Tech Review: WD Portable HDD

Slightly smaller and slightly heavier than a Moleskin, this little hard drive (Western Digital’s Passport Essential) has been the handiest porta-memory that I’ve ever encountered.

It dawned on me before embarking on my CalArts adventure that I’d somehow have to take all my digital swag  with me. And being that my digital swag is  some 200GB’s, there wasn’t a chance of it all squeezing into my laptop’s memory.

The best solution was clear: to get a portable hard drive that would allow me to transfer so-called digital swag from my home computer to my laptop and back and forth between the school’s servers. After some research, it looked like Western Digital’s Passport Essential series was the most compact when it came to size– and, another major plus: it’s instantly cross-compatible with Mac and PC. (Couldn’t ask for any more, using PC’s at home and Macs in the school labs!)

Drive operation is simple… plug-and-play USB; you’re ready to go as soon as it’s plugged in. It comes with an insta-launch application (PC only); but it’s a hard drive, right? Why mess with anything other than storage space? I’ll admit I haven’t explored the insta-launch application any more than a few clicks, so I can’t give any opinions on the software it comes with.

Drive operation is quick and snappy: I haven’t experienced any crashes, lost/corrupt data or even browsing drags. Playing media straight off the drive (music, movies, pictures) is seamless; the only hiccup is that this does not run at 7200 RPM’s (and it is USB)– so don’t expect lightning-speed thumbnail loading when dealing with your image files.

“Unplugging” the drive is as near to painless as you’ll get for a media device like this (unlike a paltry little thumb drive): Eject it (Mac) or Safely Remove Hardware (PC) and within ten seconds you can unplug it and pack it away.

I’ll also have to brag about the durability of this USB-powered puppy (which, by the way, doesn’t require a separate power cable): Many-a-times have I left it in a case in my bag, only to completely forget about it and stack various books, binders, and sketchbooks on it… and, on a few occasions, have probably dropped it. Now, I reallllly don’t recommend that you go out and play baseball with your hard drives (even if they are in their safety cases)… but the thing keeps happily saving and transferring my files; and it’s next-to-silent, to boot.

Overall… I haven’t found a single downfall to this hard drive (except the fact that the 500’s didn’t exist when I originally set out to purchase mine);  if you’re looking for a user-friendly, fast, portable hard drive… I hiiiiighly reccomend this one! (I’ve already converted several of my friends to Passport Essentialism, and they’ve all found the hard drive really helpful for server/laptop transfers, along with general storage).

2 thoughts on “Tech Review: WD Portable HDD

  1. I Have gotten (2) now of these pieces of shyt!


    Both of my 500G dies about 2 months after i bought them.
    Dead sectors all over the place.. i lost a TON of data!!!!!

    I got a Seagate Now!


  2. Now this is news to me, and certainly a view from the other side of the spectrum.
    I haven’t used a 500, nor have any of my friends that I’ve recommended it to. (Theirs haven’t had any problems at all).
    I use two Seagate drives on my tower computer– they’ve been working without a hitch for probably four years now.
    However, I don’t know how portable Seagate drives do with cross-platform’ing. I read some jazz about formatting woes.
    I’ve heard that Buffalo drives work great cross-platform, and seem to be quite durable.
    Sorry to hear about losing all your data! 🙁

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