by Kevin OBrien

Western Digital My Passport for Mac Review (1TB)

Western Digital completely redesigned and increased the capacity on both their My Passport for Mac and My Passport Studio portable hard drives. Besides the new look, the latest models increase the capacities offered, upping the previous cap at 500GB to 750GB and 1TB. In this review we take a look at the more affordable 1TB My Passport for Mac, which offers a stylish all-plastic case and a USB 2.0 interface with the price listed at $129.

WD My Passport for Mac Specs

  • Interface - USB 2.0
  • Capacity
    • 500GB - WDBL1D5000ABK
    • 750GB - WDBBXV7500ABK
    • 1TB - WDBBXV0010BBK
  • Height 0.60 Inches, Length 4.35 Inches, Width 3.23 Inches
  • Weight 0.31 Pounds
  • Operating 41° F to 95° F
  • Non-operating -4° F to 149° F
  • Formatted HFS+ Journaled
  • No external power required

Build and Design

The new My Passport for Mac changes the design slightly from the previous model, with the most noteable difference being the new color scheme which is designed to match the aluminum-bodied MacBook-line from Apple. The case on the My Passport for Mac is plastic versus aluminum on the My Passport Studio, which adds some layer of cost savings as well as makes this particular model lighter than the other offering.

The color scheme is two-tone with a black border and bottom half, with a brushed-metal appearance top cover.

The back of the drive contains one USB 2.0 port and an LED activity light. The USB port is actually a Micro-USB connection on the drive, a nice touch since most users have done away with dated mini-USB cords. It's a small thing for sure, but we still see new drives released with old interface designs.

The bottom of the drive is all-black, with black rubber feet and a product information label which includes important information such as the model number and serial number.

The My Passport for Mac isn't exactly the easiest case to take apart, with two plastic case halves which snap together very securely. With a little effort from a fingernail and an old credit card, we were able to split the case open without damaging it, exposing custom hard drive within. The drive is similar to the 1TB WD10TPVT found in the My Passport Studio, although this one integrates the USB 2.0 controller with the circuit board of the drive, allowing for fewer internal components and circuitry.

Performance

The My Passport for Mac includes a standard USB 2.0 interface, which offers compatibility with close to every computer on the market and reasonable performance for most users. While not as fast as eSATA or FireWire 800, it can still transfer photos, movies, and documents without musch hassle. We measured peak sequential transfers speed of 34.5MB/s read and 28.5MB/s write using CrystalDiskMark, which is close to the upper-range of USB 2.0 capabilities.

Software

WD includes two simple software packages with the My Passort for Mac. WD Drive Utilities handles diagnostics and other drive management duties. Users can run three drive tests ranging for a simple check of SMART data to a more robust full media scan that checks for bad sectors on the drive. 

Users can also manage the sleep settings for the drive, from never to 10, 15, 30 and 45 minutes. WD includes a drive erase function and a simple product registration form with three form fields to complete. 

The other included application is WD Security, which lets users specify a password required to access the data on the drive; this is especially handy for portable drives. Also handy is the bright red warning from WD, "WD cannot retrieve your password. If you forget your password, you will permanently lose access to your data." 

Once you accept the warning with the check box and remember to specify a hint, you can also enable auto unlock for the drive to prevent having to enter the password every time the drive is connected.

Conclusion

The MSRP of $130 for the 1TB My Passport for Mac is barely more than the bare drive would cost on its own, making the value pretty darn good for this external hard drive. The case is well made and actually looks better than we expected for an all plastic effort - you'd think it's metal until you hold it. Add in the easy to use and understand software tools and WD has a good external for the masses who want big capacity without any headaches. Sure it's only USB 2.0, but for mass storage on the go, the 34.5MB/s reads and 28.5MB/s writes get the job done for most people. Overall we were very pleased with the design and capacity improvements between this and the previous generation My Passport for Mac.

Bottom Line

The new Western Digital My Passport for Mac gives users up to 1TB of storage space wrapped in an attractive two-tone silver and black case with a USB 2.0 interface for wide compatibility.

WD My Passport at Amazon.com

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