Review: WD My Passport for Mac-The WD My Passport for Mac is a portable drive with a storage capacity of 2TB, 4TB or 5TB. Enough space to store all your important files. We have tested it.
Making backups is important, everyone is aware of that. But it must be so easy that you actually do it. Perhaps a portable drive like Western Digital’s My Passport can help. Previously, I used a NAS and an external drive to back up my work and home Mac. But that didn’t always work and after I clicked away the message “No backup for x days” for the umpteenth time, it was time for a better solution. Something you can connect directly to your Mac that doesn’t require the hassle of wireless connections and connecting to a device three floors away.
A portable disk can then be useful. That can be a portable SSD or – if you want to spend a little less – a portable miniature hard disk such as the My Passport.
My Passport design
The My Passport is slightly larger than a deck of cards and available in multiple colors. I have the dark blue variant, which is black on the back. The first thing I noticed is that the disc is very light. The aforementioned Samsung is even smaller, but it is heavier because the housing is made of metal. Western Digital has opted for plastic. The 1TB-2TB copies weigh 120 grams and if you choose 4TB-5TB it is 210 grams.
You get two cables: USB-C and USB-A. Both have a special connection, so you have to be careful not to lose these cables. Another point of attention is that it is a hard drive and they are usually more vulnerable than an SSD. Western Digital gives a 3-year warranty on it. In terms of build quality, I don’t think you need the warranty as the case feels sturdy and can survive many trips in your bag too. But of course you have to be more careful with it and not just tear the disk loose during a backup operation. On the website, WD recommends that you do not move My Passport during use and that you handle it with care.
My Passport in use
The My Passport drives are suitable for Time Machine backups, exactly the application I wanted to use them for. The manufacturer also promises that it works right out of the box. That turned out to be no empty promise: I plugged in the drive, selected the WD My Passport as the Time Machine location, and then just had to wait for the backup to complete. Speed is of course also a thing with such a disc. This product works with USB 3.0, 2.0, 1.0 and Gen 1 Superspeed USB.
You can of course also just use it as a storage disk and drag files to it. If you want, you can use 256-bit AES hardware encryption to encrypt your files. You then need a password to access your files. When making a Time Machine backup you can of course also set it to be encrypted. And that makes sense with a disc that you can easily lose.
Also included is software called WD Discovery. It allows you to connect to social media such as Facebook and cloud storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox. That way you can exchange files effortlessly. I didn’t do that, because I’m only going to use the My Passport for backups.
My Passport benchmark test
We ran a disk speed test with the macOS app Blackmagicdesign Disk Speed Test, which looks at how fast large video files can be written and read. We have opted for the setting where a 5GB video file is written and then read again. You can see the results of this test in the screenshot below.
This disc is not really suitable for large video files. The writing speed is far too low for this to be able to write larger files with common codecs. For video, you are probably better off with an external SSD . However, as a home-garden-and-kitchen storage the WD My Passport is fine, but does not expect world performance.
- Compact and lightweight
- Easy to take with you
- Much cheaper than an SSD
- Works right out of the box, also with Time Machine
- Ability to encrypt files
- Hard disk is a bit more vulnerable than SSD
- Small disc is easier to lose
- Own connection, no USB-C or micro-USB
- Not suitable for larger video files due to slow read and write speed
Conclusion WD My Passport
For me, this disc is a great solution to ensure that I make backups with Time Machine more often. If you need a cheap solution with a lot of storage (for example for an extra macOS boot partition or testing the next macOS beta) then this is also a good solution. You will often leave such a disk in the same place and then it does not matter whether it is SSD or HDD. A hard disk like this one is a lot cheaper, but also a bit more vulnerable. So make sure you have an extra backup on hand (for example on a NAS) if you want to use this as the only backup solution for years.