WD MY PASSPORT - GEAR

 

WD My Passport Wireless SSD

The perfect backup solution for travel photographers

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 I LIKE TO TRAVEL LIGHT.

When I board a plane for any trip, I’ll have 2 bags. One carry-on duffel with my clothes, and a second small bag for camera gear to stow under the seat. This means I need to find a backup solution that is not only efficient, but also compact.

Back in the day, I’d travel with a laptop and backup my photos that way. I would dump my cards onto the computer, and even create duplicates on blank CDs to be safe. The problem with this was the computer was a big expensive piece of gear to be lugging around simply for backup. I was always worried it would get damaged or stolen, and I just hated the extra weight since I wasn’t needing it for anything else.  

Then I discovered the WD My Passport Wireless SSD drive.

Finally a piece of gear designed to do exactly what I needed: easily backup my photos and videos on the road, in a small, efficient, & durable way. It’s so simple to use! You can literally take your SD card, insert it into the card slot built into the drive, and it will automatically import the files onto the drive. That’s it. DONE.

You can adjust the settings so that it will auto-import files whenever you insert a card, or set it so that you need to first hit the import button first.  You can also have it only import new images from a card that has previously been imported, so no worries about duplicate copies on the drive. If this were all you needed it to do, then you would be satisfied; however, this little device has a few more features included.

Running low on power or your mobile device?  This drive works as a 6,700 mAh power bank, allowing you to use it as a charging device if needed while out & about.

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Probably one of my favourite features is the ability to access the files stored on the drive via your mobile device. The Android & iOS ‘My Cloud’ app allows you to view, and even download media from your drive to your phone or tablet. This makes it easy to share some images on social media while you are away.

Another feature is that you can stream saved video content through the ‘My Cloud’ app on your device. Recently I went on a long road trip, and my toddler got to watch a couple of her favourite movies on the iPad, streamed from the WD drive.

If you are a Plex user, then you might be happy to know that you can also set this up to be a Plex media server, streaming saved content from here to any Plex enabled device (though I did not test this feature out myself.)


THE DESIGN

Small enough to fit into a large jacket pocket (though I prefer to keep it in my backpack), and with a standard USB 3.0 charging cable, it packs a lot of feature into a small footprint for those wanting to travel light. The drive comes in a rugged case, and being a SSD drive it is much more durable compared to a spinning hard drive.  It’s claimed to withstand drops up to 1 meter, but I am not about to field test that on purpose.

There isn’t much in the way of controls, which is good in my books. Nice and simple. Two buttons to control it: a power button, and a second button that can have a couple different functions depending on how you set it up.

Along with the SD card slot, there is a USB 3.0 port.  You can do a couple things with this: Connect your phone or tablet here to charge it using the power bank, or transfer files from a USB key to your WD drive.

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AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT

There were a couple things I think could be improved on: The file storage system.  Importing files from SD cards works perfectly, but they get put into a long chain. The chain of folders ends up being something like this: Sd card Imports/2019-01-16/T09.15.55-0500/SanDisk…/DCIM/100_FUJI . That’s six folders to get through before I can see the images from that particular import. Just something to get used to when using the drive.  As I’m primarily using it as a backup solution and don’t often browse the content, I don’t mind, but I could see someone who wants to access the files more often getting annoyed by this.

Image previews are slow.  This isn’t a deal breaker, but if you’ve imported a lot of images, then generating previews is painfully slow.  For the same reasons as mentioned above, I’m not terribly bothered by it, but found that if I wanted to see a preview of an image that was towards the end of my import, I had to wait.

The included power cord is short.  I suppose it keeps it more compact, but I would have liked a longer cord so I don’t need to keep the drive a foot away from the outlet where it is charging.  Luckily it is a standard USB power cord that works for most external drives, and so I have a longer one I can bring with me when I travel.

The cost.  It is not only a SSD drive—it has some pretty advanced features so that naturally comes with a price.  Ranging in size from 250GB to 2TB, you can expect to pay anywhere from $199-$799USD. Considering the size and features, I do believe it is worth the expense if you don’t want the trouble and worry of bringing a laptop. They also have a non-SSD version as well, which has all the same features, but with a standard spinning HDD inside.  These range from 1-4TB and cost between $149-$219 US.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Now that I have used this drive, I don’t think I would ever look back!  As a photographer who likes to travel light, I think it is the perfect solution for backing up files while on the road. Considering the extra features that it includes in a rugged & simple design, Western Digital has created something that should be in every travel photographers bag…Or pocket. -Shawn Moreton