WD My Book Duo review: Fast, versatile, and affordable

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.1
  • Setup and ease of use: 8.0
  • Features: 9.0
  • Performance: 8.0
  • Service and support: 6.0
Review Date:

The Good The WD My Book Duo has plenty of storage space, fast performance, hardware RAID, and a built-in two-port USB 3.0 hub. The external storage device is also affordable, and allows you to easily replace its internal hard drives.

The Bad It has a short two-year warranty.

The Bottom Line The WD My Book Duo is a fast, versatile, and secure way to add lots of storage space to your desktop computer without digging a hole in your pocket.

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There's much to like about the new WD My Book Duo desktop external storage device.

For one, it's the first desktop external drive I've seen that comes with a built-in USB hub with two USB 3.0 ports. It also has hardware RAID, you can replace its internal hard drives easily, and it has a lot of storage. Finally, it delivers fast performance, especially when working in RAID 0, and it all comes at the affordable street price of just $280 (£250 in the UK), $350 (£315), $450 (£420), and $700 for 4TB, 6TB, 8TB and 12TB, respectively. (Australian pricing was not available at time of writing.)

If you can live with the short two-year warranty, the WD My Book Duo is an excellent USB 3.0 external storage device for your desktop computer, be it a Windows or a Mac. For other options, check out this list of top desktop external hard drives on the market.

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The WD My Book Duo comes with two WD Red hard drives on the inside. Dong Ngo/CNET

Smart design with built-in USB hub

Taking the shape of a a closed book that's standing up, the WD My Book Duo is similar to the WD Thunderbolt Duo though with a few major differences. On the outside it uses USB 3.0 instead of Thunderbolt. And on the inside, it houses two WD Red internal hard drives instead of WD Green hard drives.

(The WD Red drive is made mainly for NAS servers, and has been one of the most reliable internal hard drives on the market. I personally use a lot of them and haven't had any failure to date.)

You can replace the two hard drives easily thanks to the lid on top that pops up with just a push -- no tool is required. WD recommends that you use the WD Red, but the My Book Duo supports any standard SATA hard drives.

Drive type Desktop external USB RAID storage system
Connector options USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Available capacities 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, 12TB
Capacity of test unit 8TB
Dimensions (LWH) 6.2 x 6.5 x 3.9 - inches (9.9 x 9.9 x 16.5 cm)
Weight 5.1 lbs (2.2kg)
OSes supported Windows XP or later, Mac OS 10.4 or later
Software included WD SmartWare Pro (Windows), Acronis True Image (Windows), WD Drive Utilities (Windows / Mac), WD Security (Windows / Mac)

On its back, the My Book Duo has one micro-USB 3.0 B-female port for connecting host computer via the included foot-long USB cable. In addition, it also has two USB 3.0 A-female ports, which you can use to connect an additional two USB devices to the host computer. That's a great design feature since the My Book Duo actually adds two more USB ports instead of taking one away. I tried the two extra ports with a few portable drives and they provided enough juice to power all of them.

The My Book Duo shares the power status with the host computer. That means that it automatically puts itself in the same state as the computer, be it shutdown, sleep, or on. Most Thunderbolt devices have that feature, which is much better than the drive going to sleep on its own. Also, with this smart design, the My Book Duo is always available to the host and saves energy based on how you customize the energy-saving feature on your computer.

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The new storage device adds two extra USB 3.0 port to the host computer. Dong Ngo/CNET

Versatile RAID, helpful software

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date May 15, 2013