Toshiba Canvio Connect II vs Basics Which For Mac

By Paul Gregory / February 8, 2019
Toshiba Canvio Connect II VS Basics

Toshiba refreshed their external hard drive line up in February 2018, so how does the refreshed Canvio Basics compare to the Toshiba Canvio Connect II?

When you are connecting these drives to a Mac.


Toshiba Canvio Connect II

  • ​Three attractive color ways, Black, Blue Red. Aluminum on the premium version
  • ​Internal shock sensor and ramp loading technology
  • ​NTFS preformatted - plug and play on PC, can only read on Mac

Toshiba Basics

  • ​​This basic drive has been revived with the Feb 2018 update
  • ​Internal shock sensor and ramp loading technology
  • ​NTFS preformatted - plug and play on PC, can only read on Mac


Toshiba Canvio Connect II

  • ​​USB 2.0 backwards compatibility mode is not recommended for older Macs
  • ​​No direct Thunderbolt connectivity for newest Macs - need an adaptor
  • Times Circle
    ​Will need to be reformatted to Use on a Mac or use the Tuxera driver from Toshiba

Toshiba Basics

  • Times Circle
    ​Available in black only
  • ​​USB 2.0 backwards compatibility mode is not recommended for older Macs
  • ​​No direct Thunderbolt connectivity for newest Macs - need an adaptor
  • Times Circle
    ​Will need to be reformatted to Use on a Mac or use the Tuxera driver from Toshiba

The Verdict: Toshiba Canvio Connect II Vs Basics​​​​​

The Toshiba Basics - and it is all in the name is a basic external hard drive and comes in at an entry level price. Comparing the two drives side by side there is little to separate them.

They both can be used on a Mac, are a similar size, have the same capacities and similar weight. The Canvio Connect II was released to the market in 2014 and has been replaced by the Canvio Advance in Toshiba's February 2018 refresh.

You would purchase it now if you wanted the snazzy colors or just preferred to go with the tried and tested technology. Otherwise I see no reason why you wouldn't go with the Canvio Basics right now.

​Recommended Drive
Toshiba Canvio Basics
Canvio Basics Front

​Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB

A Features Comparison

​Described on Amazon as the 'Classic' the Toshiba Canvio Connect II (HDTC810XK3A1) was released to the market in 2014.

The Toshiba Basics (HDTB310XK3CA) the 'Classic' version of this hard drive was replaced in February 2018 by the model numbers;

  • HDTB410XK3AA for 1TB
  • HDTB420XK3AA for 2TB
  • HDTB330XK3CB for 3TB

as the 'Contemporary' version of this drive.

You can have a look at the February 2018 Press Release here.

​Hard Drive



​ Buy on Amazon

Toshiba Canvio Connect II Range Of Colors

​Connect II

​Black, Blue Red

2 Years

Canvio Basics Front

​Canvio Basics


2 Years

Toshiba Canvio Connect II and Canvio Basics Compatibility with Mac

​The most important thing to know as a Mac owner is how do you use either of these external hard drives on a Mac.

When both of these drives come preformatted as NTFS drives.

Macs can read NTFS drives but cannot write to them.

Windows PCs can read and write to these drives - hence the marketing saying these drives are plug and play. Because on a Windows PC you just plug in either of these drives and the PC can immediately see, use and store files.

Tuxera NTFS Driver for Mac

​To help with this issue on the Canvio Connect II Toshiba has provided the Tuxera NTFS driver.

You install the driver software on your Mac and then you can read and write to the Canvio Connect II.

Just be sure you have the latest version of the driver for your Mac OS version of the operating system.

You can download the software from direct from Toshiba via this link

​Click on the Knowledge Base tab and select the link How to Update Tuxera NTFS for Mac OS X "El Capitan" or "Sierra" and you'll find the software driver there and the associated instructions.

Which brings up a point I'd like to make about using this software, if you are only occasionally using the drive on a Mac then fine, downloading and using the software shouldn't be a big deal.

You can download this software and use for either hard drive.

Should you plan to use the Canvio Connect II mainly on your Mac then you will have to make sure there is an version of the Tuxera NTFS driver for your Mac OS when you need to update your Mac to a future operating system.

Or wait until the driver has been updated! Not ideal.

Toshiba Canvio Basics

Toshiba Canvio Basics

Reformat the Canvio Connect II or Canvio Basics for a Mac

​The perfect solution here is to reformat both these drives to a format the Mac can read and write to. It is easily done.

I have a document on the site that explains how to do it and in about 15 minutes or less you'll have either hard drive formatted in Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system which is the default file system for a Mac.

You can then drag and drop files, copy and paste or use the drive as a destination for Time Machine backups of your Mac.

You can find out how to do this here 'Connect an External Hard Drive to Mac, 12 things to Know'

Read the entire article or use the Table of Contents to jump down to the section Format your External Hard Drive to Use on Your Mac.

Want to Share the Canvio Connect II or Canvio Basic Between a Mac and a Windows PC?

​Again easily done with both these external hard drives without the need for the Tuxera driver. Formatting these drives to ExFAT means that both a Mac and a Windows PC can read and write, drag and drop, copy and paste and share files.

I have a document that explains how 'External Hard Drive for Mac and PC with Data Interchangeable'

One thing to note is that the ExFAT file system does not support Time Machine backups, apart from that restriction of ExFAT you can freely use both Toshibas between Macs and Windows PCs.

So Now I've covered how your Mac would use both the Canvio Connect II and the Canvio Basics on a Mac let us have a look at other aspects when we compare both these external hard drives.

Canvio Connect II Top View

Canvio Connect II

How are they powered?

​Both the drives are powered from the USB 3.0 port on your Mac. Should you have an older Mac with USB 2.0 ports, then that note both the Canvio Connect II and the Canvio Basics draw quite a bit of power and there are reports of these drives not working consistently from the USB 2.0 ports on older Macs. Apple has stuck quite strictly to the power draw parameters of the USB 2.0 standard and these Toshibas seem to exceed the standard.

It is something to note should you be using a USB hub to connect these drives to your Mac. It is best to have an externally powered USB hub rather than one powered by your Mac.

Connecting via USB 3.0 no issue.

Available Connections to your Mac

​Both the Canvio Connect II and the Canvio Basics have a single USB 3.0 Micro B slot on the hard drive itself.

Canvio Basics USB 3.0 Port

Canvio Basics USB 3.0 Port

​The supplied USB cables have USB type A ports at the end that plugs into your Mac and USB B Micro at the end that plugs into the external hard drive.  

USB Plug in of Canvio Connect II

USB A Plug in of Canvio Connect II

What does that matter, you might think?

Connecting the Canvio Connect II or the Canvio Basics to New Macs with Thunderbolt Ports

Due to backwards compatibility, although the USB ports look physically different, with the right USB adaptor cable you can plug the drives right in and your Mac will talk to both Toshibas at the speed they understand.

You will need to get yourself a USB C to USB A adaptor, or a USB cable that is USB C at one end and USB B Micro at the other end. 

They are freely available on Amazon.

And forget the price premium you pay for Thunderbolt standard drives.

​Runner Up
Toshiba Canvio Connect II
Toshiba Canvio Connect II Range Of Colors

​Toshiba Canvio Connect II 3TB

Overall design

​When you compare the two drives they are both a good portable size with a simple straight forward design.

The Canvio Basics as a basic drive only comes in matt black.

The Canvio Connect two is available in black plus red, and blue, the premium range is available in Aluminum all to appeal to a more fashion conscious buyer.

Size and Weight Compared

 You'll note from the table below that the new Canvio Basics is a shade smaller and lighter though I think you would hardly notice the difference between the two.


​Connect II

1TB & 2TB

​Connect II


​Canvio Basics

​1TB, 2TB

​Canvio Basics


​4.3 in by 3.1 in by 0.8 in

4.4 in by 3.2 in by 0.82 in

​4.3 x 3.1 x 0.55 in

​4.7 x 3.1 x 0.83 in


​Connect II

1TB & 2TB

​Connect II


​Canvio Basics

​1TB, 2TB

​Canvio Basics


​​5.8 oz

​8.2 oz

​​5.3 oz

​8.11 oz

Hard Drive Sizes Compared

​How does the Canvio connect II and Canvio Basics compare in terms of hard drive sizes.

​Canvio Connect II

​Canvio Basics

500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 3TB

1TB, 2TB, 3TB

Pretty much identical. The Canvio Basics drive used to come in a 500 GB size - in fact any 500 GB disks you find out there date from the previous iteration of the external hard drive. The Feb 2018 update of the drive saw the smallest drive capacity increased to 1TB. Probably to reflect the fact that we are all storing more these days.

When you are thinking about the amount of capacity you need from an hard drive it pays to look at what you would like to use the external hard drive for.

As a place to store your photos? then look at the amount of space your photos take up both on your Mac and on your iPad and iPhone.

Then add room to grow

If you want the drive as a place to store Time Machine backups then check how much space you are actually using and go for double to give yourself room to grow into the backup drive.

Canvio Connect II vs Canvio Basics Security

​The Canvio Connect II is supplied with NTI software, which allows you to set a password, and data encrypt your files.  Certainly a boon for those travelling with their hard drive, should you loose your drive your data will be safe.

Take note though the password and data encryption is enabled via the NTI software that sits on your Mac.

Should anything happen to your Mac causing a rebuild you will not be able to get to your data without this piece of the software sitting on your Mac.

If the software you need is copied in a backup sitting on the drive and you can't get to the drive because you do not have the software you will be in a right bind.

And users have hit this problem.

I think with Macs it is better to use the software available on a Mac. Disk Utility allows you to encrypt your data and set a password. And as it is part of your Mac OS this means that should you need to rebuild your Mac you will have access to your external hard drive data as long as you have your password.

The Canvio Basics as a basic external hard drive has no provided password protection or encryption.

Although there is nothing stopping you from formatting the drive with Disk Utility and putting on the Mac provided facility to password protect and encrypt your files as I have suggested above.

Toshiba Canvio Connect II YouTube Video

​This fun 15 second promotional video shows off the Canvio Connect II. Have a look.

Toshiba Canvio Connect II Portable Hard Drive

Video Credit: Toshiba USA

Canvio Connect II and Canvio Basics Shock Protection

​Both these hard drives have Toshibas proprietary internal shock sensor along with their ramp loading technology. What does this do?

Both the drives are 2.5 inch form factor mechanical drives and as such are susceptible to bangs and shakes causing drive errors or even the entire hard drive to fail.

This technology gives the drives some protection, though I would still suggest you use the drives on a firm surface and get yourself a protective cover for your hard drive when you are transporting it around with you.

Toshiba Basics YouTube Video

​I found this video I thought you may be interested in. It shows what is in the Toshiba Canvio Basics box when you buy.

Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Portable External Hard Drive

Video Credit: SuperFjordmannen

What do Users Think?

​Both external hard drives have decent percentages of 5 star reviews on Amazon, with the majority of users happy with their purchase of the drives.

It is worth checking them out by visiting the Amazon sales page and scrolling down to the bottom. I've provided the two links for you. You can click on the star review level you would like to take a look at and see what is written.

​What are in the Boxes

​In both boxes you get the respective external hard drives

  • ​A USB 3.0 cable
  • Quick start guide - note no manual, there is only the quick start guide which is brief.
  • The 2 year warranty.

Depending on where you plan to use the drives you may well want to get yourself a longer USB cable as the cable that comes with the drives are about 18 inches long.

Limited Warranties Compared

​Canvio Connect II

​Canvio Basics

​2 Years

​2 Years

Both drives are offered with 2 years limited warranty so from that point of view it doesn't matter which of the drives you choose.

Last Words

I hope you enjoyed my article Toshiba Canvio Connect II vs Basics Which For Mac. Just because the drives come NTFS preformatted there is no reason you can't use these drive on a Mac. Just follow the guides I have on the site and in no time you would have either drive up and running.

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