WD My Book Review

Updated March 31, 2014
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WD My Book
Bottom Line

The WD My Book is a desktop hard drive that offers up to 4 TB of storage for a bargain price. Professional reviewers praise its fast data transfer, easy setup and reliable performance. User reviews are mixed, however, highly positive at some sites, less so at others.

Performance

Fast and quiet. Reviewers consistently agree that the WD My Book reads and writes files quickly. StorageReview.com reports that its transfer speeds were "at the top end of the single-drive desktop storage space": more than 140 Mbps for both reading and writing. The drive also runs quietly due to its fanless design, and reviewers say it doesn't overheat. Both professional and user reviews describe the drive as easy to set up, but they say its software suite isn't terribly easy to use. The Wirecutter notes that it comes with five programs that must be installed and updated separately, and several users at Amazon.com say they ran into problems doing this. However, The Wirecutter points out that you can always use third-party software or just drag and drop files.

ProsLots of capacity for the price, Fast transfer speeds, Easy setupConsMixed reviews for reliability, Some software glitches

Reliability

Strangely mixed reviews. Editors of The Wirecutter award the My Book their "Best External Desktop Hard Drive" title partly because of its good record for reliability. In their analysis of Amazon.com reviews, they found a failure rate of under 5 percent. Another leading drive, by contrast, had a failure rate of nearly 25 percent. We found that reports of drive failures remain rare at Amazon.com, but they are very prevalent at Newegg.com, an electronics retailer. Many of the complaints date from late 2011 and early 2012, so it's possible WD produced a batch of lemons around that time. WD backs the My Book with a three-year warranty, but only if it's purchased through an "authorized" seller.

Value

A lot of drive for the money. No other drive we looked at offers so much storage for this price. As of this writing, you can buy this drive at prices ranging from $100 for 2 TB to $160 for 4 TB. By contrast, the runner-up Buffalo DriveStation DDR costs $140 for 3 TB, the largest size available. The My Book also comes with backup software and a USB 3.0 cable. However, many users complain that the "cloud backup" promised on the box is really just a piece of software that helps you copy files to a free Dropbox account.

Our Sources

1. TheWirecutter.com

The Best External Desktop Hard Drive, Kimber Streams, March 16, 2014

The Wirecutter names the WD My Book as the best external desktop hard drive on the market. In tests of speed and performance, it beats out two other standouts in professional reviews: the Seagate Backup Plus (discontinued) and the ioSafe Solo G3 (Est. $360 for 3 TB).

2. StorageReview.com

WD My Book and My Book for Mac Review, Brian Beeler, Oct. 3, 2013

StorageReview.com awards the WD My Book its rare Editors' Choice title. Brian Beeler likes its design and the included software, and it performs well in his hands-on tests. He concludes that the drive "brings a new look and great drive tools to a market that's flush with less comprehensive offerings."

3. Laptop Magazine

Western Digital My Book (2013) Review, Joe Osborne, Oct. 21, 2013

Osborne names the WD My Book an Editors' Choice, with 4 stars out of 5 overall. It performs well in his hands-on speed tests, and he likes its sleek design, simple setup and handy apps. Overall, he considers it a great value.

4. Amazon.com

WD My Book 4TB USB 3.0 Hard Drive with Security, Local and Cloud Backup, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2014

The WD My Book has more than 300 reviews at Amazon.com, with ratings averaging 4.3 stars out of 5. Owners describe it as fast and quiet, and they say the backup software is easy to use -- when it works. Several reviewers say the software is glitchy and tech support is unhelpful.

5. Newegg.com

WD My Book 3TB Desktop USB 3.0 External Hard Drive Storage, Contributors to Newegg.com, As of April 2014

We found more than 180 reviews for the WD My Book at this electronics retailer, but an overall rating of just 3 stars out of 5. Reliability complaints are much more prevalent here than at Amazon.com, with many complaints of defective drives (particularly in late 2011 and early 2012).