Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

WD My Passport Edge review: Solid USB 3.0 hard drive for mobile users

Thanks to its new design, the WD My Passport Edge is a very good companion for mobile novice users who need a quick way to back up their data.

Dong Ngo

Dong Ngo

SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

See full bio
4 min read

The WD My Passport Edge isn't exactly thin enough to cut anything, but it's indeed noticeably thinner and more compact than most other portable drives on the market, and it's also very good-looking.

WD My Passport Edge

WD My Passport Edge

The Good

The <b>WD My Passport Edge</b> is compact, and offers fast USB 3.0 performance as well as useful software.

The Bad

The My Passport Edge is comparatively more expensive than other drives of the same capacity.

The Bottom Line

Thanks to its compact physical size and bundled software, the WD My Passport Edge is a very good companion for mobile users.

The new portable drive is based on an ultrathin internal drive, and currently comes with just one capacity of 500GB. Supporting USB 3.0 (USB 2.0-compatible), the Edge offered fast performance in my testing and didn't get hot at all, despite its compact size.

The new My Passport Edge isn't the thinnest portable drive on the market; the Seagate GoFlex Slim is about 0.15 inch thinner. For this reason, at the current street price of $110, the new Edge doesn't really edge out the Slim, which costs just $80 and offers the same storage space.

Personally, however, I prefer the included software that WD has for the My Passport. If you're looking for a cool way to back things up and keep data secure while on the go, the WD My Passport Edge still makes for a very decent investment.

Drive type 2.5-inch external USB hard drive
Connector options USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Available capacities 500GB,
Capacity of test unit 500GB
Dimensions (LWH) 4.34 inches by 3.21 inches by 0.5 inch
Weight 9 ounces
OSes supported Windows 2000 or later, Mac OS 10.4 or later
Software included WD SmartWare (WD Utility, WD Security, WD Backup)

Design and features
At first sight, the My Passport Edge is very different from previous models in the My Passport lineup, such as the My Passport Portable, or the My Passport Studio.The Edge is significantly thinner than more compact. Other than that, however, it's very similar to other WD My Passport drives.

The new Edge comes with a Micro-USB 3.0 port on one side and includes a standard foot-long USB cable. This is the only cable you need; it handles both power and data functions. Using bus power is now a standard feature for most if not all portable USB drives. The Edge supports USB 3.0 and should be used with computers that also support this standard for best performance, but it also works with USB 2.0 ports. I tried the drive with multiple computers, and all of the USB ports were able to power the drive. Similar to other My Passport drives, the Edge has four tiny rubber feet on the bottom to help it stay put on any surface.

WD Backup is very useful backup software for novice users.
WD Backup is very useful backup software for novice users. Dong Ngo

The My Passport Edge is designed for Windows (there's a Mac version called, cleverly enough, My Passport Edge for Mac) and in terms of setting it up, there's nothing to it. Out of the box the drive is preformatted using the NTFS file system; when plugged into a computer with the included USB cable, it's up and running. Of course, like all other external drives, you can always reformat the Edge into HFS+ to use it with Macs.

The drive contains the WD SmartWare suite, which includes WD Drive Utility, WD Security, and WD Backup applications; I found these very useful. WD Drive Utility is a set of utilities that helps check on the drive's status, or test its functionality; WD Security lets you secure the drive's content with a password; and WD Backup is a handy backup program.

WD Backup actually makes making backing up data a very easy and intuitive job. You can choose to back up folders and files, or it can automatically back up important data, which is very useful for those who aren't as computer-savvy. The only complaint I have about it is that it doesn't 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.

The My Passport Edge performed well for a drive of its size. I tested both with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 and in both cases, it wasn't the fastest, nor was it the slowest, either. Overall it's right about average.

When used with USB 3.0, it scored 83MBps for writing, which is slightly faster than the GoFlex Slim, which reached 82MBps. In the read test, however, it registered 98MBps, slightly slower than the Slim. When used with USB 2.0, the drive averaged 25MBps and 33MBps for writing and reading, respectively.

The My Passport Edge worked very quietly in my testing and produced no vibration and almost no heat at all.

USB 3.0 external hard drive performance (in MB per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
IoSafe Solo G3
Seagate Backup Plus
Lexar JumpDrive Triton
LaCie Minimus USB 3.0
Clickfree C6
LaCie FastKey
WD My Passport Edge
Seagate GoFlex Slim
ioSafe SoloPro
HP Portable Hard Drive
LaCie RuggedKey

USB 2.0 external hard drive performance (in MB per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Clickfree C2N
Seagate GoFlex Slim
LaCie FastKey
LaCie Minimus USB 3.0
LaCie Rugged Key
Lexar JumpDrive Triton
Clickfree C6
Seagate Backup Plus
WD My Passport Edge
Seagate Satellite

Good-looking, sturdy, and very compact, the new WD My Passport Edge is a very good portable storage and backup solution for novice users.

WD My Passport Edge

WD My Passport Edge

Score Breakdown

Setup 8Features 8Performance 7Support 8
Shopping laptop image
Get the best price on everything
Shop your favorite products and we’ll find the best deal with a single click. Designed to make shopping easier.
Add CNET Shopping