Roundup: Hand-Held Hard Drives With Up To 500 GB

Western Digital My Passport Elite 500 GB (WDML5000)

Western Digital’s branded product line seems to be doing well. The My Passport Elite is one of five different products that cater to the same market segment, but differ in terms of features. The My Passport Elite definitely is the most flexible of them all, though it doesn’t offer the FireWire interface of the My Passport Studio. The Elite offers a capacity gauge that is implemented by four LEDs located on the front part of the case, it comes with a comprehensive software bundle, and of course it is USB bus-powered. Its performance maxes out the USB 2.0 bandwidth by reaching approximately 31.8 MB/s of maximum throughput.

The My Passport Elite is available in six different colors. These aren’t as fancy as Seagate’s selection, but frog green wouldn’t really be suitable for an “elite” product. WD offers 500, 400, 320, and 250 GB capacities, which are provided by WD Scorpio Blue hard drives. The 500 GB flagship model we received for review weighs in at 180 g and Western Digital also includes a protective bag.

Backup: Cool

WD bundles its software Anywhere Backup. An assistant helps with configuring the tool, which permits backing up data not only to your My Passport drive, but also to network locations, other USB drives, and even an iPod. The software supports versioning and allows users to select popular items such as My Documents or Internet Explorer settings, but you can also freely select other locations to be included. WD supports 128 bit encryption, too.

Sync: Cooler

WD Sync is used to keep data on your My Passport and your PC in sync. You can select Outlook and Windows Mail, but other mail programs aren’t supported. However, you can make your own selection and include browser settings as well. Synchronized data will be stored within an encrypted container on the My Passport Elite drive.