Western Digital My Passport 2TB Review

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When it comes to portable hard drives, the Western Digital “My Passport” series of external hard drives is perhaps the most successful line of portable external hard drives on the market today. The attractive casing, solid build quality, reasonable speed and good product placement in a variety of stores have made this line very popular.

The all new WD 2TB My Passport raises the bar again with a massive storage capacity as well as USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 transfer capability.

As of this writing I own more than a dozen portable hard drives for storing years of digital photos, my movie library and all those pointless files I’ve never bothered to delete over the years. Almost half of my portable hard drives are older models of the Western Digital My Passport series, so I was eager to see what this drive brings to the table.

Build and Design

The basic design the My Passport has evolved year after year and the latest generation of My Passports has a boxier, almost industrial design compared to the rounded, glossy external hard drives from previous years. The biggest difference for most consumers who haven’t purchased a USB hard drive in recent years is that the newest versions of the My Passport now feature the new USB 3.0 cable (compatible with USB 2.0). This new port gives the hard drive a significant performance boost over older hard drives that are limited to USB 2.0 speeds.

Specifications of the WD My Passport (WDBY8L0020BBK) are as follows:

  • Capacity: 2 TB

  • Interface: USB 3.0 and USB 2.0

  • Dimensions (H x D x W): 0.82 x 4.4 x 3.2 inches

  • Weight: 0.51 Pounds

  • Operating Temperature: 41 F to 95 F

  • Non-operating Temperature: -4 F to 149 F

  • MSRP: $249.99 (500GB model starts at $119.99)

The engineers at Western Digital consistently deliver a pretty compact and reasonably attractive portable hard drive with every generation of the My Passport.

There are two design changes of note with the latest 2TB My Passport. First, the black version is made from matte black plastics with glossy black accent dots. This means the plastics continue to look fantastic long after you’ve transported the My Passport in the accessory pocket of your laptop bag or in your purse next to your car keys. After five days of back-and-forth travel to and from work the old My Passport with glossy plastics was completely covered in fine scratches but the new My Passport looks as fresh as the day it was opened.

The second design change with the 2TB drive is a substantial increase in thickness (0.82″ versus 0.6″). The reason for the added thickness is due to the fact that the 2TB My Passport uses a new 2TB WD20NMVW drive (with four 500GB platters) which is considerably thicker than the dual-platter Scorpio Black or Scorpio Blue notebook hard drives used inside smaller My Passports.

The enclosure for the 2TB drive might not be as small as most of the WD My Passport drives but Western Digital still correctly describes the 2TB drive as “pocket sized.” Compared to my old BlackBerry Bold the 2TB My Passport has a roughly identical length and width but is almost twice as tall/thick.

Included Software

WD pre-installs two pieces of software with the 2TB My Passport: WD Drive Utilities and WD Security. WD Drive Utilities allows you to perform diagnostics (“quick” or “complete” drive tests to check for bad sectors), set the sleep timer to limit power consumption, use “drive erase” to quickly reformat the drive, or register your drive with WD for customer support.

WD Security is a simple application that lets you lock the drive with a password. You can set WD Security to provide you with a “password hint” if you forget your password but it will not retrieve your password in the event that you forget it. There is a nice bright red disclaimer in the WD Security password setup screen that says, “WD cannot retrieve your password. If you forget your password, you will permanently lose access to your data.”

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