My Passport Studio for Mac from Western Digital
This weekend Western Digital gave me the opportunity to be one of the first to write a review of the brand new (introduced March 1st, 2010) My Passport Studio ultra-portable hard drive with E-label.Â So, what, might you ask, is there to write about a new portable hard drive?Â Well, in this case, plenty!Â And I must say if there was ever a portable drive you would want to buy as a photographer and a Macintosh owner to use in the field, this is it!
There are many cool features to talk about here.Â Let’s look at them one at a time. The first and most obvious of new features is the display on the front of the drive.Â This is called the “Smart display custom e-label”, and it is a very cool new feature.Â Those who are familiar with the newest line of My Book Elite 1TB, 1.5TB & 2TB and My Book Studio 1TB, 1.5TB & 2TB recently introduced for the desktop will be familiar with this new feature.Â It allows you to both label the drive with a 12 character description and to monitor the status of the drive, including available space and security status… even when the drive is unplugged!Â And this label lasts for up to 6 months without plugging the drive in.Â The next time you plug it in, it recharges itself for up to another 6 months.Â With the price of drives these days, I find that I often store client projects on a drive on a shelf for 6 months, a year, sometimes more.Â With the e-label system, it is easy to see which projects you are storing.Â And the WD SmartWare software that is included makes changing the label (among other things) really simple.
The next feature to discuss is interface/connectivity.Â This drive is the Mac drive for a couple of reasons… most importantly being the connection options.Â This drive has the option of both USB 2.0 and Firewire 800 connections directly on the drive, and Firewire 400 adapter to connect to machines without Firewire 800 connections.Â This gives you just about every possible connection you could need to get to your data.Â The included cables are short (15″ or less), but that is all that is needed to connect to your MacBook.
Security is the next great feature, and it ties right into the software that comes with the drive.Â The WD SmartWare software mounts to the desktop the first time you connect to the drive.Â Setup is easy through this very well designed application.Â You can set up the drive, the label, the security and even backup options through this software.Â Once you assign a password to the drive, the password is required every time you plug the drive into a Mac.Â This is a great option and makes you feel good knowing that if someone acquires your drive, they will not be able to get to your data.
This screen shows the settings options for the drive.Â As you can see, you simply type the label in, choose a normal or inverted display, and save the label settings.Â From here, you can choose other options to set up including sleep timer, diagnostics, virtual CD and other options.Â The software is clean and easy to understand.
The WD SmartWare software has built in backup software.Â It analyzes your drives(s) and allows you to select which folders you wish to back up and restore.Â The design is very graphical and seems very easy to grasp and understand.Â With the limited time we have had this drive, there has not been the time needed to dig into the use of this application.Â But we do intend to look more at it at a future date.
The next feature to talk about is performance.Â We wanted to get a feel of just how fast this drive is for backup and use.Â We did some basic speed tests around the FireWire 800 and USB connectors, and we compared it to another commercial, portable USB drive that we commonly use.Â It was a simple test where we drug a folder full of 450 different 20 to 40MB RAW photos to the drives and tested the performance.Â This folder was 11GB in size, and should represent a typical copy that photographers would go through in backing up their data.Â The results were good and about as we would expect.
The testing was not “milspec” or overly thorough, but very real world.Â We took this new WD My Passport 640GB drive and tested both of it’s connectors and then tested a year old 120GB external drive that has served us very well over the past year.Â This is about as real world as we can get in this amount of time.Â Yea, yea, not a fair comparison to an older drive, etc., but the numbers are still true and comparable.Â And beyond these numbers, I think we are chasing too small of details.
The WD My Passport Studio drive is small, but large in storage.Â It is versatile and comes with great software.Â It has features offered on no other drives available today (e-label).Â It comes with a 3 year warranty backed by one of the largest and most reputable drive manufacturers on the market today.Â What else could you want in a drive to trust your valuable photos and video?
Score Card (scale of 1 to 5)
You can visit Western Digital’s website here.640GB, announcement, Backup, Firewire, Firewire 800, Hard Drive, My Passport Studio, new, release, Review, Storage, USB 2.0, Western Digital