Portable Storage: Convenience is the Key

Western Digital Passport (250 GB)

Western Digital's portable hard drive is called Passport, which is an appropriate name for a product that might spend most of its time traveling with its owner. The Passport starts at capacities as low as 60 and 80 GB, but there are mainstream capacities of 120 and 160 GB, and the 250 GB model that we received for review. We expect 320 GB models to be available soon, as WD has been shipping its 2.5" 320 GB Scorpio hard drive for a few weeks now.

If you look at the WD website you'll read about the three-year product warranty and see that there are several colors available: black, white, red and green; the black and white units are glossy, while the other two look metallic. While we like the look, note that these surfaces are very sensitive to fingerprints: one or our editors joked that WD should bundle a cleaning cloth. But at least the Scorpio came with a nice carrying bag, which also holds the USB cable.

The Passport 250 GB offered the quickest access time in this roundup, and high data transfer rates of up to 32 MB/s, which is the maximum you can expect from USB 2.0. Like the other drives, the Passport is powered through a single USB cable. WD doesn't provide a split cable to use a second USB port for auxiliary power.

  • After 6 hours of "copying" the contents of my C drive using the Safety feature - which indicated that it had copied 260+MB successfully, nothing was written to the drive. This is worse than useless because if I had not checked to see how much space was still available I would not have realized I had no backup to recover from. Seagate Technical support confirmed my observations. Drive was fine, software was useless.