WD My Passport Essential SE 1TB

Western Digital's 1TB Passport drive isn't pretty or cheap, but its bland look belies the storage and backup goodies within.

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Pocket hard drives are by their nature not the most design heavy of creatures. They need to be small — to fit the pocket designation — and they need to contain hard drives. We've seen a few interesting designs built around tiny lights in drives, or interesting case colours.

And then there's the Passport Essential SE. It's black, or at least our review sample was. Black and almost entirely visual feature free in a rather 2001 monolith style. A single micro-USB connector on one end and a very subtle WD logo are the only adornments on its glossy black plastic case. Being glossy black plastic, fingerprints quickly show up on it, as do any scratches or knocks. To a certain extent, with a design this basic you really won't care, as they'll give the drive character if nothing else.


The fancy visuals aren't the point with a portable hard drive, though. The point is having lots of tasty storage to hand whenever you want or need it. Western Digital sells the My Passport Essential SE in 750GB and 1TB sizes. Our review sample was the very tasty 1TB variant. You do pay quite a bit for a 1TB portable drive in this size though, as the sweet spot for cheap deals at the time of writing continues to be in the 320/500GB sizes.

The My Passport Essential SE comes with Western Digital's SmartWare software solution, which is one part backup, one part data encryption and one part data display software. On our test Windows 7 system it didn't install immediately, but once up 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 My Passport Essential SE you're already using.


Western Digital's so-called SmartWare does for the most part live up to its name. Backup is one of those dry topics that tends to make people yawn a lot whenever you mention it. Chances are, you're yawning as you read this. In any case, anything that makes backup easier to manage has to be a good thing, and SmartWare's solution is nicely hands off and for the most part pretty quick too. There's no in-built data redundancy on the drive, so if it does die it'll take the data with it, but any backup is almost infinitely better than no backup at all.

From a straight file copy read/write speed viewpoint, the obvious bottleneck in the My Passport Essential SE is the use of USB 2.0 rather than eSATA, which might match a 1TB-sized drive a little better. We managed an average of 32.6MB/s read and 29.1MB/s write speeds with single large files on the My Passport Essential SE, which is fair but not great for a USB hard drive. Switching over to a folder of files saw read/write speeds dip slightly to 28.3/20.9MB/s, which is still within what expect from a USB 2.0 connected drive.

A 1TB small external drive at the time of writing carries with it a certain price penalty. You could almost certainly score a couple of 500GB drives for less than the asking price of the My Passport Essential SE if physical carrying constraints weren't a factor. That price should drop over time, however, making the My Passport Essential SE a more compelling buy.

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Chang HyeonR posted a comment   

I am looking for 'WD My passport Essential SE 1TB x 20 units' urgently.

The product should be made in USA or Malaysia or Singapore(one of these country)

If anyone know I can buy this product, please let me know.

E-mail : abyssryu@hanmail.net


"Look further, look longer, look harder before you buy."

noel2u2 posted a review   

The Good:Looks

The Bad:Detection and failure to read.

I have a WD essentials 500gb extrenal backup drive that is also externally powered. It works great. However, I have experienced problems of detection with USB powered WD and Seagate external drives. The detection problem got so bad, I would not buy another. Seagate recommend that the USB power must not drop below 500 mA.. so you may do better if you add externally powered USB hub that will give more than 500 mA. The USB 500mA is the reason why you can't use a Seagate or WD external drive as an extra drive for a PS3. In earlier days of computing, people used to have disk write failures with their cd/DVD burners, and it was caused by power drop because of smaller power supplies. WD are very very sensitive to movement/jarring and read head problems. Seagate also has similar problems. A external 12V powered USB drive is better with detection and I have never had one play up. although USB powered is handy, play it safe, by a 12V external powered device that is not WD or Seagate.

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AbhishekB posted a review   

thank you guys i was upto buys this today but thank god i thought of waiting for 2 more day before i buy hdd



rajan14 posted a comment   

The Good:Are you kiddin me?

The Bad:The Product is itself

My only aim is to beware other users about this product...
My 1TB external 3.0 Hard drive was ok for about 2-3 months after which it wont detect and needed data recovery software to access and retrieve them.

I got it promptly replaced and took out the shiny ebony sleek hard drive and WOAHAAA... that brand new thing wont even register on the lappy anywhere... its not in the device manager and neither in My Comp.

You can get several dejected and angry customer for this product.. So take their word...

Happy Shopping...


missnell posted a review   

Terrible terrible terrible. I'd not even used it for 3 months and it wont even register on the computer now. I contacted WD support. they told me i could send it to them.....in Singapore! Super slow, and while i would love to have it fixed, im not really confident that if i send it, i'll even get it back.


houer posted a review   

The Good:none

The Bad:everything

terrible HD


nerd posted a review   

The Good:small

The Bad:terrible speed & reliability

i've used three of these WD rives, the 500Gb is awesome, but both the other 1TB were terrible!!
one died in 2 days, whilst another was so slow out of the box i returned it for the one that died, which i then returned & bought 2 500Gb passports!

overall WD is a good company, BUT the TB 2" are poorly made & another example of a company not caring about it's product!

The Black Rooster

The Black Rooster posted a review   

The Good:Portable

The Bad:Slow installation

This product is rubbish. Loaded it on to my computer (took hours)but it finally installed. Next day the software dissappeared from my computer . Rang WD customer support on 3 occassions who could not assist. Was finally advised to uninstall and reinstall which was unsuccessful. I was then advised I would need to be sent to level 2 support and too ring back between 9 am and 1 pm Sydney time tomorrow (being Friday) to be connected to the US. Rang back at 12 noon (Friday) and was told to ring back between 8 and 10 am the following Tuesday!!!?? WTF. In my case buying a back up devise was because by old backup had failed. I needed it to work today not next week. Result - returned it to the retailer for a refund.


Annoyed posted a review   

I completely abhorred the slow write speed, but thought, 'hey,it's 1 TB which is great', so i was very slightly satisfied with my purchase.

HOWEVER, not even 24 hours before I'd purchased the drive, all my backed up files got corrupted! Before trying to recover my files however, I contacted WD Tech Support and was instructed to download a "Data Life" diagnostic tester, which WD claimed would reconstruct my files and allow me to recover them. Needless to say, their program failed to perform and I used a different recovery program.

I've had to spend 15 hours recovering the files, and even then quite a bit has been lost.

I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THIS HARD-DRIVE!! going back to the seller for a refund right now...


matsgone posted a review   

I have been using a WD 1Tb My passport for a short time(+-6 months). Now, it just died on me. I went to WD website to find if there was anything I could do to fix it. It seems there is nothing to do. It also appears that a tremendous amount of people are having problems with WD products. It is almost scary and makes me wonder why most reviews were giving it a really high grade.

I am no computer wizz but I tell you one thing, I will now buy something else than WD.

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User Reviews / Comments  WD My Passport Essential SE 1TB

  • Chang HyeonR

    Chang HyeonR

    "I am looking for 'WD My passport Essential SE 1TB x 20 units' urgently.

    The product should be made in USA or Malaysia or Singapore(one of these country)

    If anyone know I c..."

  • noel2u2



    "I have a WD essentials 500gb extrenal backup drive that is also externally powered. It works great. However, I have experienced problems of detection with USB powered WD and Seagate external drive..."

  • AbhishekB



    "thank you guys i was upto buys this today but thank god i thought of waiting for 2 more day before i buy hdd"

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