My problem with external storage devices is that I’m always worried that I’ll break them. Since I chuck them into backpacks and carry them around with me a lot, the chances of me dropping one are a lot higher than a hard disk that’s mounted in a desktop PC for example.
So, while I love the idea of being able to carry all my stuff around with me, I am not a fan of breaking that hard disk and losing all my data.
And this is where Western Digital’s My Passport external SSDs come into play. They come packed with one of my favourite features ever — shock resistance. Fingers of butter, meet your match.
Before we proceed, I think you should know that this isn’t going to be a super technical review, so, if you’re looking for that, you’re in the wrong place. Instead, it’s going to be a practical one, one where I tell you what’s good and what isn’t good based on daily activities.
We’ll start with the MyPassport SSD’s most obvious trait — its build and size. The first thing you’ll notice when you pick it up is how absolutely tiny it is. It’s almost like a pair of Kit Kats stuck together. Then, you’ll notice how light this thing is. It’s so light that the beefy cable it comes bundled with is even heavier than the drive itself. And finally, you’ll notice the way it looks — which I’d describe as “sleek” without being ostentatious. Definitely a good looking device.
One of the headline features that I was most excited about was the SSD’s durability. According to WD, the MyPassport SSD can withstand drops of up to 1.98m and also 1500G of force. It also has 256-bit AES Hardware Encryption with WD Security software. What that meant to my eyes was that I could be as carefree as I wanted with it and that was exactly what I did.
Without going into too much detail, I basically beat it up and tossed it around like I do with almost all my stuff. So far, everything is still working a-okay. When I’m in an event, I really can’t afford to baby the gear I bring with me. I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in a tech conference or launch event before, but if you want to get the best coverage, the whole event can get pretty hectic.
Knowing that this tiny storage device is about as hardy as I am (actually, I don’t even think I could survive drops of up to 1.98m) definitely gives me a peace of mind that I don’t get with the traditional mechanical hard disks that I’m used to using. This reassurance is really refreshing especially when you live in a world where tech gadgets get more fragile by the minute.
[nextpage title=”But is it fast?”]
Being durable is only part of the story. Since it’s an SSD, it is also a lot faster than your conventional spinning hard disk drives. This particular model is quoted to be able to reach speeds of up to 515MB/s over a USB 3.1 gen 2 (10Gb/s) port. This is comparable with Samsung’s T-series SSDs so you should be getting a similar experience. However, there was one small problem.
I’ll be honest, I searched everywhere for a device with a USB 3.1 gen 2 port, but I simply couldn’t find one. I dug through every machine in my office and even at home but none of them had one of these elusive ports. Maybe that’s why the CrystalDiskMark scores are below WD’s quoted speeds, but I can’t really say for sure.
What I can say for sure, though, is that throughout my review period, everything was speedy and smooth. I edited videos off the SSD, used to to back up and transfer over 170GB of files from my laptop and the little SSD chugged through all of them no problem. Speeds were definitely much, much faster than on a conventional mechanical hard disk.
I also liked the MyPassport SSD’s robust USB Type-C cable. Its this chunky beefy thing that, although isn’t braided, does a lot to inspire confidence. I have mine coiled tight to reduce the space the SSD takes up on my desk and so far I don’t see any signs of bending or damage. I also like that WD includes a full size USB Type-A adapter with the SSD so you can just pop it on or off depending on your needs. It is a tiny little thing, though, so you might want to be careful if you don’t want to lose it.
My review unit here is the variant with 256GB of storage but WD also offers this drive in 512GB and 1TB configurations. This model will run you RM565 while the 512GB and 1TB variants are going for RM999 and RM2,019 respectively.
You might be thinking that that’s a lot of money, and you’re right, it is. But, if you compare it to something like the Samsung T3 portable SSD, it’s about the same price. This is just the kind of price you have to pay if you want a top notch portable SSD.
Before this review, I’ve never had a portable SSD before, mostly because I didn’t see how it could be worth the massive premium over a normal mechanical hard disk. For the kind of money I would have to pay for the WD MyPassport portable SSD, I could easily get a mechanical drive with 4X the storage for half the price.
But that’s the thing with SSDs, whether it’s in your desktop or in a portable form factor like this: Once you actually start using it, you realise that it’s almost always worth it. In my case, I love the speed, I love the portability and most of all I love the peace of mind it gives me with its durability rating.
Is it for you? Well, that really depends on your budget and your workload. But if you ever find yourself needing a portable SSD, you really can’t go wrong with the WD MyPassport portable SSD.