WD Gives The My Passport A High-End Luxury Makeover
Chances are you have an external portable hard drive that uses the USB interface to backup your personal data. Devices like this have been around for over a decade and we are finding that most companies are having a hard time bringing new features and concepts to market. WD's new My Passport Slim USB 3.0 portable hard drive doesn't reinvent the wheel, but was designed to be a step up from the WD My Passport Ultra series that came out earlier this year. How did WD improve upon their current high-end drive? They made it as thin as possible and ditched the plastic enclosure for an all metal design that better goes with Intel Ultrabooks and other high-end devices that often have a nice metal finish.
The My Passport Ultra 1TB portable drive runs $89.87 shipped, uses the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface and measures just 110.5 x 82 x 15.4 mm (LxWxH). The new WD My Passport Slim 1TB measures has an MSRP of $99.99, uses the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface and measures in at 110.0mm x 80.0mm x 12.3mm. So, for a little extra money you get a nicer looking metal enclosure that also happens to be 3.1mm or 20% thinner than its predecessor! When it comes to weight the 1TB slim might have you thinking the metal housing would make the device heavier than the Ultra, but the 1TB slim 4.7 ounces versus the 5.6 ounces of the Ultra 1TB portable drive. So, like most devices these days the new version is smaller and lighter.
|My Passport Slim Model||Height||Depth||Width||Weight|
|1TB - WDBGMT0010BAL||0.48 in. (12.3 mm)||4.33 in. (110 mm)||3.14 in. (80.0 mm)||0.30 lb (0.134 kg)|
|2TB - WDBGMT0020BAL||0.70 in. (17.8mm)||4.33 in. (110 mm)||3.14 in. (80.0 mm)||unknown|
It should be pointed out that we are reviewing the 1TB model today and that is the drive in the images you are going to be looking at. WD will also be offering a 2TB version of the WD My Passport Slim drive that we are looking at today, but it is thicker! Just something to mention!
Inside the retail box you'll find the portable hard drive, 1.5-foot USB 3.0 cable, soft pouch, warranty card and the Quick Install Guide. WD lists that the WD SmartWare software, WD Security and WD Drive Utilities are included in the box, but you won't be getting a disc or flash drive with the bundle as the software is already on the portable hard drive. The WD My Passport Ultra comes backed by a 3-year warranty that covers both parts and labor.
The WD My Passport Slim 1TB looks good with a silver metal housing on top with the WD logo and product name. The bottom half of the drive is a metal casing that is finished in cobalt blue. The finish on the My Passport Slim is nice and doesn't appear to show finger prints and smudges.
The one major complaint with the top surface is that the WD logo is metal and held on with adhesive. If you rub your finger or thumb across it you'll actually cut yourself with the sharp points in the W logo. It also collects fiber from your pocket or anything else you rub it against! The easy solution to this is to carefully remove the WD logo plaque and the problem is solved. We also noticed shortly after using the My Passport Slim after a couple weeks that the drive housing doesn't show fingerprints, but the finish does scuff. If you click on the image above you can see the scuff to the left of the corner that won't rub off and some crud stuck in the WD logo.
Flipping the My Passport Slim over we see the part number, serial number, where it was produced (Malaysia) and a whole bunch of logos showing government compliances that the drive has for various countries around the world. This is the first WD My Passport drive that we have ever received that didn't have any rubber pads or 'feet' on the bottom of the drive to keep it from sliding around on the surface that it will be placed. We have mixed feelings about this, but the design is obviously final.
At the end of the WD My Passport slim you can see the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port and off to the right of that there is a very small white LED activity indicator light. Even if you don't have USB 3.0 today you can use this drive and then down the road when you invest in a PC that has USB 3.0 it will work and actually be faster. Pretty much every new Desktop PC or laptop feature at least two USB 3.0 ports. Since the WD My Passport Ultra uses a derivative of a notebook hard drive it gets it power from the USB 3.0 port, so no power adapter needs to be plugged into the wall. This means the only cable that you need to bring with you when traveling is the USB 3.0 data cable that comes with the drive.
Here we have a shot for size comparison. On the left you have the original WD My Passport 2TB portable drive that is 21mm thick. The new WD My Passport Slim 1TB looks small with it's 12.3mm thickness. To be fair the 2TB version of the My Passport Slim is 17.8mm thick, but you get the idea. If you have a really old portable drive give it a quick measurement or do a dime test. The WD My Passport Slim 1TB is just shy of 12 US dimes in thickness.
When it comes to software you get WD Drive Utilities, WD Security and WD SmartWare Pro backup software. These programs allow you to choose when and where you backup your files, but it also allows you to password protect and hardware encrypt the files on the drive, run diagnostics and more. You can also now use your Dropbox account, if you have one, to back up your files to the cloud. The WD My Passport allows you to back everything up locally on traditional media and then to the cloud if you want it, which is a nice touch.
Let's fire this drive up and take a look at the general performance.
Performance w/ CrystalDiskMark and ATTO
CrystalDiskMark is a small HDD benchmark utility for your hard drive that enables you to rapidly measure sequential and random read/write speeds.
1000MB Files Test Benchmark on the My Passport Ultra 1TB:
On our ASUS UX31A Zenbook we found the WD My Passport Slim 1TB USB 3.0 portable drive reach 109 MB/s read and 108 MB/s write in the sequential test. Not bad performance numbers from a 5400 RPM notebook hard drive, but we are clearly limited by the hard drive and not the USB 3.0 interface.
ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.47
ATTO is one of the oldest hard drive benchmarks that is still used today. ATTO measures transfers across a specific volume length. It measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes and places the data into graphs that you can easily interpret. The benchmark was run with file sizes from 0.5kb through 8192kb with the total length being 256mb.
Benchmark Results: The WD My Passport Slim 1TB USB 3.0 drive hit 111 MB/s read and 110 MB/s write in ATTO, which is a popular benchmark in the storage community.
HD Tune Pro 5.50 Benchmarking
HD Tune Pro 5.50 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.
Read Performance Testing
Benchmark Results: The WD My Passport Slim 1TB portable drive had an average read speed of 81.8MB/s with a burst speed of 143.7MB/s and an access time of 16.3ms. The read performance is fairly linear and started out at 107MB/s on the outer edges of the platters before slowing to ~50MB/s on the inner sectors.
Benchmark Results: The WD My Passport Slim 1TB random access benchmark comes in with some pretty solid results and we were impressed that the max access time was under 70ms for each transfer size.
Write Performance Testing
Benchmark Results: The WD My Passport Slim 1TB had an average write speed of 77.7MB/s with a burst speed of 124.0MB/s and an access time of 15.9ms.
Benchmark Results: The WD My Passport Slim 1TB random access write benchmark came in with solid scores for a rotational drive.
Benchmark Results: The file benchmark results look good with greater than 100 MB/s writes for most file sizes over 16KB. Our real world testing and file backups bounced around a bit, but for the most part were between 75-100MB/s. The drive also felt warm to the touch during use, but never got much hotter than 31-32C during use.
Free Space and Final Thoughts
Taking a look at the capacity of the WD My Passport Slim 1TB USB 3.0 portable hard drive we see that in Windows, there is 931GB available to the user as reported by Windows. This is with the applications and folders that WD shipped with on the drive. The WD software and users guides take up about 481 MB of space.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions:
The Western Digital My Passport Slim 1TB drive performed as expected and the included software worked flawlessly. The performance of the drive was found to be good, but nothing Earth shattering by any means. For example in CrystalDiskMark we got ~108MB/s sequential read/write on the My Passport Slim 1TB and 115MB/s sequential read/write on the My Passport Ultra 1TB. This drive is quick, but it is by no means the fastest that we have ever reviewed.
The main point of this drive is portability and and the metal exterior housing. Like we said in the introduction, WD designed this drive for mobile consumers that want a thin backup drive that matches their PC or Mac. There really isn't much more to say!
When it comes to issues or negatives our only complaints are minor design changes that were done on the new metallic enclosure. We miss the anti-slip 'feet' that have been on WD My Passport drives for years and hate the new metal logo that actually has the ability to cut you. Our suggestions to WD if they ever do a revision of this drive is to silk screen their logo on the drive as that won't hurt people and will lower costs. With that saved money, they can re-do the die to punch in some places for anti-slip pads!
At the end of the day the WD My Passport Slim 1TB drive is still a solid drive despite our couple gripes that we have with some of the new finishing touches. The WD My Passport Slim 1TB drive that we reviewed today can be found under part number WDBGMT0010BAL for $99.99 with a 3-year warranty. That is a small price to pay for the portability, capacity and file protection that you get with this portable USB 3.0 drive!
Legit Bottom Line: The WD My Passport Slim 1TB portable hard drive is WD's first attempt at a thin luxury drive that is aimed at Ultrabook users!