Toshiba Canvio AeroCast 1TB

Toshiba blends a 1TB hard drive with a wireless access point

Both Seagate and Western Digital have released wireless external drives in the past year, and now it’s Toshiba’s turn with the Canvio AeroCast.

This sticks firmly to the same model we’ve seen previously, where you need an installed app to access any contents from mobile devices. Technically you can attach the drive as a mountable drive on the PC, but isn’t an obvious location, and a web interface might have been much more helpful.

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In this initial AeroCast design, you get 1TB of hard drive storage and an SD card slot so you can easily transfer your camera images on to there for wireless distribution.

It supports six simultaneous users, and the on-board battery is rated to give you five hours of use before it needs a recharge.

Where the concept falls down is in the information it provides the user – that being practically nothing out of the box. You get a very small booklet, in which the two pages allocated to English include just four lines of text explaining how to set up the device by downloading the iOS or Android app.

Toshiba doesn’t even give you the wireless password – a truly head slapping moment. This information I eventually found, along with the full manual on Toshiba’s EU support website, but it’s hardly an exercise in user friendliness.

The mobile applications comes with no instructions, although eventually I was able to track down some American videos on YouTube that Toshiba created that help explain some of how it all works.

The important knowledge it included is that it’s possible to set up the AeroCast to work in bridge mode, allowing a mobile device to access the stored files and the internet simultaneously. And the AeroCast can also be used to stream directly to a Google Chromecast, should you also own one of those.

But the problems I had getting all this to work, like Toshiba suggested it should, were major. I loaded the drive using USB 3.0 on my PC and then expected all that content to be easily viewable on my Nexus 10 tablet. Not even the pre-loaded sample images appeared, disappointingly.

It transpired that the Toshiba Android app doesn’t like the latest release of Android, Lollipop, because it did magically work on my KitKat-based Moto G LTE phone.

Those hurdles overcome, the AeroCast does what it promises, though most users might give up long before they got success.

What the AeroCast does have on its side is price, because it’s much cheaper than the Western Digital My Passport Wireless 1 ТВ and even undercuts the Seagate Wireless Plus 1TB.

If you can battle though the information void and have compatible devices, then this could well be the ideal travelling companion for long holidays, because you can bring plenty of content along and share it easily with everyone in your party.

Toshiba just needs to better explain out of the box how to use the AeroCast, and also a web interface for the PC side would also help. Mark Pickavance

A wireless capable hard drive for the technically minded user.

• Capacity: 1 ТВ
• Wireless LAN standard: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n compatible with WEPA/VPAA/VPA2 security
• Battery life: Up to five hours
• SD card slot: Yes. Auto-transfer to drive.
• USB connection: USB 3.0
• Mac NTFS compatibility driver: Tuxera NTFS driver for Mac
• Dimensions: 124 mm x 86 mm x 20 mm
• Weight: ca. 260 g

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