No mains necessary: Western Digital My Passport USB 3.0 2TB review

It used to be the case that if you wanted an external hard drive big enough to back up your entire system you had to look to mains-powered desktop solutions. Not anymore. WD’s new 2TB portable has more capacity than most existing internal drives and it’s fast enough to provide a good experience even when using it for applications like Windows To Go.

Western Digital My Passport USB 3.0 2TB

It beat out the other portable drives in our performance tests producing the fastest results we’d yet seen in a portable. It actually wrote large files at close to 80MB/s which rivalled the desktop drives tested.

It’s slightly thicker than most other portables to account for the slightly larger hard drive inside. Although still a 2.5in ‘notebook’ drive the internal drive is 15mm thick compared to the 12.5mm typically used in drives between 750GB and 1.5TB and the 9.5mm of smaller drives. Even with the thicker internal drive the total package is still only 21mm thick and weighs just 230g so it’s certainly not a blowout and it’s somewhat lighter than the Seagate.

Like most WD external drives the My Passport 2TB comes with its own SmartWare backup solution which is really worth installing. Unlike Windows Backup it doesn’t work on a schedule — it updates files in the backup as they’re changed on the source drive. It’s easy to use and works really well and is one of the major benefits of choosing WD.

Available from Western Digital retailing for $300.

APC rating: 9/10 (Editor’s Choice)