Western Digital My Passport Studio 500GB external hard drive
A fast external hard drive with FireWire 800 and an electronic label
- FireWire 800 provides fast transfer speeds, FireWire 400 to 800 adapter provided, hardware encryption
- WD SmartWare backup software has limitations, eInk label is largely a gimmick
Western Digital charges a premium for its flagship Mac-formatted external hard drive, but the addition of an eInk label and the faster FireWire 800 interface make it a worthwhile choice of you need to transfer large files.
Price$ 239.99 (AUD)
Mac users rejoice: Western Digital has finally upgraded its My Passport external hard drive range with a FireWire 800 interface. This means faster transfers, though the considerably thicker enclosure is a slight trade-off for Nudie-wearing hipsters.
The biggest difference between Western Digital's Studio-branded external hard drives and the company's Essential models has traditionally been connectivity. The WD My Passport Studio offers up both USB 2.0 and the speedier FireWire 800, while the Essential models only have the former. As we noted with the My Passport Essential SE, WD is using micro-USB ports, which are allegedly sturdier than starndard USB ports but the cables can be more annoying to replace.
FireWire 800 is a great inclusion if you have a compatible device; it has a theoretical maximum bandwidth of 800 megabits per second. USB 2.0 is restricted to 480Mbps. It's also known to have a higher average throughput when transferring large files, which should mean faster overall performance using the interface. Western Digital even includes a FireWire 800 to 400 adapter, which means you'll be able to use the connection with older Macs and Windows PCs like the HP Pavilion Slimline S5380a.
The downside, though, is that FireWire 800 is a large interface, which means the My Passport Studio is bulkier than it would be otherwise. It's even slightly thicker than the higher capacity My Passport SE, so it might not fit in small pockets so easily.
An unusual feature of the WD My Passport Studio is its electronic label, which is like the one found on the My Book Elite. The eInk display is similar to the screens of e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle, and essentially acts as a capacity gauge and volume label. You can change the label with the bundled Windows and Mac-compatible WD SmartWare software and it can stay visible without power for six months. If you have multiple external hard drives, you can label what each one is used for.
Western Digital doesn’t include any formatting tools, so if you choose to change between Windows and Mac file systems, you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way. Thankfully, all bundled software is protected on the drive; if you do format, you won’t lose any of the utilities like you would on the Hitachi SimpleDRIVE Mini.
WD SmartWare lets you change your hard drive's label.
The bundled WD SmartWare software acts as a configuration hub for the hard drive, letting you configure the eInk label and manage the 256-bit AES hardware encryption and backup schedules.
WD SmartWare's backup utility is, like the HP SimpleSave Portable, designed to be intuitive and largely automatic. After categorising data on your computer and the external hard drive based on file extensions, WD SmartWare lets you choose which types of file formats to back up. While certainly simple, it doesn't let users set custom extensions, so obscure formats are simply be listed as "other" and bundled with miscellaneous system files. WD SmartWare supports up to 25 sequential backups of the same file, though the scope of configuration isn't as great as that offered by the BlackArmor WS 110.
Unfortunately, all the extra features do affect the price tag somewhat; with the current RRP you can expect a cost per formatted gigabyte of 51.6c. By contrast, a 500GB external hard drive without all the extra functionality (like the Astone ISO GEAR 290) will cost you about 32c per formatted gigabyte.
|Small File (3GB) Transfer Test Results|
|Western Digital My Passport Studio||$239.99||500GB||USB 2.0||25.4||13.1||7.2|
|Hitachi SimpleDRIVE Mini||$109||320GB||USB 2.0||26.1||17.5||11|
|LaCie Rikiki (USB Boost enabled)||$159||500GB||USB 2.0||30.9||17.2||11.1|
|LaCie Starck Mobile Hard Drive||$139||320GB||USB 2.0||24.5||17.1||11.1|
|Astone ISO GEAR 290||$149||500GB||USB 2.0||20.5||13.5||9.7|
|HP SimpleSave Portable||$139||320GB||USB 2.0||20.4||12.6||8.2|
|Transcend StoreJet 25M-R||$159.95||320GB||USB 2.0||23.8||15.3||7.2|
|Western Digital My Passport SE||$379||1TB||USB 2.0||26.7||11.7||7.6|
|Large File (20GB) Transfer Test Results|
|Western Digital My Passport Studio||$239.99||500GB||USB 2.0||28.1||21.2||9.7|
|Hitachi SimpleDRIVE Mini||$109||320GB||USB 2.0||28.9||23.8||12.7|
|LaCie Rikiki (USB Boost enabled)||$159||500GB||USB 2.0||37.7||26.7||13.3|
|LaCie Starck Mobile Hard Drive||$139||320GB||USB 2.0||27.4||25.9||12.7|
|Astone ISO GEAR 290||$149||500GB||USB 2.0||28.7||25.2||11.5|
|HP SimpleSave Portable||$139||320GB||USB 2.0||27.9||25.1||11.6|
|Transcend StoreJet 25M-R||$159.95||320GB||USB 2.0||28.5||24.3||11.9|
|Western Digital My Passport SE||$379||1TB||USB 2.0||31.4||24.8||11.2|
The My Passport Studio is an average performer when using the USB 2.0 connection, and you can expect similar results when using the FireWire 400 adapter. However, the FireWire 800 interface means you’ll be able to transfer large files at a much faster rate.
While we’re not convinced that an eInk label is useful on a portable hard drive, the FireWire 800 interface is certainly a godsend for Mac users who want to transfer large files regularly. Power users may want to invest in a better backup suite, however.
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Join the PC World newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Google Daydream VR headset
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
Acer Swift 7
Huawei Mate 9
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HP Pavilion x360 13”
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Surface Pro 4
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 4 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 5 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
Latest News Articles
- LastPass is scrambling to fix another serious vulnerability
- Blockchain can help secure medical devices, improve patient privacy
- Epson launches new high-speed Enterprise inkjet printer
- Russia will strike US elections again, FBI warns
- ASIC to offer blockchain guidance to businesses
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTAEM Architect - Blue Chip companyNSW
- FTHelpdesk Support - Level 2VIC
- FTDelivery ExecutiveSA
- CCDomino SpecialistVIC
- FTImplementation LeadVIC
- TPBusiness Analyst | HealthQLD
- CCDigital Business ArchitectACT
- FTLinux System AdminstratorQLD
- CCNetwork and Cloud SMENSW
- FTSolution Architect - StorageVIC
- FTHadoop Service AdministratorNSW
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Forecasting SASNSW
- CCBusiness Analyst- Data GovernanceNSW
- TPApplication Support EngineerQLD
- CCBig Data Developer - Government - 12 Month Contract - SydneyNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- CCWeb Devops EngineerNSW
- FTProduct Manager - FintechNSW
- FTCloud Infrastructure Specialist - Azure/AWSNSW
- TPSenior Business Project ManagerNSW
- FTSAP Data Migration LeadNSW
- TPSAP BA - Source to PayQLD
- TPSenior Performance TesterQLD
- CCPeoplesoft ConsultantNSW