Western Digital My Passport Elite 320GB

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Western Digital My Passport Elite 320GB
  • Western Digital My Passport Elite 320GB
  • Western Digital My Passport Elite 320GB
  • Western Digital My Passport Elite 320GB

Pros

  • Sleek design, small footprint

Cons

  • MioNet and WDSync software are Windows-only

Bottom Line

While it isn't the cheapest option, Western Digital's My Passport Elite is definitely a great way to fit a large amount of data into a small footprint.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 3 stores)

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Western Digital has revamped its My Passport line of portable notebook hard drives with the My Passport Elite range. Available in 250GB and 320GB options, the new range offers users a sleeker, smaller design. At 79c/GB for the 250GB and 93c/GB for the 320GB, they are substantially more expensive than Western Digital's My Book range. However, given the portability of a USB-powered drive, the My Passport Elite range is definitely worth the cost.

Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of the My Passport Elite is its new look. Compared to the Passport (160GB), the Elite range is much sexier. With sleek curvature that resembles a small book, the My Passport Elite could almost fool someone into thinking it wasn't a hard drive at all. This is aided by the choice of titanium and bronze colour options, more suited towards the business-focused consumer market compared to the original Passport's gloss colours.

At the range's core is Western Digital's Scorpio line of notebook drives. Both drives run at 5400rpm and have an 8MB cache—more than adequate for normal use. During testing, we transferred 5GB of data between the 320GB drive and a 5400rpm notebook drive. My Passport Elite managed read speeds of 15.5MBps and write speeds of 16.7MBps, and copy transfer tests speeds of 8.9MBps. Given that these are notebook drives, the speeds are quite reasonable and exceed the speeds of the original Passport (160GB).

The drive is accompanied by the same software as the Western Digital My Book Office Edition (1TB), so there is definitely a business focus to the Elite range. The software includes WDSync, WDBackup, MioNet and Google Apps. WDSync can run straight from the hard drive without the need for installation, enabling quick and easy syncing between two computers. WDBackup has to be installed on the computer, but provides an easy step-by-step backup process for both the hard drive's contents and the local drive.

MioNet is the standout product of the bundle. The application allows for local and remote access of the hard drive's contents through the Internet using web-based and integrated means. The program runs well, but the application has the same restrictions that we ran into with the My Book Office Edition (1TB). MioNet places restrictions on certain music and video file formats so that users can't access this material. While host users can access these files remotely using the same account, they cannot share this material with other users, severely limiting the application's potential use.

Western Digital has seen fit to include a very generous warranty with My Passport Elite. While most notebook and desktop external hard drives offer either one or three year warranties, the My Passport Elite has a five-year limited warranty that covers manufacturing and mechanical faults.

My Passport Elite improves on Western Digital's established range of portable notebook drives. Despite some minor flaws in the software, this drive is a great buy.

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