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Western Digital My Passport Elite 500GB review

Western DigitalMy Passport Elite 500GB
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £78
inc VAT

Western Digital's My Passport is a slender and quick portable hard disk, but there are better-value disks available.


hard disk, USB2, 12x83x111mm

The Western Digital My Passport Elite is a few millimeters smaller than most of the other USB portable disks we’ve seen. It’s attractive, too, thanks to its metallic red finish in the case of our review sample, and a soft velvety texture.

Included with the Passport is a docking station which, Western Digital claims, allows you to quickly disconnect the Passport from your computer single-handedly. We found we still had to use a second hand to stop the light dock from sliding around the desk, though. It’s still potentially useful since a USB cable is still included – you could leave the cable in your laptop bag and the docking station on your desk.

Unusually, the Passport uses a microUSB connector instead of the more common miniUSB. As well as being slightly smaller than miniUSB, Western Digital claims that microUSB is more robust so it can withstand a higher number of cable inserts and disconnects. The less-common connector could prove inconvenient if you lose it or damage it and need to replace it, though.

Included on a small read-only partition on the Passport is a copy of Western Digital’s SmartWare backup program. This automatically backs up your files in the background as you work. It supports incremental and versioned backups and you can optionally encrypt your backed up files to protect them from noisy co-workers and friends. You have to use the SmartWare application to restore your data from a backup – this can’t be done using Windows Explorer.

We weren’t disappointed by the Passport’s performance in our file transfer tests. Large files were written at a respectably quick 26.9MB/s and read at a table topping 29.9MB/s. Small files were written at 23.4MB/s and read at just over 18MB/s. These speeds are in line with what we’d expect from a USB2 portable hard disk.

Although its price per gigabyte of 16p doesn’t sound much higher than other disks, it means the Elite costs £12 more than other 500GB rivals. It’s by no means a bad portable disk, but the unusual microUSB connection means the standard miniUSB-equipped disks are more appealing at their lower prices.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***


Interface USB2
Weight 142g
Size 12x83x111mm

Buying Information

Price £78
Warranty three years

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