WD My Passport Wireless SSD
A MUST-HAVE TOOL IN EVERY TRAVELLING PHOTOGRAPHER’S BAG.
IF YOU’RE SHOOTING LOTS OF BIG PHOTOS IN RAW, OR FILMING VIDEO IN 4K, GETTING THOSE BACK ONTO YOUR EDITING RIG SHOULD BE SUBSTANTIALLY QUICKER.
STORAGE GIANT WESTERN Digital is no stranger when it comes to creating gear that serves the needs of pro photographers. Over the last few years, it’s focused on this segment with a range of devices that make transferring and backing up photos while in the field quicker and simpler. The company has now added a third product to its wireless range with this new SSD model, with the main draw being the additional speed and durability that solid-state storage provides.
The My Passport Wireless SSD has been built for life on the go: it comes packing a built-in SD card reader, 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity and a built-in battery that gives you up to 10 hours of continuous use. Once you’ve got the images from your camera’s SD card transferred, you can view them on your smartphone or tablet via a the My Cloud app, without needing to go near a computer. While the device isn’t weather- or dust-proof, it does come in a removable drop-resistant bumper, giving it a rugged look and a non-slip surface to improve grip.
Setting up the My Passport Wireless SSD is a breeze — just connect via Wi-Fi using the details on the sticker on the drive’s top, then log in via a web browser or the WD My Cloud app. The user interface is straightforward, and although the drive is already configured for
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immediate use, there’s a range of optional advanced features you can take advantage of. For example, users wishing to stream media (up to 4K resolution) directly from the drive can install the Plex Media Server and watch movies on their phones without consuming their precious onboard storage space.
While the older hard-drive models in WD’s wireless range are decent performers, the SSD version leaves them for dead, with a roughly threefold speed increase when transferring files to and from a PC or Mac via USB. In our tests, we clocked a top read speed of 390.1MB/s and 385.5MB/s for writes. While that doesn’t make this the fastest portable SSD money can buy — we’ve had USB SSDs hit 500MB/s — it’s a big boost over the 130MB/s you’ll see from the fastest conventional hard drives. If you’re shooting lots of big photos in RAW, or filming video in 4K, getting those back onto your editing rig should be substantially quicker.
But the drive is more than just an external SSD: it offers the photographer a way to back up images from an SD card directly to the drive with a single tap. It can even transfer files from other USB flash drives as well, and can charge your devices via its USB On-the-Go port that supplies up to 1.5A of power. And with a 6,700mAh battery powering the drive, there’s honestly plenty to spare if your devices need a little more juice while you’re out on a shoot. It is, however, disappointing to see only a nonstandard 10-pin micro-B USB 3.0 port on the drive for connecting to PC — a USB-C port would have been preferred — and means you’re stuck using the included USB micro-B to USB-A cable for PC transfers. That makes connecting to newer laptops with only USB-C a pain. The other downside also involves USB — that On-the-Go port is USB 2.0 only, meaning transfers from external USB 3 devices will often be severely throttled.
If you can live with those caveats, however, this one’s a great alternative to WD’s existing wireless hard drives.
[ SHARMISHTA SARKAR ]