Upon my first encounter with this hybrid device I can already imagine the benefits that it would have on a photographers workflow. It would seem like a niche market and that is probably why they made a product that was much more – combining wireless capabilities with the SD card slot initially doesn’t seem like an effective match, but the more you use it, the more you see the value in this design decision.
I got to take one home through an event organized by WD past a selection done by RV Mitra, WDs newest product ambassador and renowned wedding photographer. I’d gifted it to my partner for her birthday and just recently we got to finally set it up for her.
It works a little bit differently from conventional harddrives because of its ability to generate its own wireless network and piggyback onto existing ones so there’s a little bit of configuration you’d need to go thru in order to completely utilize the WD My Passport Wireless (MPW). Naturally you can connect it using the USB3 cable directly, that mode disables all wireless activity for uninterrupted transfers between the computer and the drive. Note: the cable that comes with the device is unlike any of those that come with their other products probably due to its power transfer requirement, it’s a very nice flat cable that isn’t very long but seems very sturdy.
Upon its first wireless run you get to name the connection to whatever you like (default – My Passport) and set a password to prevent unwanted connections – this can be done thru a browser or using the My Cloud app for wireless control with a mobile device. Once that is done, you reconnect to it using the new credentials and finally proceed to further configuration.
Administration controls over the browser “dashboard” and the app allow the user to change how the drive interacts with an SD card, which connections it remembers and latches on to, whether or not it allows transfer of files, or whether it would allow media to be served off of it. Seems pretty daunting right? Nothing unfamiliar here as the UI has been designed clean and very friendly.
Post configuration, you now have three options of connecting into the drive:
Thru the USB3 cable (1) – this remains the fastest mode of transfer and is recommended for large sets of data.
Thru wireless direct connection and/or as an AP (2) – connecting to the wireless network generated by the device allows the user to have access to the files inside of the drive with improved reliability over the third mode. You can also have internet connectivity on this mode if and when the MPW is connected to another internet enabled network and is acting as an access point.
Over a wireless network as NAS (3) – in this mode, if FTP is enabled, the MPW becomes visible in the network giving connected users access to the contents with read and write capabilities.
Note: Leave for the first mode, whenever an SD card is inside the slot, the data within it can also be viewed remotely.
From personal experience, I can say that the MPW acts very well as a media server, that is fetching content already on it with a mobile phone especially while using the My Cloud app or utilizing other devices that support DLNA. It also has no problems backing up data from an SD card thru the integrated slot. The challenges come with data transfer into the device thru the wireless connection as the speed is significantly slower than when you’re using the cable (mode 3); Small files shouldn’t be a problem but transferring something big like video files, even simply moving them within itself, can feel like forever… of course this doesn’t affect latency of other browsing devices at the same time so the MPW can be really useful for when multiple users are accessing different content that happens when undertaking a road trip. There are also hiccups with internet connectivity (also mode 3) which can possibly be remedied with more recent home routers and better connection speeds, my partner’s MPW was tested within 3 meters of the router at home with clear line of sight but the connection was still dropping somewhat.
The MPW is definitely not a one-trick pony, and the slew of connection options give the drive preferential treatment on consideration of what to bring out for a trip or on assignment. It gives the files within greater exposure thru the number of connected users at any one time and the battery holds up for the commute and then some. Truly it is as wonderful as our first encounter and would be the drive to carry around for quick and easy access for media delivery. Keep at it WD, high expectations for your future innovations!
And as if on cue, we’ve been alerted of a new, completely redesigned, My Passport series, with a max capacity of 3TB from the very same! PR follows.
WD REDESIGNS WORLD’S No. 1 SELLING PORTABLE HARD DRIVE
New My Passport Drives Now Feature Up to 3 TB Capacity and Easier Backup Software
Manila, Philippines – July 28, 2015 – WD®, a Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC) company, and world leader in storage solutions, today introduced the new, redesigned My Passport® Ultra portable hard drives and My Passport for Mac drives. With the My Passport line now in its 7th generation, the My Passport Ultra and My Passport for Mac portable hard drives are now available in capacities up to 3 TB and in four stylish colors – Classic Black, Brilliant White, Wild Berry and Noble Blue.
“With more photos being taken than ever before, it’s critical to have a high capacity, reliable external storage solution that you can carry everywhere,” said Tony Tate, general manager and vice president of Content Storage Solutions at WD. “The latest generation My Passport drives deliver an easier automatic back-up experience, hardware-based encryption for security and higher capacities than ever before.”
My Passport Ultra portable drives come in 3 TB, 2 TB, 1 TB and 500 GB capacities and feature 256-bit AES hardware encryption – delivering a high level of security with no impact to write-speed or CPU activity. If your My Passport Ultra falls into the wrong hands, the 256-bit AES hardware encryption protects users’ files, folders, photos, videos and music with a password known only to them. USB 3.0 compatibility provides fast data transfer rates of up to 5 gigabits per second, while being backwardly compatible with USB 2.0. My Passport for Mac portable drives are available in capacities of 3 TB, 2 TB, 1 TB and also feature 256-bit AES hardware encryption with USB 3.0 connectivity.
My Passport Ultra’s built-in WD Backup software is a simple-to-use application with focus on reducing frustration when setting up a backup plan to preserve data. Since 31% of devices have had malware at some point, having your data safely backed up onto a secondary device like a My Passport drive is critical to preserving precious data.
Pricing and Availability
My Passport Ultra and My Passport for Mac portable drives will be available in August through selected retailers and resellers and are distributed by Iontech, Inc. and EA Global Supply Chains Solutions, Inc. MSRP for both My Passport Ultra and My Passport for Mac is Php 3, 890 for 1 TB, Php 6, 490 for 2 TB, Php 8, 990 for the latest 3 TB offering. MSRP for My Passport Ultra 500 GB is Php 2,990. Both products will offer a 3-year limited warranty. Terms and conditions of WD’s limited warranty may be found at support.wdc.com/warranty.