Western Digital’s new My Passport Wireless is designed to be a portable storage drive for all your devices, whether it’s a mobile smartphone or tablet, computer, and even a digital camera. Part of WD’s line of My Passport external portable hard drives, the small unit, which is available in capacities of 500GB ($130), 1TB ($180), and 2TB ($220), has built-in Wi-Fi for wireless file transfers or media streaming. The drive is available now.
WD has been focusing on mobile storage in its consumer offerings, with products like the My Cloud network-attached “personal cloud” storage drives, designed for offloading the gigabytes of content. (The likes of Samsung and Seagate are also in this space.) However, those drives require an Internet connection. For times when you need a direct-attached external hard drive, that’s where the My Passport Wireless steps in. For computers, you can connect the drive via USB 3.0 for a faster connection, but having Wi-Fi means you can transfer files (via WD’s My Cloud app) without worrying about what type of cable connection your mobile device uses. Two Wireless N antennas, with MIMO technology, allows for transfer speeds of up to 80 Mbps.
For photographers, the My Passport Wireless can also function as a companion to your digital camera, thanks to the SD card slot; simply pop an SD card in, and the drive automatically pulls the photos off. If you have a Wi-Fi enabled camera, you can also transfer files wirelessly using the drive’s built-in FTP protocol. These options allow both pro and casual photographers to save the hundreds of photos they take either while on assignment or on vacation.
WD is streamlining its mobile apps into one, My Cloud, which is used for its My Cloud drives. The app is intuitive to use, and supports other cloud services such as Dropbox, Microsoft’s OneDrive, and Google Drive. You can also use the app to set up the My Passport Wireless or change settings. If you have multiple WD devices that utilize the app, they all appear in the menu, and you can easily choose which one you want to upload content to (or download from). New are a media view and music player.
The portable drive can also be used as a wireless media streamer, and is compatible with devices that support the DLNA protocol. The device can stream up to four HD videos at the same time, thanks to an internal memory cache. Even more useful, My Passport Wireless can also double as a wireless hotspot, and can support up to eight devices at the same time. For example, you can pay for a single Wi-Fi connection at an airport, but share it with multiple devices – although connection speeds will take a hit.
The built-in battery charges via USB, and has up to 20 hours of standby time when not in use, and 6 hours of continuous video streaming.