WD My Passport portable drive review: Your one-way ticket to storage and style

The Good The new WD My Passport portable drive has lots of storage space, good performance and supports strong encryption. It's available in some vivid color options and comes in an eye-catching design.

The Bad There's no USB-C (so no future-proofing) and the high-capacity versions of the drive are bulky.

The Bottom Line You can carry a lot of data with the new My Passport and the many color options open up new organizational possibilities.

8.0 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8

Each color of the new WD My Passport comes with a color matching USB cable.

Josh Miller/CNET

If you want to store a lot of data, and maybe even use colors to categorize your data, the new My Passport portable drive from WD is for you. The drive has up to 4TB of storage space (also available in 3TB, 2TB and 1TB) and comes in six vivid (mostly) color options: black, yellow, red, white, orange and blue, each with a matching USB cable.

The new drive has a completely new design compared to previous My Passport models. It no longer looks anything like a passport book, taking instead a squarish shape with relatively sharp edges while still managing to look pretty good, in my opinion. One thing to keep in mind is that it's thick, at about the size of a deck of cards, and measuring 0.85 inch by 3.21 inches by 4.33 inches (21.5x81.5x110mm), with the exception of the 1TB version which is thinner at 0.64 inch. However, this physical size is normal for high-capacity portable drives; the 4TB Seagate Backup Plus Fast also shares similars dimensions.

CNET USB 3.0 portable drive performance

Seagate Expansion
G-Tech Gdrive EV ATC
Seagate Backup Plus Slim (summer 2015)
WD My Passport Ultra (spring 2015)
WD My Passport (fall 2016)
WD Elements




Longer bars mean better performance

Like most portable drives, the new My Passport supports USB 3.0. To my disappointment, however, it doesn't use a USB-C port, instead opting for an old Micro-USB 3.0 port. This doesn't affect the drive's performance but does means it won't work with computers that only have USB-C, such as the 12-inch Macbook. To compensate for its lack of vision, the drive supports the most secure 256 EAS encryption -- an optional feature you can turn on using included security software -- to protect your data from prying eyes. There's also a backup software application called WD Backup. While it's fine to use, it's not as convenient as other built-in backup tools like Time Machine (Mac) or File History (Windows 10).

I used the 4GB version for performance tests and got somewhat above-average performance. With a sustained copy speed averaging around 110MB/s via USB 3.0 (the drive also works with a USB 2.0 port but at a significantly lower speed), it's fast enough for almost anything you'd want to do with a portable drive.

Should I get it?

If you're looking for a portable drive with a lot of storage space, the WD My Passport is a solid option, especially with a suggested retail price ranging from $60 to $160 for 1TB to 4TB, respectively. (You can expect the street price to be lower, and pricing for Australia and UK is not available at this time but that directly converts to a starting price of about AU$79 or £49.) If you intend to have multiple drives and use the colors as a way to categorize your data, it's definitely a great choice. For something more portable, however, I'd recommend the WD My Passport Ultra or the Seagate Backup Plus Slim. And if USB-C is a must, the Glyph Blackbox Plus and the G-Tech G-Drive Mobile USB-C are better alternatives.

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