Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Lifewire / Jordan Oloman
Excellent storage capacity for the price
Slower than a portable SSD
No fancy features
Western Digital’s 1TB My Passport drive is a cheap external hard drive for those whose storage needs aren’t too demanding.
When you’re considering a portable storage drive, size matters. Western Digital is known for giving you a lot of bang for your buck, capacity-wise. We’ve been testing the 1TB My Passport to find out if it is still the best storage bargain available with its many features and appealing price tag, or if the market has evolved beyond it.
The WD My Passport weighs just 6 ounces and measures 4.33 by 3.21 inches (HW), meaning you can easily stow it in a small backpack pocket, but obviously, it won’t fit in your jeans. It’s still a small device by hard drive standards, especially when you consider the terabyte storage capacity. As well as being a handy device to back up the legions of photos and videos you’ve got on your phone or your laptop hard drive, It’s the perfect companion to a modern games console if you’re looking to bolster the internal storage of a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.
The WD My Passport weighs just six ounces and measures 4.33 by 3.21 inches (HW), meaning you can easily stow it in a small backpack pocket.
My Passport looks the part too, with a glossy upper and a textured bottom. It’s a professional design that Western Digital uses across its product range. It stands out whilst not being too gaudy. With a three-year limited warranty, you can be fairly liberal with how you treat this drive, but it’s still not rugged enough to survive water damage, excessive dust or a substantial drop. The WD My Passport also has four tiny grips on the bottom to keep it stuck to your desk or surface if it’s going to be a static drive rather than a portable one.
Just one port is present on the WD My Passport, a micro-B port with a USB 3.0 cable in the box. Sadly, it doesn’t come with a USB-C cable on the side, which would have been useful to increase the range of connectivity right out of the box. The main problem is the micro-B port being the solo connector. A USB-C offering would be far more universal and applicable to a wider range of devices. On the flipside, there’s a handy blinking light that flickers to let you know when files are transferring.
Once you unbox the My Passport, simply plug it in and you’re ready to go. Optional software is built into the device itself, so head to your resident File Explorer and click on the WD Discovery icon. This will sit in your taskbar and let you see the range of WD devices you own, as well as giving you the ability to install a backup and security system application to encrypt your files if necessary.
The user interface is friendly and the software is especially helpful if you plan to own a range of Western Digital devices. If you’ve got one of their cloud storage hubs you can access it from any computer. Most importantly, it’s non-invasive and won’t get in the way of the rest of your tasks.
Now if we want to get down to business, we have to talk speed. The review model we tested is a 1TB hard disk drive, but Western Digital has a variety of larger storage options which are useful for users with more demanding needs. If you’re a videographer keen on transporting giant 4K files, naturally you’re going to lean towards the more sizeable offerings. If you’re just planning on backing up those photos on your computer though, 1TB should be more than enough space.
In our testing via the CrystalDiskMark tool, we found that the My Passport had a dependable read speed of 135.8 MB/s and an equally solid write speed of 122.1 MB/s. This is average as far as portable hard drives go, transferring your files at a reliable pace when you’re on the go. It’s nothing special, but it’ll get the job done.
In another test, we transferred a folder with 2GB of data across the range of portable devices we were testing. The WD My Passport managed this task in 19 seconds, which is again, a standard result. It lags behind compared to Samsung’s T5 Portable SSD, which pulled off the same task in 8 seconds.
Western Digital’s 1TB My Passport is by far the cheapest option on the market, especially when considering bang for your buck. Hovering around $50, it’s dirt cheap for a terabyte drive from a reliable brand. There’s not much to grumble at price-wise, but you may be tempted by other options in the market depending on your use case. SSDs will cost more, but the tradeoff in speed may be worth it.
Western Digital’s 1TB My Passport is by far the cheapest option on the market, especially when considering bang for your buck.
The WD My Passport's main competition is primarily from larger storage drives, but this depends heavily on your use case. You might be tempted by more storage if you’re planning to juggle multiple video projects at once or if you’re looking to create a media server or backup games. In that case, it’s easy to recommend the incremental upgrades from WD themselves. Bumping the capacity up to 4TB will cost you $129.99 (MSRP) at the top end, which will fix your storage worries if you have 4K video or other large files to store.
Outside of WD, there’s nothing really close to it at this low price point. You could consider Samsung’s T5 Portable SSD range if you’re looking to attain much higher read/write speeds, but you would be sacrificing storage space since the 500GB T5 is double the price of the 1TB My Passport. It’s a question of speed over storage. If you’re a casual user just looking for quick transfer of assets rather than a static backup drive, perhaps you should steer towards the solid-state offerings.
An attractive bargain.
Western Digital’s 1TB My Passport is an attractive bargain and a great entry point to the portable storage market. It works right out of the box and offers good capacity for the price, especially if you’re just looking to backup your most important files. The transfer speeds are nothing special, but the average user will find it sufficient for backing up photos, games, and files.