Portable hard drives are getting smaller and smaller in physical size, yet larger and larger in capacity — both properties are a very good thing. Western Digital's latest "My Passport Elite" is a simple faux-metallic plastic box, with a high gloss black edge. At one side is the USB 2.0 connector port, and next to it four white LEDs that rotate to designate that the drive is being accessed, and represent the amount of free space left when it is not.
The lights are a good idea, and inherited from Western Digital's larger external hard drive range — however, we found that they were on the wrong side of the unit, our tendency being to face the cable end away from the user.
A generous five-year warranty is included with the product, as is a good wad of software including WDSync (a folder/e-mail/bookmarks synchronisation tool); WD Anywhere Backup (based on Memeo technology); a diagnostic tool; and a Drive Manager Status tool, which reports capacity and temperature from your system tray. There's a great thicket of unneeded software as well, including a MioNet trial (allowing remote access to your computer's files/desktop/webcam), Google's Picasa, Desktop search and Toolbar, and Adobe Reader. Mac users are less endowed with just WDSync and WD Anywhere Backup, but we consider this a positive.
The My Passport Elite was suitably quiet, and in HDTach scored an average read speed of 33.3MBps, a burst speed of 35.3MBps and random access speed of 17.1ms, while SiSoft's Sandra recorded an average write speed of 24.01MBps. Although the positioning of the access/capacity lights is questionable, for the warranty, price and capacity this thing is a screamer.
The My PassPort Elite is available in "Titanium" and "Bronze" colours, and a 250GB capacity drive is also available for AU$199.