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WD My Book (Fall 2016) review:

A good (if ho-hum) external hard drive

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The Good The new WD My Book is fast, good-looking and supports a high level of encryption.

The Bad The drive doesn't support USB-C, is a bit slower than its competitors (with a higher price tag) and lacks additional features to have it stand apart.

The Bottom Line Though good-looking, capacious and fast, the WD My Book has no must-have special features.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.2 Overall
  • Setup 8.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 8.0

Is WD's new My Book essentially the desktop version of its My Passport? Pretty much. Measuring 6.7 by 5.5 by 1.9 inches (170.6 by 139.3 by 49mm) the new drive is essentially the larger version of the My Passport, both in psychical size and capacity, delivering up to 8TB of storage (also available in 6TB, 4TB and 3TB). But unlike the portable drive, which is available in six colors, the My Book comes only in black, making it kind of boring.

The new external drive does share some of the same features as its smaller brother however, including support for 256-AES encryption, and the preloaded WD Backup software. Sure, it does what it's supposed to do (backup your data) but is really only useful if you use an older version of Windows. With Windows 10, I'd recommend the native Windows 10 feature, File History for backups, and of course since all Macs have built-in Time Machine, there's little need for any additional backup software there.

CNET USB 3.0 portable drive performance

Seagate Backup Plus Hub
181.3
195.78
WD My Book (Fall 2016)
167.8
167.43
Segate Backup Plus Desktop
150.9
180.45
Seagate Expansion
125.2
127.93
Buffalo MiniStation Extreme
110.3
118.82
ioSafe SoloPro G3
109.1
110.8
LaCie Christofle Sphere
105.5
111.43

Legend:

Write
Read

Note:

Longer bars mean better performance

The My Book doesn't support USB-C. Instead it uses the old Micro-USB 3.0 port and includes a foot-long connection cable. This means it won't work with computers that only have a USB-C port, like the Macbook. The My Book doesn't have extra USB ports to work as a USB hub, a cool feature first introduced by the Seagate Backup Plus Hub. And like all desktop external hard drive, the My Book require an external power adapter to work.

I tested the 8TB version of the drive and via USB 3.0 and it did well, with the sustained copy speed averaging some 170MBps (that's more than 50 percent faster than the My Passport). It's not the fastest, however, trailing behind the recently reviewed Seagate Backup Plus Hub by more than 10MBps. To make matters worse, the new My Book has a more expensive suggested retail price starting at $130 for 3TB all the way up to $300 for 8TB (the 3TB and 8TB capacities of the Seagate Backup Plus Hub can currently be had for just $100 and $230, respectively.) It's safe to say, however, that the street price of the My Book will likely be lower.

Should I get it?

While I like the look of the new WD My Book, I feel it doesn't have enough to justify its comparatively high cost. The drive is a bit slower than its competitor and has no notable features, other than encryption, which is not important for a desktop drive since you won't be carrying it around and likely won't lose it. That said, while you won't be disappointed getting it, I'd recommend the Seagate Backup Plus Hub instead for its faster performance and the included USB Hub feature. But when the street price gets lower, which is likely, the WD My Book will also make a great desktop external storage solution.

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