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WD My Passport series (Spring 2012) review: WD My Passport series (Spring 2012)

WD My Passport series (Spring 2012)

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Dong Ngo
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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.

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According to Seagate, a new recording technology is required for 2.5-inch hard drives to offer 2TB of storage space. WD's latest 2TB My Passport drive proves otherwise. Nonetheless, the new drive has likely reached the final frontier in terms of storage space for the current perpendicular recording technology.

wd-my-passport-wdbbep7500asl-hard-drive-750-gb-external-portable-usb-3-0-silver.jpg
8.3

WD My Passport series (Spring 2012)

The Good

The USB 3.0-based <b>WD My Passport Portable</b> offers top capacity and fast performance in a compact, good-looking, and sturdy package. It also comes with useful software, and it's relatively affordable.

The Bad

The My Passport's included backup software doesn't allow you to back up on a schedule.

The Bottom Line

The WD My Passport Portable makes an excellent portable drive for use with both desktop and laptop computers, at home or while on the road.

Despite the top capacity, the new My Passport is as compact as any other portable drive in the My Passport family, even more compact than some, and is bus-powered, meaning you only need one cable for both data and power. At a street price of around $200 for 2TB, the drive is a great deal.

If you're looking for a portable drive for backup or storage expansion purposes, both at home or while on the go, the new My Passport makes an excellent choice. If you want something more flexible or rugged, also consider the Seagate GoFlex Ultraportable or the Silicon Power Armor A80.

Drive type 2.5-inch external USB hard drive
Connector options USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Available capacities 500GB, 750GB, 1TB, 2TB
Capacity of test unit 2TB
Dimensions (LWH) 5 inches by 3.3 inches by 0.7 inch
Weight 0.5 pound
OSes supported Windows 2000 or later, Mac OS 10.4 or later
Software included WD Utility, WD Security, WD Backup
Service and support 2-year warranty

Design and features
Judging by how it looks, you wouldn't think that the new My Passport offers the top capacity of the current recording technology. The drive is very compact; in fact it's 0.2 inch shorter than the 1TB version of the WD My Passport Studio.

The drive has one Micro-USB 3.0 port and comes with a standard 1.5-foot USB cable, which is used for both power and data. It works with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. I tried the drive with multiple computers, and all of the USB ports were able to power the drive. It has rubber feet on the bottom to help it stay put on any surface.

There's nothing to setting up the My Passport when used with a Windows computer. The drive is preformatted in NTFS; all you need to do is plug it into a computer and it's ready to be used. If you want to use it with a Mac, you'll need to reformat it into HFS+ before you can write to it. The drive is preloaded with WD Utilities and WD Security for both OS X and Windows. The former is for monitoring the drive's condition, reformatting it, and so on, and with the latter you can turn the drive's security features on or off. Note that once the security feature is turned on, if you forget the password, there's no way you can access the data on it.

For Windows, the My Passport also comes with WD Backup, 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. Unfortunately, the backup software doesn't include a scheduler; however, you can set it to work automatically when the computer is idle.

Performance
The WD My Passport Portable, though not the fastest, offered very fast performance in my testing.

When used with USB 3.0, it scored 83MBps for writing and 101MBps for reading, which is above average among USB 3.0-based external hard drives. When used with USB 2.0, which is still the most popular peripheral connection type, the drive's performance, as expected, was lowered to 28MBps and 33MBps for writing and reading, respectively. These speeds were about average among all USB 2.0-based drives tested.

The My Passport worked very quietly in my testing and produced almost no vibration thanks to the rubber feet.

External hard drive USB 3.0 performance scores (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
LaCie Minimus USB 3.0
104.9 
87.7 
Clickfree C6
103.4 
87.7 
LaCie FastKey
115.5 
87.1 
WD My Passport (March 2012)
100.59 
82.7 
Seagate GoFlex Slim
101.9 
82.4 
IoSafe SoloPro
106 
77.1 
HP Portable Hard Drive
83.65 
69.4 

External hard drive USB 2.0 performance scores (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
LaCie FastKey
36.6 
28.8 
IoSafe SoloPro
36.6 
28.7 
LaCie Minimus USB 3.0
36.5 
28.7 
Clickfree C6
33.1 
28.7 
Clickfree C2N
40.1 
28.2 
WD My Passport (March 2012)
33.01 
27.8 
Seagate GoFlex Slim
37.3 
27.7 

Service and support
Western Digital backs the new My Passport with a two-year warranty. This is rather disappointing, as with external hard drives, the warranty is the most important factor when it comes to service and support. The company's technical toll-free phone support is available from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT Monday through Thursday, and from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT Friday through Sunday. At its Web site, you'll find a comprehensive set of support tools, including downloads, product RMA, a sizable knowledge base, and an online installation guide.

Conclusion
Good-looking, sturdy, and offering top capacities and great performance, the new My Passport makes an excellent investment for anyone, especially people who need a quick and easy backup product to use at home or while travelling.

wd-my-passport-wdbbep7500asl-hard-drive-750-gb-external-portable-usb-3-0-silver.jpg
8.3

WD My Passport series (Spring 2012)

Score Breakdown

Design 9Features 9Performance 8Support 6
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