Western Digital My Passport Essential SE USB 3.0 external hard drive
Western Digital My Passport Essential SE review: This 1TB portable hard drive offers USB 3.0 support
- Fast USB 3.0 read/write speeds, compact design, 256-bit hardware encryption, affordable price
- No mini-USB connection
The Western Digital My Passport Essential SE is a fast and compact high-capacity hard drive that ticks all the right boxes. If your PC is USB 3.0-ready, you will not be disappointed.
Price$ 239.00 (AUD)
The Western Digital My Passport Essential SE is a portable 1TB external hard drive with USB 3.0 support. It comes bundled with WD’s SmartWare management software and 256-bit AES hardware encryption. Compact and impressively fast, the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE is an ideal mass storage device for media fans on the go. That said, you will need access to a USB 3.0–capable computer to make the most of this hard drive.
The Western Digital My Passport Essential SE is surprisingly compact for a 1TB hard drive. With dimensions of 83x110x18mm, it will easily fit inside your purse or jacket pocket. The version we tested was finished in glossy black plastic. While prone to fingerprints, it remains a sleek, attractive hard drive.
The WD My Passport Essential SE utilises four 250GB platters spinning at 5400rpm. The device is powered through USB, so there’s no need to carry around a separate power supply. (This is especially handy for overseas travellers, as you won’t need to invest in yet another international power adaptor.)
The Western Digital My Passport Essential SE has a USB 3.0 connection for fast file transfers; you will need a USB 3.0–compatible motherboard to make use of this feature. Unfortunately, this means you can’t use a mini-USB cable with the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE — if you lose or misplace the included cord, you’ll need to go out and purchase another one. Consequently, if your computer lacks USB 3.0 support, we’d recommend going for another hard drive.
The bundled WD SmartWare software categorises data on both your PC and the hard drive based on file extensions. You can then choose which types of files to back up. (The software supports sequential backups for up to 25 versions of the same file.) Although it’s straightforward and easy to use, the interface isn’t as impressive as Hitachi’s LifeStudio (as found on hard drives such as the Hitachi LifeStudio Desk Plus). Eschewing fancy 3D and interactive media walls, it instead gets the job done with minimal fuss.
To test the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE's USB 2.0 transfer speeds, we copied files back and forth between the drive and our testbed equipped with a Intel Core i7 965, 300GB Western Digital Velociraptor drive and 6GB of DDR3 RAM. We also copied the folders from one location on the LifeStudio Desk Plus to another, to test its speed when simultaneously reading and writing files.
The first test consisted of 3GB worth of 1MB files, which simulates installing applications and backing up system files. In the second test, we used a 20GB folder of 3-4GB files, including high-definition movies. Let’s take a look at how it compared to other external hard drives on the market:
|Small File (3GB) Transfer Test Results|
|Western Digital My Passport Essential SE||$250.00||1TB||USB 2.0||18.4||12.9||10.6|
|Hitachi XL Desktop Drive||$250.00||2TB||USB 2.0||19.1||8.2||5.8|
|Western Digital My Book Elite||$399.99||2TB||USB 2.0||24.6||15.2||10.2|
|LaCie Starck Desktop Hard Drive||$199||1TB||USB 2.0||28.8||17.1||10.5|
|Hitachi LifeStudio Desk Plus||$250.00||2TB||USB 2.0||14||8.7||8.1|
|Large File (20GB) Transfer Test Results|
|Western Digital My Passport Essential SE||$250.00||1TB||USB 2.0||26.9||23.7||12.7|
|Hitachi XL Desktop Drive||$250.00||2TB||USB 2.0||29.7||22.6||12.6|
|Western Digital My Book Elite||$399.99||2TB||USB 2.0||27.7||24.1||11.3|
|LaCie Starck Desktop Hard Drive||$199||1TB||USB 2.0||30.3||25.7||12.7|
|Hitachi LifeStudio Desk Plus||$250.00||2TB||USB 2.0||28.8||18.9||12.7|
In our USB 2.0 tests, the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE exhibited average read/write speeds. However, it gave an appropriately speedy USB 3.0 performance, with a write speed of 58MBps in our large file transfer test and 20.8MBps in our small file transfer test. The Western Digital My Passport Essential SE remained relatively cool and quiet throughout operation.
Become a fan of PC World Australia on Facebook
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® Portable SSD
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HP Pavilion x360 13”
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Western Digital begins production of the world's tallest 3D NAND 'skyscraper'
- WD will make a record-breaking 14TB hard drive available next year
- Start hoarding SSDs: Prices are expected to spike as supply gets tight
- Intel's silence on Optane SSDs raises questions about launch and focus
- Google Earth VR lets you explore our beautiful planet on the HTC Vive
PCW Evaluation Team
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.
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!
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.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCTechnical Business Analyst - Infrastructure - VirtualizationNSW
- CCSenior Mobile Application DeveloperNSW
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerQLD
- FTFull Stack Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- FTAndroid DeveloperNSW
- TPAnalyst Workplace SupportVIC
- FTStorage Solution ArchitectVIC
- CCTelecommunication Operations SpecialistTAS
- CCSolution DesignerVIC
- CCSenior consultant/ Solution ArchitectNSW
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)NSW
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)ACT
- FTSolutions Software DeveloperVIC
- FTPart Time - IT Service Desk AnalystVIC
- TPSOE AdministratorQLD
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- FTJunior / Entry Level IT role - Recent IT TAFE GraduateNSW
- CCSAP Billing & Invoicing ConsultantNSW
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)Other
- FTTechnical Consultant - SQL Server programming skillsACT
- FTSenior C++ EngineerACT
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- CCIT Senior Business AnalystNSW
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXQLD