WD My Passport Portable 1TB SSD Review

WD My Passport Portable 1TB SSD

10

10.0/10

Save, access and protect the content that matters to you with WD My Passport Portable 1TB SSD, giving you read speeds of up to 1050MB/s and write speeds of up to 1000MB/s with NVMe™ technology.

The first thing I noticed when unboxing it was that it is considerably smaller than either of those (about half the height, despite having double the capacity), and also noticeably lighter. So I am impressed and pleased with that – it looks very sleek, and the casing feels solid, so definitely have no complaints about the plastic of the drive itself from me.

When plugged in and spinning, it is slightly noisier than my Samsung M3, but still pleasantly quiet (no noticeable seeking noises at all so far, just the constant spin). And this is with a Razer Blade Stealth (late 2019) laptop which is almost completely silent when not doing much, and the drive in front of it at the moment, so I probably wouldn’t be able to hear it at all if I wasn’t in such a quiet environment.

The cable that came with it seems to be working fine so far, but possibly is of similar bad quality to the USB-C version – it is quite stiff, possibly a bit wobbly when connected in the ports on both ends (although no loss of connection so far even when moving it) and is noticeably thinner than the cable (of the same type) that came with my Samsung M3 drive. So I might still get a better cable at some point, at least if/when this one starts to have any connection issues.

WD My Passport Portable 1TB SSD Review

WD My Passport Portable 1TB SSD Review

In terms of performance (which I’m surprised isn’t mentioned at all in the product details/marketing etc, other than I think I saw the USB 3.0 maximum speed of 5Gbit/s mentioned somewhere which is obviously ridiculous as the drive won’t be capable of anywhere near that), I’m getting maximum read/to write speeds of 126/116 MB/s in ATTO Disk Benchmark, and sequential read/write speeds of 138/116 MB/s in CrystalDiskMark (just as it came, with the NTFS formatting and nothing on it yet).

My Samsung M3 (which I remember performance being a point of when I bought it, although I hadn’t been able to make full use of that until recently as my old laptop only had USB 2) seems to be maxing out at about 85 MB/s for both read and write (although with a lot more data on it, if that makes any difference), so I’m pleased with this.

One issue I have with my old My Passport drive is that it always seems to spin down (to a lower speed if not completely off, I’m not sure) about 20 seconds after it was last accessed, and then takes about 5 seconds to get going when something tries to access it again, which can get very frustrating.

I’ve tried increasing/turning off the sleep timer in both WD Drive Utilities and the Windows Power Management “Turn off hard disk after” setting, but neither makes any difference, it seems to have its own fixed internal idle timer for some sort of low-power mode which even WD’s own software can’t change. Thankfully that doesn’t seem to be an issue with this new drive.

I’ve tried enabling the encryption on this drive to see if it makes any difference to performance – it doesn’t, but as the “encryption” process is so basic (it’s basically just setting a password on the drive in the “WD Security” software, and it seems to take effect immediately), I’m guessing the drive is actually encrypted at the hardware level all the time (as otherwise, it would surely take time to encrypt/decrypt the existing data when setting/unsetting the password).

WD My Passport Portable 1TB SSD Review

So I’d say that’s a drawback as it means even if you don’t use the drive encryption, if the controller fails but not the drive itself, you can’t take out the actual drive and connect it up to something else, but on the other hand, you apparently can’t do that with these particular WD drives anyway as the controller board is soldered directly to the drive rather than it using standard SATA connectors or anything.

I’m not sure how the password system would work if you connect it to other devices such as phones/tablets etc (on Windows, the drive having a password set causes it to appear as a CD drive with an executable file on it which you run and enter the password into, which then causes the actual hard drive to show up as well), but if I wanted the drive encrypted I don’t think I’d rely on this as a solution anyway as WD’s system apparently has a lot of vulnerabilities.

I also tried enabling write caching for the drive in Windows (before trying the encryption), but it seemed to make barely any difference at all (write speeds very slightly higher, read speeds possibly actually lower, but probably all within the margin of error anyway) so I’m going to leave that off as it’s not worth the extra risk if the drive gets disconnected by accident (especially if the cable does become dodgy).

Overall, the WD My Passport Portable 1TB SSD is a superb portable storage option.

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