage for consoles) while expanding cross-platform compatibility. The Advance and Ready models are also getting a redesigned exterior.
The two new models – Canvio Flex and Canvio Gaming – target different market segments. Both feature storage capacities of up to 4TB, and utilize shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology. They come with a USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) Micro-B interface. The Flex comes with both USB-C and USB-A cables for wider compatibility with a range of computing platforms. The Gaming model features customized firmware (with an ‘Always-On’ feature, which we assume disables the parking of the heads when idle as long as power is available).
Toshiba expects the new Canvio Flex and Gaming models to become available in Fall 2020. Pricing was not available at launch time – the 4TB Basics / Advance currently have a street price around $90-$100, and we expect the Flex and Gaming to land around that. In terms of competition, both Seagate and Western Digital have had their 4TB (and even 5TB) bus-powered SMR models in the market for a few years, though the performance profile is widely different. We would have liked Toshiba to introduce a 5TB model to go against the entire stack from their competitors. That said, the new models do enable the company to tweak the firmware and accessories to serve specific market segments in a better manner.