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Lifewire / Jordan Oloman
Automatic backup system
Fantastic storage capacity
Above average transfer speeds
Needs external power to function
Western Digital’s 8 TB My Book hard drive is the perfect storage solution if you’re looking for a static drive to hold a vast amount of video and project files, but it isn’t really worth it if you’re looking for portability.
When you’re looking at the portable storage market, you may be tempted to think that bigger is better. This is exactly the premise behind Western Digital’s 8 TB My Book, a sizable piece external hard drive with an uncompromising storage capacity. With its sleek design and extra software features, it seems a safe bet, but you do end up sacrificing portability for sheer capacity.
Weighing in at 3 pounds, the 8TB My Book is heavier than most external hard drives, and will weigh down your backpack. This is for good reason though, seeing as it holds a gigantic eight terabytes of storage space. Regardless, this does make it difficult to recommend from a portability viewpoint. At 5.5 x 6.7 inches (HW), it’s about the size of a thick hardback book.
Luckily, a lot of the design choices make up for its heft. There are two steady grips on the bottom to secure it to any desk, and the glossy/textured split on the upper and lower of the device is aesthetically pleasing, and won’t look out of place in an office setting. It’s a minimalist, uniform design used across Western Digital’s range of products.
Weighing in at three pounds, the 8TB My Book is heavier than most external hard drives, and will weigh down your backpack.
As you can imagine, this means it's not really suited for the traveling creator, unless you’re just commuting between work and home. This is due to the fact that it needs an external power source to function and is fairly heavy. Tethering the use of your storage to a plug socket makes it difficult to use when you’re out on the go in public, so this is certainly a better fit for consumers who want a storage device that is home-bound. When in use, emits a hum and some vibrations, but the sound shouldn’t be loud enough to bother you as long as you keep it upright.
Aside from the 12V plug socket port on the back of the device needed to power it, there is but one lone connector, a micro-B output port. You get a USB-A 3.0 cable included in the box, but that’s about it. It’s a standard cable that will let you connect to a whole host of devices, but with the advent of USB-C, it would have been nice to see one of these in the box too.
Plenty of modern equipment is starting to switch towards USB-C, like Apple’s iPad and MacBook products. It’s not totally out of the question for other devices either, as Samsung’s T5 portable SSD provides both a USB-A and C cables. Fortunately, a USB-C cable is under $10 at most online outlets, so it’s a relatively inexpensive fix if you do need to upgrade the connectivity capability of the My Book.
Once you’ve finished unboxing the My Book, plug it in via the USB-A port on your PC, and a nearby plug point. Once it's warmed up, you’ll find it in your File Explorer. Launch the Install Discovery app held on the storage device itself. This lets you import files from cloud storage and social media, and will sync all of your content.
From here, you can set a password for the device and download a suite of apps as part of the Western Digital software package. These include Creative Cloud, WD Backup, Plex, and Norton Antivirus. After that, you’re free to use it like any other hard disk drive. The friendly user interface is more intuitive than other bare-bones devices which rely on the File Explorer alone.
A final note, the My Book is compatible with Apple’s Time Machine system and has 256-bit AES hardware encryption built in if you feel the need to secure your files with a password.
Easily one of the major benefits of the My Book is it’s massive 8TB storage capacity, but that’s worthless unless it runs at a decent speed. Luckily, the results of our testing were very impressive.
Using CrystalDiskMark, the My Book managed a read speed of 190.6 MB/s and a write speed of 189.5 MB/s, which is above average. At almost 200 MB/s, the My Book distances itself from the My Passport and Seagate’s Backup Plus, which operate around the 130 Mb/s range. It still can’t reach the blazing fast read/write of a portable SSD like Samsung’s T5 which has speeds close to the 500 Mb/s mark, but it’s still very impressive for a hard-drive that doesn’t compromise on storage space.
My Book managed a read speed of 190.6 Mb/s and a write speed of 189.5 Mb/s, which is more than above average.
In another test, we timed the transfer of a 2GB folder between the drive and the desktop. Western Digital’s My Book managed it in 13 seconds, which is much better than the competition. My Passport and Seagate’s Backup Plus both completed the same task in 18 and 19 seconds respectively. It’s a fairly granular difference, but if you’re looking to lower the amount of time waiting for your files to transfer this could well be the device for you.
At $299.99 (MSRP) the My Book is more expensive than most of the competition, but this is understandable due to the fact that you get a whopping 8TB of storage. It does often dip to around the $160 range, which is a much more competitive price. Most smaller hard drives don’t venture into this range and top out at around 4TB, so it can be quite a deal if you get it on sale.
Feature-wise, the M Book is definitely more fleshed out than the competition with its intuitive software package, auto backup, and encryption tools. It also comes with a healthy three-year limited warranty.
The WD 8TB My Book is easy to recommend if you need a large amount of uncompromising storage for your files, but it isn’t very portable, which undermines its use case. It’s all well and good if you want to keep it on your desk at home, but you can’t take it with you like other self-sufficient hard drives due to its need for an external power source.
This hard drive is easy to recommend if you need a large amount of uncompromising storage for your files.
The WD My Passport only has 1TB of storage (with a 4TB option as well), but you can slip it in your back pocket and simply connect it via USB to get going. It’s also a fraction of the price, usually around $50. If you are a speed demon who doesn’t care so much for the high storage capacity, you might also be tempted by the Samsung T5 portable solid-state drive, which has a maximum speed of 540 Mb/s.
It all depends on how much storage you need, but it’s hard to recommend when you could just buy two 4 TB My Passport drives (which retail at $159.99 each) for a more compact means of transporting your data, without the need for a plug socket. It’s a little bit of extra cost, but it might be worthwhile if you’re constantly on the move with travel or work. On the other hand, as a hard drive that stays on your table at home, the 8TB My Book offers plenty of space for the price.
Good for home users, but lacking in portability.
The Western Digital My Book is easy to recommend home users who want a static drive with an uncompromising amount of storage. However, with its hefty price tag and weight, it’s not very portable compared to the competition, many of which don’t require plug sockets and can easily fit in your back pocket.