Western Digital’s My Passport Goes Wireless

Mobile and wireless connectivity are undoubtedly the stars of 2014 where almost every piece of technological releases from well known companies actually has something to do with them. For an instance, power banks simply exploded out of nowhere, and by the time it has reached  critical popularity level, we already saw a mouse with a power bank on it. Same thing goes for wireless storage devices.

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Now wireless storage for mobile devices has been out for years, and most of the big companies had their own flagships. Western Digital initially went household with their non-portable storage equipped routers but now the company has updated their line-up with the My Passport Wireless.

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The My Passport Wireless appears to be a device that is late to the segment, but Western Digital made sure that it boast features which are yet to be found on other devices such as a built-in SD card slot to easily share files, media streaming, internet sharing via its own hot-spot, and many more.

FEATURES & SPECIFICATIONS: CLICK HERE

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UNBOXING THE MY PASSPORT WIRELESS:

THe My Passport Wireless came in an old fashioned WD packaging which is themed in Blue and light colors. They’ve been doing this for years and the professionalism towards their packaging seems to be perfectly executed EVRYTYM.

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The back is visually well presented although it’s pretty shabby when it comes to info about the drive’s features. You have to open the flap should you want to take a peek or know more about the My Passport Wireless.

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The My Passport Wireless came in light with a USB port output charger and country plugs. There is also a flat USB 3.0 cable added plus the usual manuals and supporting documents.

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THE MY PASSPORT WIRELESS:

Out of the box, the My Passport Wireless certainly isn’t small, as it’s comparable to the size and form of the My Passport Studio although lighter at just around 300 Grams. That said, as opposed to the Studio’s all metal approach, WD opted for a plastic outer shroud.

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The My Passport Wireless has Two Status LEDs. One is for the battery level and the other one is for the wireless status. The back of the drive is bland, but there is a set of rubber feet in place so it wont slide all too easily.

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I/O wise, the My passport Wireless features an SD Card slot that is only accessible via wireless which is a shame but nonetheless a great feature. The power and wireless buttons are located at the top as well as the USB port.

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As said earlier, the My Passport Wireless easily resembles the Studio both in color palette and design. Although the similarities are uncanny, the Studio is made out of metal whilst the Wireless is mostly made out of plastic.

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HOW TO USE THE DAMN THING:

There are many ways to use the My Passport Wireless but the easiest is to use it as an external drive alone. You’re going to miss the wireless features though and you wont get the most out of it if you’re going to use just as that alone unless of course, if you wanted to maximize the throughput. The WD My Passport Wireless came with all the necessary files to get you started. That’s 6GB of extra files already in store including “How To” videos, sample images musics, videos, and user manuals.

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Now setting this device wirelessly is just an easy task, as there is actually no need to install drivers since it will act as a wireless hot-spot right away. Once the power and WiFi has been turned on, and when in range of any wireless capable devices, you could  instantaneously use and browse its contents by visiting the URL [file:////MyPassport/Public].

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As for securing the drive, you actually had the option to do it by visiting the URL [http://mypassport] on PC. Doing so will require you to refresh the connection. As for mobile, you could use the IP addresses 192.168.60.1 for compatibility.

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The web UI is simply sleek and stunning both on mobile and desktop. It features the available capacity of the drive in a visual manner, along with the available battery life. The categorization of the files are well represented too which is nice. The problem though with mobile is that you couldn’t copy a shortcut of the My Passport Wireless’ file folders on your desktop.

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The admin sub menu is where you could configure access restrictions and set passwords. FTP access is also present here which is a welcome sight.

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THe media sub menu features the streaming options that you could configure on the My Passport Wireless. You could also set the inserted SD card’s function here to automatically import its contents on the HDD or just have its files manually copied or moved. This feature is good for photographers who wants to backup / import their photos automatically. Actually, it is the reason why the My Passport Wireless had it in the first place.

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As for mobile, you have to download Western Digital’s mobile app (WD My Cloud) for Android & iOS to browse and stream the drive’s content. For Android devices, you need to download 3rd party media players to play the formats that are not currently compatible with the My Cloud out of the box.

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TEST SYSTEM & PROCEDURES:

Storage devices, unlike motherboards, revolves around the use of various storage benchmarking tools to test their performance. We’ve got loads of them in the past, but we toned down the synthetic benchmarking tools to ATTO, AS SSD and Crystal Disk Mark. It is important to note that we have a pre-made Test OS for the storage benchmarks and we are always aiming to fill up the drive to 50% of its capacity. This is to ensure that we are testing the drive according to its real world usage along with a very small margin of error.

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The WD My Passsport Wireless features a Western Digital 1TB 2.5″ HDD spinning at 5400 RPM with 8MB of cache. The drive is known to have a maximum load of 1.7W when it’s in full use, while it could consume 0.8W of power while idling and 0.2W when in sleep mode.  The test system’s specifications are as follows:

CPU Intel Core i5 4670K
MOTHERBOARD ASUS Z97-PRO WiFi AC
CPU COOLER Cooler Master Seidon 120XL
MEMORY ADATA XPG V2 @2400MHz 16GB
GRAPHICS CARD ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 4GB
INT. STORAGE Kingston V200+ SSD 120GB
PSU Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1300W
DISPLAY DELL S2340L 23″ IPS
OS Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 (Updated)
SOUND CARD Realtek ALC1150
EXT. STORAGE 2TB Western Digital My Passport Studio

WIRED READ & WRITE PERFORMANCE:

First up in the benchies is ATTO Tech’s Disk Benchmark. It basically measures the system’s storage performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. An industry standard.

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Next up is the venerable Crystal Disk Mark. This storage benchmarking software aims to measure sequential, and random read/write speeds of storage devices. Check out the author’s page HERE.

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AS SSD features read / write specific tests without using the cache, and that could strain mechanical drives. We used AS SSD’s extra benchmarks to check out the drive’s file copy performance.

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The real world performance tests is our home brewed file copy test which involves copying of Images, Videos, PSD files, DOC files, XML files, PDFs, etc. you name it, to simulate a real world file copy scenario. Do note that the files are inside a folder, and they’re randomly placed.

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WIRELESS STREAMING PERFORMANCE:

Streaming should be the My Passport Wireless’ strong point, and it did not disappoint. We tried wireless media streaming with it and it is just plain smooth with 720P HD movies. 1080P movies were also playable although you have to carefully choose movies with 25 Mbps bitrate for both A/V below. Anything larger than that will result in a random stuttering due to inadequate buffer. Open standard free file formats such as MKV were also playable, but we can’t maximize the throughput via streaming as any of our media players could only read MKV file formats with 19 Mbps bitrate tops using the My Passport Wireless. Not sure what’s up but it’s plausible streaming nonetheless.

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VALUE & CONCLUSION:

The My Passport Wireless is a well thought out product aimed to deliver what it is promised without going overboard. Wireless performance wise, it is a good streaming device that is able to share media wirelessly and easily without much effort. A straight forward product I must say – which is what we always wanted. For the PC of course.

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Featuring a USB 3.0 connectivity, we could always use the device to connect it on a PC or Mac while charging it. Read speeds and write speeds weren’t bad, but I think that its “small transfer size” performance could be better as seen on our real world file copy test. Huge single file format lovers should not be worried though.

The price to performance ratio of the 1TB My Passport Wireless is somewhat similar to the 500GB WD Velociraptor, which might look bland but in reality the drive is competitive enough to shake other wireless enabled storage devices at the same league. You could get this device for 9, 590 Pesos tops while the lower capacity model at 500GB could be had for 7, 590 Pesos which is not shabby since both models supports SD card content importing on the go.

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Now as for the gripes, we wish the drive could feature faster wireless transfer performance. Streaming is already good, but wireless transfer throughput pits us on an average of 5 MB/s. Not bad, but could be better. Battery life is also one of my major concerns with the drive, as it could only last 5 hours tops. The 3400 mAh battery is not enough for my daily activities, me thinks.

The Western Digital My Passport Wireless is a device specifically made for individuals who wants to take their precious data on the go, share it with their colleagues, and clients without sacrificing portability while they are at it. It’s s device not for everyone, but for aspiring photographers and the likes, its features are just plain rational.

THE WD MY PASSPORT WIRELESS WITH 1TB OF CAPACITY RETAILS FOR AROUND 9, 590 PESOS WITH A 2 YEAR MANUFACTURER WARRANTY.

THE VERDICT
PROS:
  • GOOD WIRED PERFORMANCE
  • GOOD STREAMING PERFORMANCE
  • LIGHT WEIGHT & VISUALLY APPEALING
  • MULTIPLE CAPACITY OPTIONS
  • SD CARD BACKUP ON THE GO
  • GOOD BUILD QUALITY
CONS:
  • WIRELESS TRANSFER SPEED
  • SHORT BATTERY LIFE
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