Toshiba new external drive: How small can it go?

The drive can be used with both Macs and PCs

Toshiba today released its smallest external hard drive, a device that trumps Western Digital's smallest drive, which was released earlier this month.

Canvio Slim
Toshiba's new Canvio Slim hard drive.

Like WD's new My Passport Edge, Toshiba's Canvio Slim is a single-platter, 5400-rpm, 500GB drive. It is 0.35 in. thick, 4.21 in. long and 2.95 in. wide. WD's My Passport Edge, released at the beginning of the month, is a half-inch thick, 4.34 in. long and 3.2 in. wide.

Toshiba's predecessor to the Canvio Slim, the Canvio, was 0.53 in. thick.

Like WD's new drive, the Canvio Slim supports the USB 3.0 (5Gbps) specification, an upgrade from the USB 2.0 (480Mbps) I/O interface. Also like WD's new drive, the Toshiba Canvio lacks the new Thunderbolt (10Gbps) interface.

Like other USB 3.0 drives, the Canvio Slim is backward compatible for use with USB 2.0 devices.

The drive comes with an NTFS driver for use with Mac computers, but it also allows users to store and access files from PCs and Macs without reformatting.

Canvio Slim
Toshiba's new Canvio Slim hard drive.

The Canvio Slim also comes equipped with software designed to ease backups. The included NTI Backup Now EZTM software provides a system scan that recommends the best type of coverage. Users can choose between backing up files to the cloud, backing up files and folders to the Canvio Slim portable hard drive, backing up anything saved on the computer, or all three for the most comprehensive coverage.

The Canvio Slim has a suggested retail price of $114 and comes with a three-year limited warranty.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian, or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His email address is

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