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The Western Digital My Passport portable hard drive provides up to 4TB of storage in a well-designed body. WD offers a suite of software tools to manage the drive as well, and a modern USB 3.0 connection that lets the drive operate at its full potential, which in this case is about 110 MB/s read and write. Perhaps the best feature though is since the My Passport uses a 2.5″ hard drive, the unit is Bus-powered, so no external power source is required. Comparable options that reach the 4TB capacity point are either based on much larger 3.5″ hard drives that need supplemental power or are comprised of two smaller portable hard drives used in tandem. While this particular external drive has no intention of breaking any speed records, it does offer a near perfect solution for travellers on the go who need to transport lots of data in a small device
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WD 4TB My Passport Black Ultra Portable External Hard Drive – USB 3.0
Because the 4TB drive housed inside is 15mm thick, the WD 4TB My Passport isn’t as thin as many lower-capacity units, measuring 0.85 inches from top to bottom. It’s approximately 4.25 inches long, 3.1 inches wide, and weighs around 8 ounces. My Passport is also available in $60 1TB, $80 2TB, and $100 3TB capacities, with the 1TB version being about 0.2 inches thinner and 2 ounces lighter. All models come with a three-year warranty.
My Passport HDD also ships in a variety of hues, starting with the black of our test drive and moving on to brighter white, red, orange, blue, and yellow. That’s six in all: one for every weekday, plus another for the weekend. Lest you consider that remark flippant, note that some backups are rotated by days of the week, and a little colour-coding never hurt anyone. WD informed us that the colours are simply to entice buyers, however.
WD has added even more consumer bait by beveling a stylish wavy texture into the half of the drive that’s home to the powered micro-B USB port and power indicator. The waves also provide a better grip on the smooth, glossy plastic. After the colour-coding response, we didn’t ask whether tactile grip was the reason, but it does have that effect.
WD doesn’t provide anything fancy like LaCie’s dual FAT/NTFS or HFS+ partitioning utility, but you can use the Windows or OS X (or Linux) system utilities for that. WD does provide backup software; a drive utility that will check the status and secure-erase the drive; as well as encryption software for dealing with sensitive data. This is a very nice software bundle considering that WD 4TB My Passport is essentially the company’s entry-level USB drive.
We started off the review with a mild warning about the My Passport 4TB’s tepid performance with large files, and indeed it falls about 10MBps short of average. But it’s also better than average at writing large batches of smaller files and folders, as you can see in the chart below.
Okay, the WD My Passport isn’t the Seagate Backup Plus Fast, or the Samsung T5, which are what you want if you need to copy a fair amount of stuff quickly and be on your way. But it offers what most people want: fast performance with small files and copies plus a budget-friendly price.