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Review: WD MyPassport Wireless 2TB

Western-Digital-LogoAs you all know, Western Digital is the storage manufacturer
of my choice when it comes to reliability and innovation. No
other hard drive manufacturer has given me the safe feeling
about my data in the past.

Time to check on their newest drive.

Now Wireless storage isn’t something new. Emtec (uses a Seagate Harddrive), Toshiba, Seagate… they all did it in the past. But 2TB wasn’t offered yet. None of them! So Western Digital does someting astounding here.

Is it possible, to add a battery, a 15mm drive into a snuggly fitting case and even with an SD card-reader? It sure is! The answer is called “Western Digital MyPassport Wireless 2TB” – pretty long name, eh? Sure isn’t that catchy but it describes well the task this drive does.

Like all other competitors, there’s some tech specs in advance:

USB3.0, Wireless a/b/g/n 2.4GHz, 2TB capacity, 5400rpm HDD, 3400mAh, 6 hours continuous data Serving, FTP support

So what can you expect from this drive then?

Let’s have a look at the transfer speeds via USB3.0 – Western Digital puts a slimline USB3 cable into your box for convenience. Not the usual unflexible thick rounded cable that can drive you nuts when placing your drive somewhere.

Attached to my computer and using Crystal Disk Benchmark I was able to get these speeds

Seq Read: 108 MB/s
Seq. Write: 76 MB/s
4K Blocks: 8.9 MB/s
64K Queue: 21 MB/s

Average, yet appealing. You get what you pay for. Sure there are portable hard disks that reach far better transfer speeds but what the hey, we speak of a complete standalone drive that also serves as WLAN accesspoint here.

Okay, what about transfer speeds of the WLAN?

Take note that the single antenna design of the a/b/g/n chip only allows for 150 Mbit/s maximum. So expect transfer speeds of roughly 10 MB/s at best (with the overhead being considered).

The App interface (I use the iOS version) is clear and gives (mostly) no questions. Although someone might miss the possibility to use almost all files stored on the drive, you’ll have the most important files to back up and read from here. Photos, Music and videos (mp3, m4a, mp4, png and jpeg are the most common ones on Android and iOS).

Transfer speeds are as expected, so did a 300 MB video use about half a minute to transfer onto the Wireless MyPassport. so there is the 10 MB/s we expected just earlier.

The other fact is that you don’t see a progress bar showing you the current transfer status. You only see the finished transfers appearing on the folder view. maybe Western Digital will give their App an overhaul and spend a progress window so you know what your device is up to when transferring files to or from the Wireless MyPassport.

What I like, is the detailed status window about your Wireless MyPassport, giving you the exact percentage of your battery capacity. So you’ll be able to roughly estimate if your transfers may be forked over before the drive shuts down. An LED also shows the battery capacity using 4 colors: Blue: 100-75% capacity, Green: 75-50% Capacity, Yellow: 50-25% Capacity, Red: 25-0%. 4 steps and maybe not as accurate but the competitors don’t do better here. So no blaming of WD here because in their App they give you the more accurate info then!

If you believe, your files aren’t safe&sound on the Wireless MyPassport, then you’ll have the possibility to connect to a cloud service to have the Wireless MyPassport forking the files into your personal cloud drive as well. (I wouldn’t transfer all my private pics onto a cloud storage but still cool that WD offers that feature). Also FTP transfer is supported, if you wish to upload media onto your own FTP server. The other competitors don’t offer this feature (yet).

The setup process is like all other competitors offer. Yet Western Digital outperforms them again offering you the type of wireless encryption used for the connection. Choose between WEP, WPA-PSK2 and WPA-TKIP! I’d rather not use WEP as it is insecure and might allow others to access your data in no time. Better use the more common WPA-PSK2 method as it is secure. TKIP is also an option but you’d better know what you’re dealing with!

I haven’t had the time to check on the media server capabilities yet. But from what I’ve read so far, you cannot use Media streaming and backup feature the same time (most likely due to the bandwidth limitations that apply to the 1-antenna-design). But good to know that you might share your media with your friends. The Wireless MyPassport can handle 8 devices at most but for streaming FHD media, the WLAN server of it might come into trouble when already serving two devices simultaneously. But hey, other competitors either give up totally streaming FHD media or the simply don’t offer it.

Okay, enough tech babbling now. Let’s go to the Packaging.

In your package you’ll find an AC adaptor that has US plug integrated but when you set the plugs back into the adapter, you can attach a plug plate fitting UK outlets or EU-2pin-outllets easily. With 2.1A output, the USB port delivers enough power to charge your Wireless MyPassport quickly. My first charge cycle took about 3 hours.

A quick setup fold and a USB3.0 slim size cable allows for quick file filling via USB. 2 Terabytes would take veeeeery long with USB2.0!

And last but not least: The drive itself. It is clunky but hey, we gotta have to fit a 15mm drive AND a battery into the enclosure. By the way: Did I mention that WD popped in an SD dummy to protect the SD slot? Nifty but yet essential. Not all manufacturers offer this cent-piece of plastic for basic protection of the delicate electronics inside but WD has done it’s homework! The size is 29.8mmX127mmX86mm (1TB: 24.6mm, 500GB 21.4mm Height)

With a weight of roughly 480g the drive’s kinda heavy but still considered portable. Could be worse, you know!

And the price?

Well, the 2TB model is purchased for roughly 225CHF here in Switzerland, other prices may apply to US and EU. the other models are 189 and 159CHF respectively. Not cheap but also not too expensive considered what you get for the buck.


Quality of hardware ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Quality of Software ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Speed Wireless ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Speed USB ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Handling/Setup ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Overall ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Final verdict:

The quality of the drive is excellent. The drive enclosure is well-crafted and resistant to fingerprints. The grip is good so you won’t face a drive drop if you carefully handle it. The quality of the App (software) is good but some kinks should be yet ironed out to reach a full five stars here. The speed of the wireless module is maxed out so it gains a full five stars for what it supports. An ac standard and 5GHz would be great but still seems not to match with flexibility and battery run time. When connected to USB, the speeds are good but not top line. Other drives perform a tad faster but yet we can say that the data is forked over fast enough. So four stars here! The setup is quite good. Other competitors are sometimes not that good and the app interface allows to configure most of the setup items easily. A step-by-step-guide would round up the package to gain a full fiver here but yet it’s good!

All in all you get quite a nice personal cloud drive for your buck. If you’re not expecting a power user device to use other file formats than the given ones by your mobile device, the App would suffice. Power users may still transport their files with no problem.

During my 70 minutes review time, the battery capacity dropped from 100% to 80 % which underlines the 6h runtime stated by Western Digital. Nice!

If you don’t have a file companion yet, this drive might be of your choice.

P.S.: Pictures will follow later on!

May 29, 2015 Netspark - 1594 posts - Member since: May 9th, 2011 No Comments »

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