A solid case that provides extra protection and peace of mind for your Western Digital My Passport hard drive.
The Western Digital Nomad has a polycarbonate exterior and padded interior to protect the hard drive within. This is a specialized enclosure; it only works with the Western Digital My Passport series of 2.5-inch external hard drives. We're using the WD My Passport Essential 500GB USB 3.0 variant for this review. The Nomad rugged case has a street price of $25.
How It Works
The Nomad has a simple enough operation; simply lift the latch and it opens like a clam shell. The My Passport drive fits snugly in the enclosure; it can only be put in one way correctly, so make sure the connector is aligned with the opening at the bottom right of the case. The latch snaps shut with a reassuring click. The My Passport's USB connector cable fits through the enclosure's opening; it is therefore not necessary to take the drive out of the enclosure to use it. This is a nice feature but also presents a small risk vs. having a fully sealed enclosure; if left open, unwanted things could get inside.
There is an orange silicone lining around the edge of the drive, intended to keep dust and small amounts of moisture out. Once inside, the drive is just about stuck in place thanks to the rubber lining. It features additional dampening underneath and on the top of the drive thanks to the rubber strips. Rubber does a good job of decreasing the effects of vibration.
Obviously one of the downsides with this enclosure is the large size; it is bigger in every way compared to the My Passport drive alone. The Nomad itself is also heavier than the My Passport drive; I weighed it at 5.8 oz. on my digital scale whereas the My Passport was just 5.0 oz.
To give the Nomad and My Passport drive within a real test I put it in my checked baggage through four airports. Additionally during that week I also took extra care to throw the drive into my bag instead of placing it gently as I would a normal external hard drive. At the end of the trip the drive was still in perfect working order. As someone who has relied on external 2.5" hard drives for years, I'm not certain a non-protected drive would have fared as well.
That said keep in mind the Nomad is mainly designed to protect the drive against bumps and drops. Although the drive has a silicon seal around the edges, it is not 100 percent water-tight. I placed it in a bowl of water for 20 minutes and found water inside at the end. It should be more than capable of handling the occasional splash or light rain however.
For about $25 street the Nomad is a worthwhile product for those of us carrying sensitive data on external drives. It is proprietary and only works with the Western Digital My Passport series of external hard drives. The Nomad protected the My Passport drive well in our tests, which involved putting it in checked baggage and treating it poorly. Overall, it is well worth recommending given the reassuring protection it offers.
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