WD My Passport Slim review: An excellent portable storage device

In addition to WD Drive Utilities (Windows and Mac), the Slim comes with the WD SmartWare backup program (Windows-only), as well as WD Security (Windows and Mac).

Though it doesn't have to be installed for the drive to work, the bundled software package is useful. WD Drive Utilities contains utilities that enable you to check on the drive's status, test its functionality, or reformat it. WD Security lets you secure the drive's content with a password using the drive's 256-bit hardware encryption. This is very strong encryption, so make sure you remember the password, or your data won't be accessible at all.

Backing up data is a very easy and intuitive job with WD SmartWare. You can choose to back up folders and files, or set it to automatically back up important data, which is very useful for those who aren't as computer-savvy. With the Ultra, WD SmartWare now supports backing up to Dropbox's online service (you do need to have a Dropbox account of your own). In all, the backup software works very well. One thing it doesn't do, however, is back up the entire system as an image for system recovery in case the hard drive fails, or when you want to upgrade your computer to a new internal drive.

WD Drive Utilities offers a handful of useful tools for managing your portable drive.
WD Drive Utilities offer a handful of useful tools for managing your portable drive. Dong Ngo/CNET

Performance
I tested the 1TB version of the My Passport Slim and while it wasn't the fastest USB portable drive, it was more than fast enough for most uses. And for now it's the champion when used with USB 2.0.

CNET Labs USB 2.0 external hard drive performance (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read
Write

With USB 3.0, which is recommended, the drive scored a sustained copy speed of 108MBps for both writing and reading, faster than most USB 3.0 drives, and among the top five on the charts. When used with USB 2.0, the drive did much better with 31MBps for writing and 40MBps for reading, topping the charts on both counts.

CNET Labs external hard drive USB 3.0 performance (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read
Write

The drive worked very quietly and remained cool even during heavy loads.

Conclusion
Though not as thin as the name suggests, the My Passport Slim is indeed one of the most compact portable drives on the market. That and its great performance, valuable bundled software, and friendly pricing make it an excellent buy for anyone needing a quick way to carry a lot of data or perform backups on the go.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Sep. 5, 2013
  • Hard Drive Type external hard drive
  • Capacity 1 TB