WD My Passport Elite 500GB

Desktop users who need a portable drive will find the My Passport Elite endearing, although the dock could stand to be a little more user friendly.


7.9
CNET Rating
5.5
User Rating


Design

There's only so much you can do with a pocket-sized hard drive, beyond making it pocket sized in the first place. Western Digital's pretty much tried every design trick possible by now, and to look at it by itself, the My Passport Elite isn't much different. Our 500GB review sample was bright red, but it's also available in blue or black. Or if you like marketing speak, the My Passport Elite comes in "Anodized Red", "Anodized Blue" or "Charcoal Metallic" colours. As we said, Red, Blue or Black.

Where Western Digital applies the "elite" moniker is in a few key differentiating features. For a start, the drive itself has a small LED light that runs up one side indicating available capacity. It's a very simple trick, and one that even Western Digital's pulled out before in other external hard drive lines, but we're still somewhat impressed with it from a pure "here's some happy lights to show off your cool tech" kind of way.

The My Passport Elite also comes with a dedicated desktop dock. It's not that fancy to look at, but it does make it a more pleasant drive to use for desktop users, as you can safely install it to a rear-mounted USB port on your PC and not have to worry about freeing up ports or scrabbling around under desks to plug and unplug USB cables.

Features

Western Digital sells the My Passport Elite in five different size variants according to the Western Digital website, although only three different sizes are being offered to the Australian marketplace — 320GB (AU$149.99), 500GB (AU$199.99) and 640GB (AU$239.99) according to the official local press release.

The My Passport Elite comes with Western Digital's SmartWare software solution which it also offers on other drives such as the My Passport Essential SE. SmartWare is one part backup, one part data encryption and one part data display software. Once installed and running it scans the drives attached to your system and gives you a visual interface broken down by file types. This gives you an at-a-glance view of how much space your pictures, music, movies and documents are taking up, and how much space on the drive you're already using.

Performance

Western Digital's SmartWare suite won't appeal to everybody, and if you've already got a backup solution in mind it's not going to appeal per se. Still, as included backup suites go, SmartWare is smart enough to do its thing and get out of the way while still being clear and obvious enough for users to configure it and retrieve files when needed. It's one of those universal truths that nobody has enough backups, so any extras are well worth doing.

We're a bit split on whether the My Passport Elite's dock is a good thing or not. You're not tied into using it — a USB cable is provided for direct connection — and while it's useful, it also has a rather snug fit. This makes really quickly docking the drive a tad on the fiddly side. It's not so hard to remove the drive, but if you needed to quickly and accurately place the drive in the dock, you basically can't.

As with other USB 2.0 connected drives, there's only so fast you can pump out data, and while you'll lose some portability in the bargain speed freaks may still do better with a pricier FireWire or eSATA connected drive. We managed an average read/write speed of 35.3/26.9MB/s copying a single large video file, and a slightly slower 26.06/19.6MB/s with a folder of files.



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James
9
Rating
 

James posted a review   

The Good:Sleek design, Quite fast

The Bad:Scratches easily

Great all round very portable hard drive. The only downside is the glossy finish scratches easily.

 

Nicky posted a comment   

CAN SOME ONE PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO USE THE DOCK ON THE 320G .
ITS HARD TOO USE !
PLEASE CAN SOMEONE ASSIST ME .

hfzmu
2
Rating
 

hfzmu posted a review   

The Good:fast transfers

The Bad:slight nudges will disconnect the entire device.

This is the worse ever hard disk created by WD. Slight touches will disconnect the entire drive. Also, right now the computer I am using does not recognise it at all. Terrible. Terrible....

 

AUSSIE posted a comment   

The Good:LOOKS : SIZE(EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL) : SPEED

The Bad:NOTHING MUCH EXCEPT THE DOCK

I am the CEO of a small electrical company which tests computer appliances this product is greta its fast,portable and sleek.The Downside is that there is a dock which i think is unnecasary.All over a great Hard Drive

 

Eric posted a comment   

I learned "My Passport 320G" in a hard way. Guys, be aware:

This is USB 2.0 compatible only.

If your PC has older USB port, it does NOt work.

WD service group will ask for $13 to send you a compatible USB 1.1 cable.

This HD uses their own 5-pin mini USB plug, conventional mini plug is NOT accepting.

 

jlv632 posted a comment   

The Good:The Dock and size

The Bad:Came with only one dock, has Micro (not mini) USB connection and formatted to NTFS

I love the (Seagate stolen) idea of a dock, don’t know why, but it complements the Hard drive in my opinion. However, i need a second dock for home as the included one sits on my work PC.
The Smartware isn’t my ideal back up plan as I have about 3 My Books for back up but yeah. I don’t get why anyone would want to back up a Desktop 3.5 inch drive on a 2.5 inch passport. Seems kinda stupid but nevertheless, it can sit their dormant.
However, the drive came shipped formatted to NTFS which considering that both the Xbox and PS3 don’t recognise video on this type of formation, (and seriously who could fill a 500GB drive without using video .avi files) I was left scratching my head. However, I partitioned it so I have one FAT32 disk and a NTFS disk. All is good and yeah, I highly recommend it.




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User Reviews / Comments  WD My Passport Elite 500GB

  • James

    James

    Rating9

    "Great all round very portable hard drive. The only downside is the glossy finish scratches easily."

  • Nicky

    Nicky

    "CAN SOME ONE PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO USE THE DOCK ON THE 320G .
    ITS HARD TOO USE !
    PLEASE CAN SOMEONE ASSIST ME ."

  • hfzmu

    hfzmu

    Rating2

    "This is the worse ever hard disk created by WD. Slight touches will disconnect the entire drive. Also, right now the computer I am using does not recognise it at all. Terrible. Terrible...."

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