Western Digital My Passport Essential SE (1TB) external hard drive

Western Digital delivers 1TB of storage and good security in a portable package

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Western Digital My Passport Essential SE (1TB)
  • Western Digital My Passport Essential SE (1TB)
  • Western Digital My Passport Essential SE (1TB)
  • Western Digital My Passport Essential SE (1TB)
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • Tiny, 256-bit hardware encryption, simple to configure and use

Cons

  • Sluggish write speeds, backup software limitations

Bottom Line

The My Passport Essential SE is Western Digital's largest capacity portable hard drive yet, and it offers encryption to keep your data secure.

Would you buy this?

Western Digital’s My Passport Essential SE is currently the only portable external hard drive to boast a whopping 1TB of storage space. Despite this, it is one of the smallest hard drives around and it is quite speedy, too.

For the My Passport Essential SE, Western Digital bypassed the standard SATA II circuitry and built a USB connection directly into the 2.5in internal hard drive, making it shorter than other external hard drives. Unfortunately, the company chose to integrate a micro-USB connection instead of the more common mini-USB port found on external hard drives and digital cameras. While the connection is supposed to be more durable, the cable is also harder to replace if lost.

The My Passport Essential SE has four 250GB platters, making the drive slightly fatter than its 320GB and 500GB counterparts. It's still extremely portable and light, however.

The My Passport Essential SE incorporates 256-bit AES hardware encryption, but lacks any form of password recovery.

WD SmartWare

WD's SmartWare software.

The bundled WD SmartWare software automatically launches the first time the My Passport Essential SE is connected, and categorises data on both your PC and the drive based on file extensions. From here, you can choose which types of files to back up. However, unlike the HP SimpleSave Portable external hard drive, the My Passport Essential SE does not allow you to set your own custom extensions. This means obscure media formats, for example, will simply be listed as "other". WD SmartWare supports sequential backups for up to 25 versions 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 Passport Essential SE $379 1TB 26.7 11.7 7.6
LaCie Starck Mobile Hard Drive $139 320GB 24.5 17.1 11.1
Astone ISO GEAR 290 $149 500GB 20.5 13.5 9.7
HP SimpleSave Portable $139 320GB 20.4 12.6 8.2
Transcend StoreJet 25M-R $159.95 320GB 23.8 15.3 7.2
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 Passport Essential SE $379 1TB 31.4 24.8 11.2
LaCie Starck Mobile Hard Drive $139 320GB 27.4 25.9 12.7
Astone ISO GEAR 290 $149 500GB 28.7 25.2 11.5
HP SimpleSave Portable $139 320GB 27.9 25.1 11.6
Transcend StoreJet 25M-R $159.95 320GB 28.5 24.3 11.9
Western Digital My Book Studio Edition II $999 4TB 26.7 25.1 12.7

When compared to other portable external hard drives, the Western Digital My Passport SE seems a little sluggish when writing small files. However, it offers very fast read speeds with both big and small files.

The huge storage capacity, strong security, and ease of use make the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE external hard drive a great choice for those who need to take their work with them.

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