USB Hard Drive Hangout (Part 2) - Toshiba Canvio plus 3.0 1.5TB, Adata Dashdrive Elite 500GB HE720

2/14/2013 4:53:34 PM

In this group, the Toshiba Canvio initially came across as the vanilla stepchild-nothing to get excited about, at least in this company, given its bland exterior and specs. We tested the 1.5TB version of the dive, which is the highest capacity offered by Toshiba. Surprisingly, it’s almost as thick as the 2TB WD drive despite its 500GB capacity deficit, so the lesson here is that if you’re going big on a USB drive, prepare to be toting around a Hot Pocket-size enclosure. The 1.5TB drive is only available in black, a decision we are just fine with since we don’t need nor want fancy a splash of color attached to your USB port, you’ll have to get by with lass capacity, as only the 500GB and 1TB models are available in red, blue, and gray (as well as black, natch).

Description: Toshiba Canvio plus 3.0 1.5TB

Toshiba Canvio plus 3.0 1.5TB

 On the software front, the Canvio comes with a well-rounded package that includes backup software with encryption, drive utilities, a cloud storage option, and a movie-editing app called Muvee Reveal. The NTI Backup Now EZ backup software is for Windows only, though the drive includes an NTFS driver that lets you use it with both Macs and PCs. Despite the software’s odd name, it’s actually our favorite of this roundup, simply because it offers an intuitive interface and many options for configuring backups, whether you want to back up to the Canvio drive itself or to the cloud. You can also choose to back up categories of files, individually selected files and folders, or entire you want to back up and let it run. You can also schedule backups, and see the status of the drive onscreen in the software, which is handy. It’s also easy to password-protect the drive. The only problem we had in our test was that the cloud option didn’t work for us – you get a 30-day free trial of cloud storage with the drive but we couldn’t activate ours. Note: The Basic model of this drive does not offer cloud storage as an option.

In our file-copy test, whereby we hustle 30GB of data over its fat USB 3.0 pipe, the Toshiba took second place overall with a time of 10 minutes, 34 seconds, which was almost two minutes slower than the WD drive, but faster than the Adata unit.

All in all, this is an excellent all-around backup drive. It’s not the highest-capacity or the thinnest drive ever, but it has great software, decent capacity, and is affordable – we don’t ask for much more in a USB storage device.

Verdict Toshiba Canvio Plus 3.0 1.5TB: 9


·         Price: $110

·         Website:


·         Color: Black

·         Capacity: 1.5TB

·         Interface: USB 3.0 with up to 5Gb/s2 transfer rate

·         Rotational Speed: Up to 5,400rpm

·         Average Seek Time: 12ms

·         Cache Buffer: 8MB

·         Dimensions & Weight: 3.1” W x 4.7” D x 0.65” H; 6.3oz

Adata Dashdrive Elite 500GB HE720

The Adata drive is one of the sexiest USB drives we have ever tested, and is certainly the thinnest USB drive too, at just 8.9mm thick. It might not sound like much in today’s world of super-thin everything, but this puppy is thin. In fact, our research indicates it is the thinnest USB drive currently available.

Description: Adata Dashdrive Elite 500GB HE720

Adata Dashdrive Elite 500GB HE720

Since life isn’t fair, there’s a major downside to the drive’s flatness, which is that its single-platter capacity is limited to 500GB. When compared to it’s a morsel, really, but that’s the price you pay for its slim form factor. To that, point, 500GB is the only capacity available for this model.

Despite its HE720 model name, which to our eyes suggests a 7,200rpm hard drive, this puppy sports a 5,400rpm drive inside its stainless steel chassis. Its physical size is 4.6 inches long and 3.1 inches wide, and it’s less than a half-inch tall. Its exterior shell is made with 9H stainless steel, which is resistant to scratches and looks slick but is too prone to fingerprints. The drive itself has only two mildly interesting features: a small, blue LED for activity and a tiny button located next to the USB 3.0 plug labeled “Backup”. Tapping the button triggers the included syncing software to open so you can configure and run backup routines. It would be handy if the backup button were in a more easily accessible location, as putting it right next to the USB plug makes it hard to reach.

The included Adata Sync software is PC-only and gets the job done for syncing, restoring, and backing up files, but it’s easily the most unpolished software in this roundup. As an example, if you try to open the software when it’s running in the background, you’ll see a pop-up error that contains what we can only assume is either a foreign language or gibberish. The Window also looks like it was built for Windows 98 and lacks the ease of use and look-and-feel of modern software, as it just gives you a split-window with “Source” on the left and “Destination” on the right, and you have to check boxes in a Windows Explorer interface to get it configured. This is not software we’d want our parents to use, that’s for sure. That said, we actually appreciate its unvarnished nature. You just tell it which folders you’re interested in and choose Backup, Restore, or Sync. You can then either manually back up everything you want or just schedule the software to run. It’s not glamorous or grandma-friendly, but we did it.

During testing, the drive was the slowest here by a small margin, taking 11 minutes and 31 seconds to move 30 gigs of data onto its lone platter. We know people don’t buy these drives for speed, and they are all relatively slow compared to our desktop HDDs and SSDs, but we do take speed into consideration.

The DashDrive is a decent package despite its flaws. We like its simple software, hard steel shell, and thin size a lot, making it a solid drive, both literally and figuratively.

Verdict Adata DashDrive Elite 500GB HE720: 7


·         Price: $80

·         Website:


·         Capcity: 500GB

·         Color: Titanium

·         Dimensions (L x W x H): 117 x 79 x 8.9mm (4.6 x 3.1 x 0.4in)

·         Weight: 164g (0.4 lb)

·         Interface (USB): SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (backward compatible with USB 2.0)

·         Interface (HDD): 2.5” SATA II

·         System requirements: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7/ Mac OS X 10.6 or later/ Linux Kernel 2.6 or later

·         Temperature: Operating 50C ~ 500C; Storage -400C ~ 600C

·         Accessories: USB 3.0 cable; Quick Start Guide

·         Texture: Stainless steel metal brushed surface, plus mirror-like polish

·         Warranty: 3 years

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