The Toshiba Canvio Connect II is an affordable USB 3.0 2.5-inch external hard drive that can be bought from Amazon for around £100 and comes with 10 GB Cloud Storage via Pogoplug.

For me with things like this price is generally the main factor in my purchase and at around £110-120 it sits on the lower end of the pricing spectrum making it quite an appealing device.

However, the Canvio Connect II has a couple of tricks up its sleeve to differentiate it from the pack. The Canvio Connect II can turn an Internet-enabled device into a cloud server for sharing and streaming stored files. It also has the usual backup software you find on a lot of these devices allowing you to easily backup your important files with minimal effort.

Design wise, it is about as nice as you are going to make an external HD. You have a choice of glossy plastic covers and that’s about it in terms of fancy design. It weighs 230g which is negligible, though it is actually about 40g heavier than some competing models. You won’t notice the difference, though. Its dimensions are 7.8 x 10.9 x 2 cm which should be small enough for all users. With all these drives using 2.5 hard drives internal there isn’t a great deal of wiggle room in terms of sizing.

Some of the weight can be attributed to the increased shock resistance Toshiba have installed and a shock sensor that will help protect your data.

The bundled software includes NTI Backup Now EZ and Pogoplug PC. The latter lets you access the contents of the drive remotely, but only if the PC it’s connected to is left turned on. The Pogoplug PC is an interesting idea, I am sure it has some use, for example, office working sharing files between locations, but because you need to leave your PC on for it to work, it is probably going to be too expensive to use as an alternative to a NAS. It is free, though, and you get 10GB of storage too which can always be handy. The Pogoplug licence costs $30 normally, so if it is software you might use, then you are getting a bargain.

The drive itself is 5400rpm, which is standard for cheaper portable drives. It means that it shouldn’t really push the potential speeds of USB3.0 that much, but it’s nice to have the extra bandwidth, and USB3.0 is becoming standard nowadays.

For large file writes we saw around 110MB/S for both read and write. The performance drops off for small writes. This is pretty much standard with mechanical drives and it does mean an initial backup might take a while but after that, you probably won’t notice any issues with speed.

Overall, for the price, this is a great little hard drive it performs well for a mechanical drive, and 3TB storage is a huge amount for your average user. While most people won’t use the software but it is a nice addition and helps differentiate it from the pack. You can pick it up today for around £100 for the 3TB version