Western Digital My Passport Essential SE USB 3.0 external hard drive
Western Digital My Passport Essential SE review: This 1TB portable hard drive offers USB 3.0 support
- Fast USB 3.0 read/write speeds, compact design, 256-bit hardware encryption, affordable price
- No mini-USB connection
The Western Digital My Passport Essential SE is a fast and compact high-capacity hard drive that ticks all the right boxes. If your PC is USB 3.0-ready, you will not be disappointed.
Price$ 239.00 (AUD)
The Western Digital My Passport Essential SE is a portable 1TB external hard drive with USB 3.0 support. It comes bundled with WD’s SmartWare management software and 256-bit AES hardware encryption. Compact and impressively fast, the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE is an ideal mass storage device for media fans on the go. That said, you will need access to a USB 3.0–capable computer to make the most of this hard drive.
The Western Digital My Passport Essential SE is surprisingly compact for a 1TB hard drive. With dimensions of 83x110x18mm, it will easily fit inside your purse or jacket pocket. The version we tested was finished in glossy black plastic. While prone to fingerprints, it remains a sleek, attractive hard drive.
The WD My Passport Essential SE utilises four 250GB platters spinning at 5400rpm. The device is powered through USB, so there’s no need to carry around a separate power supply. (This is especially handy for overseas travellers, as you won’t need to invest in yet another international power adaptor.)
The Western Digital My Passport Essential SE has a USB 3.0 connection for fast file transfers; you will need a USB 3.0–compatible motherboard to make use of this feature. Unfortunately, this means you can’t use a mini-USB cable with the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE — if you lose or misplace the included cord, you’ll need to go out and purchase another one. Consequently, if your computer lacks USB 3.0 support, we’d recommend going for another hard drive.
The bundled WD SmartWare software categorises data on both your PC and the hard drive based on file extensions. You can then choose which types of files to back up. (The software supports sequential backups for up to 25 versions of the same file.) Although it’s straightforward and easy to use, the interface isn’t as impressive as Hitachi’s LifeStudio (as found on hard drives such as the Hitachi LifeStudio Desk Plus). Eschewing fancy 3D and interactive media walls, it instead gets the job done with minimal fuss.
To test the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE's USB 2.0 transfer speeds, we copied files back and forth between the drive and our testbed equipped with a Intel Core i7 965, 300GB Western Digital Velociraptor drive and 6GB of DDR3 RAM. We also copied the folders from one location on the LifeStudio Desk Plus to another, to test its speed when simultaneously reading and writing files.
The first test consisted of 3GB worth of 1MB files, which simulates installing applications and backing up system files. In the second test, we used a 20GB folder of 3-4GB files, including high-definition movies. Let’s take a look at how it compared to other external hard drives on the market:
|Small File (3GB) Transfer Test Results|
|Western Digital My Passport Essential SE||$250.00||1TB||USB 2.0||18.4||12.9||10.6|
|Hitachi XL Desktop Drive||$250.00||2TB||USB 2.0||19.1||8.2||5.8|
|Western Digital My Book Elite||$399.99||2TB||USB 2.0||24.6||15.2||10.2|
|LaCie Starck Desktop Hard Drive||$199||1TB||USB 2.0||28.8||17.1||10.5|
|Hitachi LifeStudio Desk Plus||$250.00||2TB||USB 2.0||14||8.7||8.1|
|Large File (20GB) Transfer Test Results|
|Western Digital My Passport Essential SE||$250.00||1TB||USB 2.0||26.9||23.7||12.7|
|Hitachi XL Desktop Drive||$250.00||2TB||USB 2.0||29.7||22.6||12.6|
|Western Digital My Book Elite||$399.99||2TB||USB 2.0||27.7||24.1||11.3|
|LaCie Starck Desktop Hard Drive||$199||1TB||USB 2.0||30.3||25.7||12.7|
|Hitachi LifeStudio Desk Plus||$250.00||2TB||USB 2.0||28.8||18.9||12.7|
In our USB 2.0 tests, the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE exhibited average read/write speeds. However, it gave an appropriately speedy USB 3.0 performance, with a write speed of 58MBps in our large file transfer test and 20.8MBps in our small file transfer test. The Western Digital My Passport Essential SE remained relatively cool and quiet throughout operation.
Become a fan of PC World Australia on Facebook
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review
- 2 Portable power: Venom Blackbook 13 Zero review
- 3 Alcatel Idol 4S review: King of the mid-range?
- 4 Witness a 241% Australian price hike: Dell Latitude 7370 review
- 5 Is this the best value phone on the market? Moto G4 Plus review
Latest News Articles
- Intel will provide early access to fast Optane SSDs via the cloud
- Samsung’s massive 15TB SSD can be yours -- for about $10K
- WD's new external drive is the first self-contained, fully portable Plex media server
- AMD gets into SSDs with value Radeon R3 drives. But US only for now.
- How to recover data from a corrupt hard drive or SSD with no backup on Mac: How to delete corrupted files on external Mac drive
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- FTApplication Support ManagerNSW
- CCMS Access DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior IoT / M2M .Net DeveloperVIC
- CCComms project specialistVIC
- CCProgram Director, Cyber Security TransformationNSW
- FTUNIX, LINUX , VM System AdministrationNSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (.NET/SQL Server) 160829/AP/267Asia
- CCSecurity ArchitectACT
- CCJava DeveloperACT
- FTWeb Analytics SpecialistNSW
- FTFull Stack Application Developer - IoT projectsVIC
- CCData Centre Solutions Architect - Red Hat, Wintel & VMware - CanberraACT
- CCSolution Architect - WMS/LogisticsVIC
- FTSenior Business AnalystVIC
- CCBackfill Support Engineer (Renewable 12-month Contract)Asia
- FTMicrosoft Enterprise Project Management - Technical ConsultantACT
- CCSr. Project Manager- Infrastructure- Data Centre,VirtualizationNSW
- FTApplication AdministratorACT
- FTClient Engagement ManagerVIC
- CCSenior Security Specialist - McAfeeVIC
- CCFacilities ManagerACT
- CCData Analyst - multiples roles - EAM experience requiredNSW
- CCIT Assistant (Infrastructure/PC LAN Support) 160825/ITA/864Asia
- CCChange LeadsNSW
- FTInfrastructure Engineer - Cloud computingAsia