Lately you have probably been exposed to at least a few media covering portable hard drives.
The Gadgeteer has reviewed 3 portable external hard drives since the end of October. You might have purchased or received one as a gift for the holidays. They are a great investment as a backup tool or as a way to transport the valuable information stored in our computers.
This review will cover the Western Digital My Passport Essential 320 GB portable external hard drive. I actually received this device as a gift and thought I would share my findings in a product review.
- Capacity: 320GB (Available: 160, 250, 320, 400 & 500 GB)
- Color: Real Red (Available: Midnight Black, Real Red, Intense Blue, Vibrant Pink, Arctic White, Brilliant Orange, Cherry Red, Deep Viola, Raindrop Blue, Super Sunny Yellow & Ultra Mint)
- Interface: USB 2.0
- Powered directly from the USB port
- 128-bit encryption (Windows only)
- Compatible: Windows 2000/XP/Vista and Mac OS X 10.4.11+
- Transfer Rate: 480 Mb/s (Max)
- Physical Dimensions: 0.590” (H) x 4.967” (L) x 3.130” (W)
- Weight: 0.40 lbs.
IN THE BOX:
- Portable hard drive
- USB 2.0 cable
- Quick install guide
To be honest, my initial impression of the drive was the eye-catching color. My drive is the Real Red color, which is extremely vibrant and definitely stands out in a sea of the normal bland grey and black tinted gadgets that I own. Western Digital offers the My Essential drive in eleven colors with the majority being extremely bright.
After I overcome the pleasant blur from the flamboyant color, I refocus on the physical characteristics of the unit. It is small, compact and light. I continue to become amazed at how electronic manufacturers are able to provide consumers large storage options in petite apparatuses. You can easily carry this portable hard drive in a pant or shirt pocket.
The majority of the edges on the drive are rounded. These soft edges and the fact that three of the sides are white instead of red give the illusion of a book or maybe a passport.
Examining the shell of the drive does not uncover much. A small Western Digital logo resides on the lower-right corner of the top and the USB port is just below that on the bottom edge.
Upon concluding my inspection of the unit’s exterior, I connect it to my PC (Windows XP) via the USB cord. My available USB ports are limited so I appreciate the fact that the My Passport Essential only requires one for data transfer and power. The SimpleTech Signature external hard drive I have requires two ports to operate and that drives me nuts.
The unit is immediately detected by my PC and initiates Windows Explorer.
The drive detected, I launch the software and start the initial set-up.
The WD Sync interface is very user-friendly in layout and content. I quickly created a profile and a password.
For those of us who are occasionally forgetful, the developers did us a favor and included a hint to remind us if and when we forget our password.
The WD Sync also includes a section to fill out personal information in case you lose the drive and a good Samaritan finds it, this information is viewable without the use of the password.
The Options section is where you can select what to synchronize between your PC and the Western Digital My Passport Essential drive. You can even go as far as synchronizing your desktop’s wallpaper so it visible when using the WD Sync on another PC.
Using the advanced settings you can drill down and set specific directories or sub-directories and even file extensions to sync.
Set-up complete, it is time to actually use the drive. Using the software, I encountered no issues. In fact, it was very easy and the interface is informative in displaying the status of the migration of data.
In terms of performance, the Western Digital My Passport Essential drive delivers average read and write speed. In comparison to the Toshiba Portable External Hard Drive that I reviewed months ago, the transfer rate difference was so small it would not be something to separate one from the other.
In conclusion, I really like the Western Digital My Passport Essential drive. The sleek and compact shell with its bright and colorful options is eye-catching and is a great way to let your gadgets express your individuality.
The software is user friendly and includes options like password protection, lost and found personal information and the ability to specify specifics such as file extensions, directories and sub-directories. The added ability to sync email account information, internet browser favorites and even your desktop wallpaper serve as icing on the cake.
Comparing the external hard drive options available on the market in terms of capacity to price, other options might seem more appealing to consumers.
I definitely think the Western Digital My Passport Essential 320 GB external hard drive is a great option if you are looking to expand your PC’s memory capacity or extend your mobility.