Western Digital My Passport Wireless review

WD's wireless drive is worth the extra dollars

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Western Digital My Passport Wireless
  • Western Digital My Passport Wireless
  • Western Digital My Passport Wireless
  • Western Digital My Passport Wireless
  • Expert Rating

    4.75 / 5

Pros

  • Wireless streaming to multiple devices
  • Great application
  • Fast transfers
  • SD Card

Cons

  • More expensive than its rivals
  • Larger

Would you buy this?

Storage companies are now pro-mobile as they release hard drives equipped with wireless smarts. Seagate released its Wireless Plus in August, which scored well in <i>Good Gear Guide’s</i> review, and now rival Western Digital is adding its contribution to the category with the My Passport Wireless.

Overview

The My Passport Wireless broadcasts its own Wi-Fi network in which smartphones and tablets can use to access the content of its storage. Apple and Android devices alike simply download the WD My Cloud app in order to browse its contents.

WD’s drive is a little taller than Seagate’s and a tad heavier, with the weight of the drive increasing in correlation to the capacity. The extra heft is the by-product of the WD’s solid build and the addition of a SD card slot; a perk the Seagate drive lacks.

Accommodating an SD card will prove valuable to photographers who want to stash their shots quickly when on assignment. WD has gone one further by making it possible for photos and videos to be written to the drive when connected to FTP compatible cameras.

Otherwise writing files requires connecting the drive to a notebook or a computer. The drive uses USB3.0 to copy media at an average of 120 megabytes per second (MBps) and writes at an average of 92 MBps. The rivaling Seagate drive matches the WD on copying speeds; however, it trails with a writing speed average of 50MBps.

The SD card sits flush. We have it half ejected for the purpose of this photo
The SD card sits flush. We have it half ejected for the purpose of this photo

I can stream what?

Managing the content on your drive requires installation of the My Cloud application, which is available for Android and iOS devices. This app is used to browse the contents of the drive; to monitor your network of devices; and to secure your network with a password. It can also be used to retain an Internet connection while you’re connected to the drive.

Read more: Western Digital My Cloud EX4 NAS device (preview)
WD's My Cloud app has an attractive interface
WD's My Cloud app has an attractive interface

The My Passport Wireless streams content to compatible devices over the 2.4GHz frequency band over wireless 802.11n. Up to eight devices can access the contents of the drive at any one time, although the number of users dwindles when data intensive content is accessed, such as music and movies.

These are on par with what’s on offer from Seagate’s Wireless Plus drive; however, the My Passport Wireless inches ahead by supporting MIMO technology. The tech improves the quality data transfers and makes it possible for the drive to stream high definition videos to four mobile devices at one time.

Good Gear Guide used the same methodology to test the WD drive’s battery. We streamed high definition video to three devices simultaneously until the battery ran flat. Videos were streamed without fault for five hours, and that result is superior to the four hours achieved by Seagate’s Wireless Plus.

Flat My Passport Wireless drives will need to be plugged into a mains socket before more streaming can be done. Plugging the drive to a USB port isn’t powerful enough to enable streaming.

WD's drive has a larger footprint than its rival, the Seagate Wireless Plus
WD's drive has a larger footprint than its rival, the Seagate Wireless Plus

Final thought

Western Digital is selling the My Wireless Passport in capacities of 1- and 2- terabytes for $249 and $299 respectively. The 2TB drive, which is the version reviewed by GGG, ships with 1.81 terabytes free. This means you are paying approximately 17 cents per gigabyte, which is more when compared to the 15 cents per gigabyte value from the rivaling Seagate.

Memory tells only half the story. The WD My Passport Wireless is better built, offers SD card compatibility, performs transfers faster, has better wireless technology and has a longer lasting battery. It is a superior drive to Seagate’s offering, but be prepared to pay more for the spoils.

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