As a professional photographer and a travel blogger, data backup has always been a cause of worry for me, especially when I am out traveling. So when Western Digital sent me 1TB My Passport Wireless drive for review, I was ecstatic to receive it.
Great thing about WD My Passport Wireless is the fact that it is almost the same dimension as a normal 2.5” portable HDD and only slightly heavy and around 2x thicker. Yet, it has a SD card reader and wifi hotspot built in, along with a built in battery to power the drive for around 3-4 hours of continuous usage. Making it ideal for most travelers and even professional photographers, looking for on the move backup solution.
My Passport Wireless can also be used as a media server with DLNA compatible devices and one can also enable access to it over SSH and FTP. And the moment you switch it off and connect it via USB 3 cable to your computer, it works like any other external USB drive.
You can also connect it to your wireless router via Wi-Fi and have it act like a proper NAS, which can be accessed by any device connected to your Wi-Fi network. Furthermore, all devices connected to “My Passport Wireless” can access internet, if the drive is connected to your Wi-Fi router.
I ran a series of benchmarks on the drive, copying files to and from drive, trying to simulate real world usage along with CrystalDiskMark for synthetic benchmark and here are the results:
Auto copy from SD card to HDD: For this test, I enabled auto copy function in “My Passport Wireless Drive” and it took 16 minutes and 50 seconds to copy 13.5GB of RAW files (13.68mb/s average speed) from my Sandisk Extreme Memory Card. While this speed is slower than what I normally get with my USB 2 card reader, it is still acceptable, considering you do not have to monitor file transfer process and neither do you have to keep your phone or computer connected to the drive!
File transfer over Wi-Fi: For this test I connected “My Passport Wireless” over Wi-Fi to my Wi-Fi Router and copied a 14.2GB folder of RAW files from it to my desktop. Copy process took 1 hour 36 minutes and 30 seconds with an average file transfer speed of 2.51mb/s, which is rather slow.
File transfer via USB3: I then powered off “My Passport Wireless” and connected it via a USB3 cable to my desktop. It managed to copy 13.5GB folder containing 600+ RAW images from my SSD to My Passport Wireless in 3 minutes and 54 seconds with an average write speed of 59mb/s. While copying the same folder from My Passport Wireless to SSD took just 2 minutes and 18 seconds i.e. average read speed of 100.17mb/s.
Crystal Disk Mark: Here are the results for Crystal Disk Mark 3 benchmark of “My Passport Wireless” with large file size set to 50mb, in order to stimulate usage of a photographer.
For all the above tests, My Passport Wireless drive was set to performance mode (there is a power saver mode to extend battery life.)
Conclusion: I feel WD My Passport Wireless is a great little product, which is perfect for travelers and professional photographers. While it could have been faster (especially in Wi-Fi transfer speed), it still manages to perform well enough to become a part of my travel kit. Only major let downs in my view is that in order to setup the drive for the first time, you need to install WD My Cloud App on your phone/tablet and you cannot change network settings, while the drive is connected to computer via USB 3. Lack of CF card reader can be a major let down for those using professional cameras with only CF cards and I feel ability to somehow add CF card reader to the drive would have been a great addition.
Nevertheless, it is a great little product and Western Digital is constantly improving it by releasing new firmware updates. v1.03.13 firmware fixes auto import issue, where in auto import function used to take a long time to complete. Hopefully, they will also come out with another firmware update for slow Wi-Fi speed as well.
Pricing and availability: My Passport Wireless 1TB is priced at Rs. 12,000, while the 2TB variant is priced at Rs. 15,500 (both should be cheaper in retail stores) and would be available in India from second week of March.