Western Digital My Book Elite (2TB) external hard drive

WD's My Book Elite external hard drive has an eInk label and hardware encryption

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Western Digital My Book Elite (2TB)
  • Western Digital My Book Elite (2TB)
  • Western Digital My Book Elite (2TB)
  • Western Digital My Book Elite (2TB)
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • eInk label, AES hardware encryption, intuitive backup software

Cons

  • No eSATA or FireWire connections

Bottom Line

Western Digital has revamped its My Book Elite external hard drive with hardware encryption, eInk labelling and improved backup software.

Would you buy this?

Western Digital's refreshed My Book Elite 2TB external hard drive offers intuitive backup options, 256-bit AES hardware encryption, and an e-ink capacity indicator. However, there are faster USB 2.0–based external hard drives that have passed through our Test Centre, and it doesn't offer any alternative connections like eSATA.

The WD My Book Elite has a similar book-like design to its predecessors. It's still passively cooled through vents on the top and back, so it runs silently. The fascia has undergone the biggest change: instead of a slim LED capacity indicator it uses an eInk display to show how much space is left on the drive. You can also use it to label the drive using the WD SmartWare software, which is definitely handy if you have more than one external hard drive. Because the display is eInk, the label will last for up to six months before requiring power again.

The My Book Elite has a single mini-USB 2.0 connection (the same kind used in the vast majority of digital cameras, portable hard drives). Given the "elite" moniker, we would have preferred faster connections like FireWire 800 or eSATA.

Though formatted in NTFS for Windows PCs out of the box, the My Book Elite will work with Macs as well. Western Digital has included both Mac and Windows versions of bundled software on a reserved partition of the drive. This means even if you format the drive, the software remains.

WD SmartWare Label configuration

WD SmartWare lets you change your hard drive's label.

The highlight of the included software is WD SmartWare, a configuration hub which lets you choose backup schedules, alter the eInk label and enable the drive's password-protected 256-bit AES hardware encryption.

Backing up using the My Book Elite is fairly intuitive. Like the software on the HP SimpleSave Portable, WD's SmartWare automatically categorises data on both your PC and the external hard drive based on file extensions. From here, you can choose which types of files to back up. However, unlike the SimpleSave Portable, you can't set your own custom extensions. As a result, obscure media formats will simply be listed as "other" and bundled with miscellaneous system files. WD SmartWare supports up to 25 sequential backups of the same file.

Small File (3GB) Transfer Test Results
Model Price Storage Capacity Read
speed (MBps)
Write
speed (MBps)
Read/write
speed (MBps)
Western Digital My Book Elite $399.99 2TB 24.6 15.2 10.2
LaCie Starck Desktop Hard Drive $199 1TB 28.8 17.1 10.5
Promise SmartStor DS4600 $550 3TB 25 25 10.2
Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II $999 4TB 23.4 15 10.7

Large File (20GB) Transfer Test Results
Model Price Storage Capacity Read
speed (MBps)
Write
speed (MBps)
Read/write
speed (MBps)
Western Digital My Book Elite $399.99 2TB 27.7 24.1 11.3
LaCie Starck Desktop Hard Drive $199 1TB 30.3 25.7 12.7
Promise SmartStor DS4600 $550 3TB 27.9 26.4 11.7
Maxtor [[Artnid:296805|OneTouch 4 Plus|Review: Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus externsal hard drive $349 750GB 28.58 25.47 N/A
Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II $999 4TB 26.7 25.1 12.7

Western Digital's My Book Elite manages reasonable read and write speeds when dealing with both small and large files, but isn't the fastest USB 2.0 external hard drive we've tested. A faster interface, like FireWire 800, would certainly have made a difference in our large file tests.

Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters

Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: secure storage, storage, security, western digital
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?