The Western Digital My Passport Essential line has been around for a while, amassing a large number of positive reviews. While the current Western Digital My Passport Essential SE version sports a USB 3.0 connection, some critics say that the drive could be much faster now that USB transfer rates are less of a bottleneck. On the other hand, many appreciate its small form factor and quiet operation. The included PC and Mac backup software is also given very high marks by nearly all reviewers. Other positives include simple setup, made simpler by the fact that not even an AC adapter is needed. A 750 GB version is also available (*Est. $85). The company also offers the Western Digital My Passport Essential (*Est. $75), which is very similar, but is only offered with a 500 GB capacity. If you have a tighter budget, and don't need quite as much storage capacity, the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-Portable (*Est. $50 for 320 GB) draws lots of admiration from reviewers.
PCMag.com, Macworld and Britain's LegitReviews.com all give recent, thorough reviews of the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE. Amazon.com has lots of user reviews, though some are of different configurations.
"If you have a need for 1 TB of portable storage that's future-proofed, get this drive," writes Joel Santo Domingo of PCMag.com about the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE. He praises the USB 3.0 port's speed,, size and its lack of an external AC adapter. Awarding a solid 4-out-of-5-star rating, he gives the drive an Editors' Choice.
Review: Western Digital My Passport Essential SE, Joel Santo Domingo, April 2011
2. Laptop Magazine
Laptop Magazine praises the software and light weight of the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE. However, John Brandon marks it down substantially because of slow transfer speeds as compared to other USB 3.0 external hard drives and a flimsy-feeling plastic case.
Review: WD My Passport Essential SE 1TB Review, John Brandon, May 2011
Anthony Garland finds a lot to like with the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE, but also finds some noteworthy negatives. The user interface is easy to use, but the software, while solid, is also "rudimentary at best." Drive speed is an issue, but not necessarily a deal killer. "While it is not the fastest USB 3.0 1TB drive I have ever seen, it's also not the slowest," Garland writes.
Review: Western Digital My Passport Essential SE USB 3.0 Drive Review, Anthony Garland, May 2011
This brief but technically packed review gives the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE 1 TB external hard drive a solid 90 percent rating. Real-world performance is praised, as is the included software. Complaints are minimal, but Chris Ramseyer does say that the enclosure is prone to showing scratches.
Review: Western Digital My Passport Essential SE 1 TB USB 3.0 HDD Review, Chris Ramseyer, April 2011
Mauricio Grijalva of Macworld praises the smaller Western Digital My Passport Essential USB 3.0 drive. He likes the size, the speed -- one of the faster drives they've tested, though they use the Mac's USB 2.0 port -- and the software, which made the Windows-formatted external hard drive Mac-ready in a few clicks. He awards 4 out of 5 mice.
Review: WD My Passport Essential 500 GB USB 3.0, Mauricio Grijalva, Aug. 2011
Nathan Kirsch offers an extensive review of the 500 GB Western Digital My Passport Essential USB 3.0 external hard drive, with detailed descriptions and benchmark testing. It's a useful read for portable hard drive users, even if you don't plan to buy this particular device. He finds it affordable, effective and likes the software, though the glossy case shows fingerprints, he notes. He gives the drive a LegitReviews.com Recommended Award.
Review: WD My Passport Essential 500 GB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive Review, Nathan Kirsch, Sept. 2011
Jerry Jackson of NotebookReview.com praises the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE external hard drive for its compact, lightweight design and ease of use. While faster than USB 2.0 drives, it is not the fastest USB 3.0 drive available, he notes. He awards 3.5 out of 5 stars, calling it "a good choice if you're looking for an affordable and portable storage solution."
Review: Western Digital My Passport Essential USB 3.0 Review, Jerry Jackson, March 2011
Amazon.com combines reviews for the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE configurations. So far, the 1 TB and 750 GB versions of the external hard drive in its four available colors garner more than 700 reviews, though some are for previous versions of the drive. The overall score is 4 out of 5 stars, with well over 400 users awarding a perfect 5 of 5 stars.
Review: Western Digital My Passport Essential SE 1 TB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive (Black), Contributors to Amazon.com