Pros: easy to use, compact, portable, lightweight, great design, 320gb storage capacity, USB 2.0
Cons: does not come with a case (if that matters to you)
I have been seeking the best way to backup my computer files. I have three computers in the house (two desktops and a notebook computer). At this point, none of them are networked. This Western Digital Passport Essential 320gb Portable Hard Drive is doing it all and more.
This portable hard drive looks like a slim paperback book with rounded corners. It measures about 4 7/8" x 3" x 5/8" thick. The USB cord is 15" long (not including the connector ends). It weighs just over a half pound. The drive is smooth, yet it has a non-skid feel to it. There are also four round non-skin rubberized feet on the bottom of the unit.
This device can be used with PC computers or on a Macintosh (OS X 10.4.11+). It is compatible with Windows 2000, XP and Vista.
The Western Digital Passport Essential 320gb Portable Drive also comes in a variety of colors. I own the blue color (called Intense Blue), and it is available in midnight black, real red, vibrant pink, raindrop blue, arctic white, viola, cherry red, cool silver.
What Comes in the Package
The Western Digital Passport includes a USB cable. That is all that is needed to connect this portable hard drive to a computer. A "Quick Start Guide" is included. However, this guide is only a thick glossy sheet of folded paper. It contains an illustration of what comes in the package and a two-step usage pictorial. 1) Plug the USB cable into the portable drive and into the USB port on the computer, 2) Access the WD icon on the computer to access the portable drive.
This is a wonderful device. I can't say enough nice things about it. Having this portable hard drive means that I can easily transport it between my three computers and create backups on one device. Having all the information in one location also means that it is easy to grab in case of emergency ... no guessing and hoping that I grabbed everything I need.
The drive is solidly made and easy to hold, too. It is roughly the size of a slim paperback book. The exterior of the drive is constructed from a material that the fingers easily hold onto. I have never had this portable drive slip out of my fingers. If the drive is set horizontally on a table, the four small rubberized feet keep it in place. I like the Intense Blue color because it is easy to spot amid all my gear.
I love that only a USB cable is needed to use this Western Digital drive. It is so simple to operate. Just plug the cables into the connections (on the portable drive and computer), and I am ready to begin file transfer. The USB cable is a good length, too. I can plug it into the front USB port on the desktop computer, or the side USB port on my notebook computer. Using it with the desktop computer, the USB port is near the top of the tower, so I have to set the Western Digital drive vertically. It's a balancing act, but it stays in place okay.
The first time you plug the drive into your computer, the necessary software automatically loads onto the computer. There is no extra CD or installation needed. The files are quick loading, too, so that the drive is almost instantly accessible. I have used this device on computers using either Windows XP or Vista. It works great on both operating systems.
As with other portable devices (ex: a flash drive, CD, or DVD), I can create folders or customize the hard drive however I please. Once I have my folders set up, all I have to do is drag and drop files from the computer into the appropriate folder on the portable drive, or I can copy and paste information. Anyone can use this device. It is that simple to operate.
This 320gb storage device has lots of room, too. So far I have backups for my three computers on it as well as website backup (my website as well as designs I have done for other people), music, digital photographs of family events, and several clipart collections (I create clipart featuring quilt block designs). My files are extensive, too, since I'm a writer. Lots of material to store! Even with all this on the portable drive, I have tons of space left to use.
To give you an idea of storage capacity, here is some information supplied by Western Digital.
Digital Photos -- up to 91,000 (3.5mb per photo)
Digital Video (DV) -- up to 24 hours (3.5mb per second or 13gb per hour)
DVD Quality Video -- up to 140 hours 5mb per second or 2.25gb per hour)
HD Video -- up to 38 hours (8.3gb per hour recording rate at 720p or 1080i)
MP3 Songs -- up to 80,000 (4 minutes per song / 128 kbps / 11:1 audio compression)
CD Quality Songs (uncompressed) -- up to 8,000 (4 min per song / 1:1 ratio)
I bought this Western Digital Passport from Amazon.com for $103.99. This item retails for $127.99, and I see that Amazon is now selling for the reduced price of $94.99.
This 320gb drive is working very well for me. If I needed to purchase another portable hard drive, I would definitely buy another Western Digital Passport Essential. It's a great device!
I hope you found this review useful.
Enjoy your day,
Please read my other reviews:
Sandisk Cruzer Flash Drive
Sony Walkman Digital Media Player
Altec Lansing Speakers
Samsung 50" Plasma HD Television
Samsung 32" LCD HD Television
Philips Portable DVD Player with screen
Copyright 2009 Dawn L. Stewart