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Western Digital My Passport

Est. $90 for 1 TB
Reviewed
June 2013
by ConsumerSearch
Western Digital My Passport Essential SE

Portable external hard drive

Pros
  • Smaller, lighter than other portable drives
  • USB 3.0 interface
  • Good reliability
Cons
  • Not as fast as some USB 3.0 drives
  • Glossy case shows fingerprints
  • Windows-only backup software

Bottom Line

The Western Digital My Passport isn't the fastest USB 3.0 external hard drive available, but it offers reasonably speedy data transfers, considering its price. Like all mechanical hard drives, hardware failure is not unheard of, though user complaints regarding that are a bit lower than with some competing hard drives. The included software utilities are solid but not exceptional, and backup software is for Windows only (fortunately, the drive also works fine with Apple's Time Machine software). In addition to 1 TB, versions that can hold 500 GB (Est. $70), 750 GB (Est. $80) or 2 TB (Est. $150) of data are available.

Performance

Simple to use. Reviewers say that the Western Digital My Passport external hard drive is a solid performer, though some grouse that its USB 3.0 transfer speeds could be faster. Reviewers who test the 2 TB version find USB 3.0 performance a bit better. The bundled SmartWare software is basic but includes the necessary utilities: backup, hardware-based encryption for security and sleep timer. It's Windows only, but Mac users say that Apple's Time Machine works well with the drive. Connectivity is USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. It's Windows-ready out of the box, but it can be formatted for use with a Mac.

Reliability

An above-average track record. Every mechanical hard drive is susceptible to drive failure, and the Western Digital My Passport external hard drive is no exception. Still, user reports indicate fewer issues with the My Passport than with many competing drives. Western Digital provides a two-year limited warranty. As you'd expect from a top-rated portable backup drive, the My Passport is compact and lightweight, making it easy to take with you from place to place. While it's simple in its aesthetics, it's a bit more stylish than previous My Passport editions. Some users report that this external hard drive is a fingerprint magnet, however.

Value

Tons of portable storage for a reasonable price. The Western Digital My Passport external hard drive offers 1 TB of storage -- plenty to backup most personal libraries full of music files and photos -- for a about $100. Several other capacities are offered -- from 500 GB to 2 TB -- to accommodate those with different storage needs and/or different budgets. User reviews at Amazon.com are particularly enamored of the 2 TB configuration, which sells for around $150. We saw quite a few user comments at Amazon.com lauding the 2 TB My Passport as a best buy external hard drive with this capacity.

Where To Buy
WD My Passport 1TB Portable External Hard Drive Storage USB 3.0 Black

 (1,580 reviews)
Buy new: $84.99 $67.99   64 Used & new from $61.19

In Stock.

 
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Our Sources

1. CNET

CNET editor Dong Ngo reviews the Western Digital My Passport, calling it an "excellent portable drive." He says performance is fast and the drive is "good-looking," but he is disappointed that the included SmartWare software doesn't allow you to backup on a schedule. Analysis here includes hands-on testing and speaks heavily to design and features. The My Passport earns an Editors' Choice award from CNET.

Review: WD My Passport Portable, Dong Ngo, March 29, 2012

2. PC World

Jon L. Jacobi reviews the 2 TB version of the Western Digital My Passport, and he finds it to have "plenty of capacity" and "top-notch" performance. He writes that "while it's neither the smallest nor the sexiest drive… the My Passport is arguably the best all-around product." The review is part of a larger roundup where five portable drives are compared and tested; the My Passport wins "top performer" status among them.

Review: Review: Western Digital My Passport (2 TB), Jon L. Jacobi, Oct. 31, 2012

3. HardwareZone.com

The Western Digital My Passport competes in a shootout with similar portable external hard drives. While the My Passport doesn't win any editors' nods, Kenny Yeo declares that the My Passport is "one of the fastest drives" and a "good option." Hands-on testing is done, and models are rated by specific categories: performance, features, design, value and price.

Review: Western Digital My Passport 1 TB, Kenny Yeo, Jan. 31, 2013

4. Amazon.com

The Western Digital My Passport receives thousands of customer reviews on Amazon.com. Here, the drive earns an overall score of 4.4 stars out of 5, and most owners seem pleased. There are some complaints, however, including some that report drive failure -- a hazard with all hard drives. Some also take issue with Western Digital's customer service, though most seem reasonably pleased with their resolution to warranty matters.

Review: WD Digital My Passport 1 TB Portable External Hard Drive, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2013

5. NewEgg.com

Hundreds of Newegg.com users weigh in on the Western Digital My Passport, and the drive earns a respectable rating of 4 stars out of 5. A few complaints involve the occasional drive failure as well as random hardware defects. One user who had a hardware defect posted Western Digital's response to the complaint, suggesting that they provide reasonable customer service.

Review: WD Digital My Passport 2 TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive, Contributors to Newegg.com, As of June 2013

6. Wired

The Western Digital My Passports earns Wired.com editors' recommendation for best portable external hard drive. They praise the drive for its reasonable price, compact size and speeds that are "fast enough for everyday use." The write-up itself is brief compared to other professional reviews of external hard drives, however. Still, the recommendation is clear.

Review: Western Digital My Passport , Editors of Wired.com, October 2012

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