Toshiba 640GB Portable Hard Drive Review

Update: This giveaway is now closed and timtim is the winner. Thank you for entering, and please keep an eye out for future Gear Diary giveaways! :-)

I was sent a Toshiba 640GB Portable Hard Drive in “Rocket Red” to review, but since this one will also be given away, I was hesitant to use and abuse it like I might a memory device I would be keeping. Therefore, in return for this micro-review, you get a chance to win a pocket-size time capsule just waiting to be filled with your important documents and digital memories.

Measuring approximately 5″ long x 3″ wide x 0.6″ thick, this Toshiba drive has no buttons and only one port – a mini USB located on the left side. Included in the box is a 12″ long USB cable, and a warranty booklet in nine languages.

Setup is simple – just plug the mini USB into the drive and connect to your computer and wait for the blue LED on the bottom left to indicate that the drive is engaged.

I was annoyed at first that I had to carry a separate cable to make the hard drive work, as opposed to one that was built into the device, but this honestly makes more sense – – cables can fail, and if the cable is built into the hard drive, it will not be easily replaceable. Sure, it’s one more thing to carry, but the cable is small enough not to be too obnoxious.


  • USB powered for easy plug and play operation
  • Small footprint for space-saving and easy portability
  • Easy-to-use Windows and Mac backup software
  • Password-protected data encryption
  • File & Folder backup and recovery
  • Drive Space Alert
  • Complete system backup and recovery (Windows only)
  • Internal shock sensor and ramp loading technology help protect your drive and data
  • Preloaded backup software provides an easy-to-use interface to make your backups effortless


  • Interface: USB 2.0 with up to 480Mb/s transfer rate
  • Rotational Speed: Up to 5400RPM
  • Average Seek Time: 12ms
  • Cache Buffer: 8MB
  • Preloaded software: NTI® Backup Now EZ™ for PC; NTI® Shadow™ 4 for Mac
  • Dimensions & Weight: 3.2” W x 5.0” D x 0.65” H; 6 oz
  • System requirements: Windows 72, Windows XP, Vista , Mac OS 10.4 or later; one USB 2.0 port
  • In the box: One Toshiba Portable External Hard Drive, USB 2.0 Cable and Quick Install Guide
  • Three-year limited warranty

I use a Mac, so my obvious choice for using this hard drive would be to simply plug it in and then select it for use with Time Machine, but there is also a registered copy of Shadow 4 included for those who would like to try something new. Windows users can select the NTI Backup Now EZ option; those using 7 will want to download the compatibility patch. When you first plug-in the hard drive, it will sense what type system you are using and (assuming you are on a MAc), it will ask if you would like the hard drive to be formatted for Mac only or so that it can also be read by Windows PCs; I suggest you select the latter, as every time I have set a hard drive up for Mac only, I’ve later needed to connect it to a Windows box for something. 😛

The Toshiba 640GB Portable Hard Drive in “Rocket Red” is available from Toshiba Direct and other retailers.

MSRP: $129.99, but it can be found for less than $90

What I Like: A huge amount of memory in a portable hard drive

What Needs Improvement: Having to use an external cable does mean one more thing to carry — but it also means if the cable fails it can be replaced

How To Win:

Leave a comment telling me the size of your largest external backup solution (portable or desktop) and a rough guess of what you paid for it. I will choose one random winner at Midnight, Monday March 15. I’ll email the winner and also post an announcement on Tuesday the 16th, so keep an eye out …

I’ll ship anywhere in the world, so good luck to all who enter! :-)

Categories: Reviews

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75 replies

  1. My largest external backup solution right now is a 1TB Seagate drive, and I’m using CMS Products BounceBack Ultimate to sync it in real-time with my internal drive. Price? It was a prize I won.

  2. Portable? I removed a 40Gb laptop drive and put it in a cheap USB converter. Desktop? Just bougth an 500Gb WD hard drive after the old seagate that was on the LACIE external drive failed and lost everything in there :(

  3. Largest external backup right now – Crashplan. I don’t know if that counts or not, but it does save my data off site and not on my computer. To me, it’s worth the $55 or so per year. If I had an external drive, I’d probably pair it with Crashplan – backups to that drive AND offsite. That way I don’t lose everything if our house burns or the drive dies, or whatever.

    Outside of that, I think my largest is an external 4GB USB Flash drive.

  4. Have a 1 TB Simple desktop drive. Portable is only 8GB thumbdrives so this could be a handy solution.

  5. I have two 500 GB drives – a generic brand external 3.5″ drive that iirc I paid $250 for, and a a Western Digital passport 500GB drive that I paid $125 for. I also have a Mozy subscription which is essentially infinity GB and costs $4.95 x however many months I use the service.

  6. Thanks for offering this giveaway! My husband and I share a 2TB Western Digital desktop drive over our home network for the Time Machine back-ups for both of our Macs. We paid around $200 for it.

  7. My backup solution of choice is a 160GB WD Hard Drive. I bought it four years ago for about $160, which seemed like a good deal at the time. Unlike your Toshiba giveaway HDD, mine uses AC power adapter, which makes it hard to use on-the-go.

  8. My largest external drive is 160gb drive through a USB caddy. I paid $90 for it few yrs ago. As you can see, I need more storage as she canna take it captain!

  9. One 500GB Logitec (not Logitech). Acquired for the princely sum of around $100. But not by me.

  10. My current solution is an old 160GB drive in an external enclosure. All together new prices for the 2 parts was about $250… give or take.

  11. I’m using a 1TB Western Digital Free Agent right now for backups. I think it was about $120 over at Staples a year or two ago. The Toshiba would be perfect for backing up my laptop on the go. Thank you for the chance to enter this giveaway!

  12. I don’t have an external backup solution yet, unless you count copying important files to flash drives. My largest flash drive is 2 GB, which I got for around $10.

  13. mine is a Verbatim external 500gb drive and I think it was around £50 uk pounds, had to get it to back up laptop

  14. my largest external backup solution is a windows home server (hp ex485) with 3.75TB of space (four total hard drives, 3 1TB and the original 750GB). total cost for the server + extra hard drives was around $750.

  15. My largest external backup is a 160 GB hard drive from an elderly neighbor’s defunct PC that he let me have after I restored his old files to his new computer. I use that drive in conjunction with a USB cable to my computer to backup data on my home PC.

  16. My current backup disk for my iMac is a 1GB Lacie d2 Quadra. I think I paid $200 Canadian for it. Love the speed of the FW800, but would also like something a bit more portable.

  17. The only backup I have is a collection of 3 Kingston 2GB thumbdrives, and all I have backed up on those is my photo collection. I can no longer remember what I paid for them.

  18. 500 GB Time Capsule for $269.00 to back up 4 macs… pretty much full
    USB flash drive for misc stuff

  19. 500gb for about $125.

  20. 300GB WD My Book. Paid about $100 for it a few years ago.

  21. My largest external backup is a 3,5 Inch 1TB WDC drive in a China product external enclosure HDD case. I paid both for US$125.

  22. My largest external backup is my Windows Home Server with a 1TB drive, a 640GB drive, a 250GB drive, and a 500GB USB-attached drive. Cost? Don’t remember. But I could use this drive to carry with me to use with my laptop. Cost for that? Free, if I win.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  23. I have a SimpleTech SimpleDrive 160GB for about $100 3 years ago. I really need to backup my data. My hard drive died once, power supply died once, and had a couple of viruses that wipe out my data.

  24. Sony 2GB flash drive. $25. (and a bunch of others) No joke. I have no external HD and could really use one !

  25. I have a WD 160 GB hard drive– it was pretty expensive at the time. If I had to guess, I’d say I spent $150 on it.

    We could really use another one in my house…

    Thanks again for this awesome contest!

  26. My biggest drive is a Toshiba 320 GB drive that I got for $69. Thanks for the opportunity to win an even bigger one!

  27. I won a 500 GB ioSafe (It’s not safe unless its ioSafe), that is the only external HD I have. Its bigger than my internal HD!

  28. I’ve got like a 350GB external drive hooked up by USB, and when I bought it (on sale, a few years back), it was like $130.

  29. I have 500 GB 3.5″ external hard drive. i purchased it on around $120 2 years back.

  30. I dont believe in buying branded hard drives. The reason being if they fail I have to go to the company to get my data back and these services charge an arm and leg. I have 3 – 3.5″ hard drives with capacity of 100Gb, 200Gb, and 400GB(Maxtor- $200, Maxtor $120 and Western Digital $120). These were bought a year apart and the cost seem to stay the same with the capacity increasing :)

    I bought external drive casing of ebay and use these hard drives for backup. If i win the Toshiba it will be my first branded external hard drive and I would love to send you a review of the same(though it wont be as good as the gear diary team :) ).

    Thanks for the contest and the great reviews.

    P.S. – I live in India and envy you guys as you get the best tech first then the rest of the world.

    P.S.2- You however dont get Nokia Phones. We get them first :)

  31. My back-up is a 120GB WD. I paid $87 for it in March of 2008.

  32. 500GB external WD… Think I paid around $100 for it.

  33. I currently use a 1Tb Seagate drive which cost about $169 – $30 = $139 bought from Costco. It also has non-builtin USB wire which I like for the same reason you mention. Also makes it a little easier to port and not worry about fraying of wire.

  34. My BackUp Solution is a 250GB WD MyPassport @ around 80$..

  35. 250 GB Maxtor, Approx $120

  36. I have a 500Gb seagate that I paid about $100 a few years ago.

  37. I have a Drobo with 4 1TB Drives in it. About 2 1/2 TB of it is usable, the rest is for redundancy. Sadly I never actually do a full backup, sometimes I copy documents/media there, but I need a better “whole backup” solution.

  38. Oh it was about 1800, about 3 years ago I think.

  39. My current “solution” is a WD Passport 250GB portable external drive. I bought it for appx. $90 about a year ago. Seeing as how storage prices drop by half per GB every year, I guess it makes sense that the drive being reviewed now offers a little more than double the storage that I got for my money.

    I am looking for a larger capacity drive now anyway, so this would certainly be great. The 250GB that at one point seemed enough is in danger of running out soon. With full image backups for the four laptops in the house, plus all the media being stored on that single drive (personal and commercial), it only has some 30 to 40 GB left. Now that I have a Zune (not HD, but old flash one), that’ll be done in six months max. I leave the drive plugged in a lot, because Windows 7’s libraries make it a seamless experience. But, I’m also afraid of what would happen if that drive failed.

  40. Currently, a 500GB 3.5″ Hitachi HDD is the largest capacity drive externally (vs 1TB drives internally), sitting in an enclosure purchased from Newegg. $50 for the drive plus $20 for the case makes it a $70 purchase, a great deal at the time two years ago. It’s completely full, though, so an upgrade is in order.

  41. Hi I currently Use a WD Passport 320GB Ext HDD and I also archive my important stuff on DVD-R!! I spent about $100 on the WD Passport!

  42. I dont have any external memory, except memory cards and flash drives no bigger then 4GB and not costing more than $20

  43. My largest external drive is a 250GB Western Digital MyBook, bought years ago. I vaguely remember it costing a little bit shy of $200, perhaps $175 (or was it between $100 and $75?).

  44. My largestback upsolution is 120GB. It’s a portable one similar to the one you’re giving away. I think I paid over $100 for 120GB a few years ago.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  45. I have a 1TB NAS WD MyBook World Edition II. I have used it for off loading and backups to my desktop and laptops. however, it has problems with locking out rewrite abilities for folders which keeps them from being available to all my devices. Not a lot of fun. A new portable devvice would be awesome!

  46. A few years back, I spent $200 for a 250GB external hard drive to use for back-up of all our family computers. At this point, it is full just partially backing up one PC, let alone all of them – blame video for that!

    This doesn’t really count, but several years back, I dropped $120 for a 512MB SD card for my PocketPC, so that I could carry additional apps and files, as well as back up my PocketPC. Doesn’t really count here, but still – $120 bucks for 512MB! Same card (if you can find one that small today) is now what – about $3?

  47. I currently have a portable external 80GB Fujitsu hard drive. I found it unopened in a box in my brother’s closet and he let me have it for free.

  48. The largest external drive I have is a Seagate 300 GB USB hard drive that has both FireWire and USB ports. It is not one of these nifty portable drives, however. I bought the drive a few years ago and I think I paid around $175 for it, which was around $50 off the retail price. Anyway, it’s so easy to run out of hard disk space so I could really use this drive, but I’m hardly the only one who has that problem… 😀

    And thanks for having this contest, it’s very kind to just give it up to a random person.

  49. I currently use a 70 GB external hard-drive. A monster of a device, it probably will crash any day now and I’m pretty sure I paid around ~ $200 for it.

    Thanks Judie

  50. 500gb external drive, I paid about 200-300 dollars for it i think. But those prices are already a year old.

  51. I have a WD 1 TB USB external for backing up 3 systems for me and the family, which doesn’t (yet) include my netbook.

  52. Oops, that 1TB drive ran about $129 from

  53. My largest is a 1TB HD in a beautiful ICY DOCK enclosure. $135. Should have been less, but I’m so hopeless when it comes to mail-in rebates.

  54. That’s easy. I bought a Hitachi 1TB external drive from Office Max on Thursday for $79.99 + tax ($89.99 on sale and I had a $10 off $20 or more coupon).

    Best deal…I got a WD 1TB Elements external drive on Black Friday from Target for $59.99.

  55. I have a seagate 500GB portable harddrive. I think that I paid about $100 for this several years ago.

  56. Currently I don’t own any external hard drive but by internal is a 40gb for a Compaq Presario laptop I bought 5 years ago.

  57. I have about 5 TB of external backup consisting mainly of external USB drives. These drives range from 300GB up to 1TB each. Estimated cost is about $1000+?

  58. I have no external storage, unless you count stacks of DVD-Rs and flash drives (capacity from 1GB to 8GB). I’m not a good geek, obviously.

  59. here goes..fingers crossed..I have a red SimpleTech 320GB and am a wee desparate for a new one as my friends puppy chewed on one side…the SimpleTech is still working…after being cleaned off…..I paid approximately 90USD for it with taxes..about 8 months ago….but think I need to replace it so was surfing for recommendations but it has and still does serve me well..MA

  60. 320GB WD Portable. Gift from a friend :)

  61. 80g passport for about $120 that was several years ago but still works well after spilling beer on it.

  62. I’ve never owned an External hard drive, the biggest sized USB Flash drive I’ve owned is an HP 8 Gb, cost me about 30$

  63. My largest is a Western Digital 1TB,(notebook size hard drive) paid 179.00 at Best Buy. My Father in Law needs one for his computer at his church as he has NO backup at the moment…

  64. My largest backup solution is an external USB drive that has 300GB capacity. I paid roughly $200 for this a while back. I could sure use something bigger in capacity and sure hope I win the 640GB.

  65. My largest external backup I have is a $50 16GB Sandisk flash drive that I had to pickup to transfer some of the photos of my triplets to so I have room on my camera to take more. I plan on geting something like this but have been putting it off until I have time to research them.

  66. At work I have two 1 terrabyte drives, but at home I’ve got nothing!

  67. My largest backup size is 149 GB.. (dekstop).. But i really want to win a 600 GB Portable HardDrive


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