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 newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Huawei Y5 (2017): Full, in depth review
- 3 LG G6 Plus: Full, in-depth review
- 4 First Look: Nikon D850
- 5 OnePlus 5: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Seagate Expands Portfolio with 12TB Drives for NAS and Desktop Computing
- Seagate joins Bain bid to take control of Toshiba Memory
- AMD Radeon Pro Graphics powers Amazon Web Services AppStream 2.0
- Western Digital to acquire Tegile
- ASUSTOR Announces Official Launch of ADM 3.0
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Canon 6D MK II
- Panasonic’s EX600U UHD HDR TV + HTB688 soundbar:
- Which case should I buy for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8?
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTAgile Business Analyst, CXOther
- FTInfrastructure ArchitectOther
- CCWintel Engineer - BrisbaneVIC
- FTProgram Director - Telecommunications (FTK, CW and SAED)Other
- CCFull Stack DeveloperNSW
- FTQlikview Technical LeadOther
- CCSharePoint DeveloperACT
- CCSalesforce DeveloperNSW
- FT.Net Developers (.Net / C# / Visual Studio)ACT
- CCWintel EngineerQLD
- FTIntegration Developer (WebSphere)Other
- FTProject AnalystOther
- CCNetwork ArchitectNSW
- TPICT Strategic Sourcing SpecialistQLD
- FTOracle Fusion Middleware ArchitectACT
- TPIT Security ManagerQLD
- FTDevOps ConsultantVIC
- TPAgile Coach & Jira + Confluence AdministrationNSW
- FTMid-Level Drupal DeveloperQLD
- CCSAP Analyst ProgrammerNSW
- FTSoftware DeveloperOther
- CCAgile Business Analyst - BrisbaneQLD
- CCMessageQueue/DataPower AdministratorVIC
- FTMerchandise Floor PlannerOther
- CCICT Desktop Support OfficerACT