Storage large Western Digital is not any stranger with regards to storage gear aimed particularly at professional photographers. Over the previous few years, it’s centered on this phase with a variety of gadgets that make transferring and backing up pictures whereas within the area faster and less complicated – chief amongst them its two earlier Wi-Fi-equipped 'My Passport Wi-fi' arduous drives.
The corporate’s now added a 3rd product to this wi-fi vary within the type of a brand new solid-state drive (SSD) mannequin, with its important draw being the extra velocity and sturdiness that SSD storage offers.
Admittedly, the enhance in velocity and reliability comes at a steep value, however if you take into consideration the built-in SD card reader and the Wi-fi SSD’s capability to maintain your different gadgets charged whereas out and about, it could nonetheless be a price price paying.
Pricing and availability
WD’s My Passport Wi-fi SSD is on the market in capacities of 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB with costs starting from $230 / £220 / AU$429 for the 250GB mannequin to $800 / £700 / AU$1,399 fo the 2TB model.
There’s a two-year guarantee from the producer and likewise a 30-day a reimbursement assure in choose markets.
Design & key options
Like its arduous drive-equipped siblings, the My Passport Wi-fi SSD has been constructed for all times on the go: it comes packing a built-in SD card reader, 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity and an inner Li-Ion battery that offers you as much as 10 hours of steady wi-fi use.
Whereas the machine isn’t weather- or dust-proof, it does include a detachable drop-resistant rubber bumper, giving it a rugged look and a non-slip floor to enhance grip. Furthermore, all of the ports and buttons are flush with the outside, and together with the thickness of the bumper, that ought to assist shield the drive from the weather and unintentional scrapes.
On the 'prime' fringe of the My Passport Wi-fi SSD is an influence button, a 10-pin micro-B USB three.zero port, and a USB 2.zero socket that’s On-The-Go (OTG) suitable. There’s additionally a second swap on the highest which powers up the battery indicator and inititates SD card transfers, and likewise works because the WPS swap for the preliminary Wi-Fi setup. The one different bodily function on the drive is the SD card slot, which lives across the nook from these USB ports, and there’s additionally battery, Wi-Fi and energy indicator lights on the entrance face.
It weighs 359g (zero.79 kilos) with out the bumper, however gown it up in its rugged jacket and also you’ll be carrying 461g (1.02 kilos) within the bag.
Organising the My Passport Wi-fi SSD is a breeze.
To start out, you simply join by way of Wi-Fi utilizing the small print printed on a sticker on the drive’s prime, then login by way of an internet browser on PC or Mac, or the WD My Cloud app on a cellular machine. The latter's out there for each iOS and Android and works on each telephones and tablets.
For entry by way of a pc and internet browser, you log onto the My Cloud dashboard by coming into both http://MyPassport/ or http://192.168.60.1 on Windows 10, eight.1 and seven machines, or both http://MyPassport.native/ or http://192.168.60.1 on macOS.
Remember the fact that if you swap the drive on to connect with its Wi-Fi entry level, you’ll discover two networks being broadcast – one at 5GHz and the opposite at 2.4GHz. You need to use both to arrange and hook up with the drive, however 5GHz is the higher alternative due to the additional velocity it might probably provide.
On each the online interface and the My Cloud app, the setup expertise is simple, and though the drive is already configured for fast use out of the field, there’s a variety of non-obligatory superior options you possibly can activate or off by digging into the settings.
A kind of configuration choices is to mechanically begin backups as quickly as both an SD card or exterior USB card reader has been plugged into the drive. For those who don’t allow this feature, you possibly can nonetheless manually provoke on-demand backups by urgent the switch swap on the highest fringe of the drive.
Different configuration choices are geared in direction of leisure, corresponding to streaming music or films and different media media (as much as 4K decision) immediately from the drive. For the true media obsessive, you possibly can set up the Plex Media Server app, which provides you a Netflix-like interface for stream movies saved on the Passport on to your smartphone or pill (or PC or Mac), that means you're not consuming valuable area on the latter with massive media recordsdata.
As soon as your setup is full, you’ll be offered with a dashboard that sums up the whole lot in a single view.
The mix of each wired and wi-fi tech on this drive means there’s lots of methods to get issues onto – or off – its inner storage. There’s additionally all kinds of issues you are able to do with these recordsdata as soon as they’re on there.
At its core, the Wi-fi SSD presents the travelling photographer a method to backup and flick thru pictures. The quickest and easiest method to get these on the drive is to plug your SD card on to the drive’s built-in reader, then press the switch button they usually’ll be copied throughout right into a devoted ‘SD Card Imports’ folder. It’s that straightforward. To point how the switch is progressing, WD’s put the machine’s 4 battery-status lights on double responsibility. These blink in sequence, transferring from one mild to 2, three after which 4 because the job progresses. As soon as all 4 lights are lit up and have stopped blinking, all of your recordsdata have been transferred out of your SD card.
When you’ve obtained the photographs out of your digicam’s SD card transferred, you possibly can view them in your smartphone or pill by way of the My Cloud app, while not having to go wherever close to a pc.
There’s additionally the choice to switch pictures wirelessly out of your digicam — though solely a small variety of cameras really help this at current. That’s as a result of most cameras with built-in Wi-Fi are typically designed to work with telephones and tablets, and solely not often with devoted storage drives. To get help for the latter, you’ll have to personal one of many handful of high-end professional DSLRs from Canon or Nikon which have built-in FTP help, or a digicam which is suitable with a wi-fi file transmitter attachment.
Utilizing wi-fi tethering with a supported digicam means pictures will mechanically be backed up you shoot, with full-resolution JPEGs and RAWs despatched to the My Passport Wi-fi SSD — and WD guarantees that it gained’t have an effect on the digicam’s buffer. Sadly we didn’t have a suitable digicam or a wi-fi transmitter to check this explicit function, however setup instructions are available for each Canon and Nikon customers on the My Cloud studying middle.
The My Cloud app for smartphones and tablets can be feature-packed. It’s simple to navigate and all picture recordsdata (RAW and JPEG) on the drive could be simply seen in nested folders on the My Cloud app. Thumbnails of picture recordsdata are seen if you open a folder, and tapping on a file will open a full-screen model, together with the choice to save lots of the file domestically in your cellular machine. You may as well optionally hyperlink cloud companies from different suppliers to the WD My Cloud app, then flick thru the contents on that service or copy recordsdata to or from the My Passport. In case you have a Google Drive or Dropbox account, simply faucet ‘Handle machine/companies’ on the My Cloud app and add whichever companies you employ.
For wired entry to recordsdata from a PC or Mac, all you want to do is plug the offered cable into your laptop computer or desktop's USB port — ideally, a USB three.zero or quicker one so as to have the ability to take full benefit of these SSD switch speeds.
You possibly can entry recordsdata on the drive wirelessly on a pc as nicely — if you’re on the drive’s Wi-Fi community, it exhibits up as an SMB file share — nevertheless with regards to transferring these recordsdata, you might have considered trying to remember it’s a relatively sluggish course of over wi-fi. You’ll be higher off utilizing the offered USB three.zero cable to entry recordsdata immediately on a PC or Mac.
As we talked about earlier, the Wi-fi SSD additionally presents a secondary USB 2.zero port that’s On-the-Go compliant. It’s principally meant for use in the identical manner because the SD Card slot, letting you plug in an exterior drive (like, say, a USB thumb drive or a CompactFlash reminiscence card reader) after which press the switch button to dump the contents of that drive onto the WD’s inner SSD storage.
Being USB 2.zero solely although, transferring from exterior storage gadgets is sluggish – 2.zero switch speeds max out at about 33MB/s, which is lower than 10% of the velocity the onboard SSD helps.
Multimedia & different options
You may as well retailer music and video recordsdata on the drive. The My Cloud app has a built-in participant for each types of media, so you possibly can hearken to music whereas out on a shoot with out chewing up mobile information or consuming into your telephone’s onboard storage with music recordsdata.
For those who’ve captured video, you possibly can theoretically watch it immediately in your handheld machine utilizing the My Cloud app’s built-in media participant by simply tapping on the file you need to watch. (We are saying “theoretically” as a result of we hit some snags with 4K footage — extra on that within the Efficiency part.)
These options make the drive a more-than-capable media server and its pre-installed Twonky server will even allow you to stream recordsdata to any DLNA-capable participant. That implies that, so long as your media recordsdata are saved inside sure preset folders, you possibly can watch movies by way of most sensible TVs, or on a video app like VLC in your pc, or any media-streaming field.
For those who’re after extra media choices, you possibly can optionally set up Plex Media Server — it’s discovered within the internet dashboard underneath the Media tab — which can scan for extra recordsdata saved in different folders you’ve created and create a Netflix-like interface for shopping and viewing them. Nonetheless, putting in Plex does mechanically disable the Twonky server, as there’s not sufficient horsepower to run each concurrently.
The WD My Passport Wi-fi SSD is greater than only a transportable storage resolution: it can even cost your gadgets by way of that aforementioned USB On-The-Go (OTG) port. That port is able to supplying as much as 1.5A of energy output to recharge different gear like smartphones and motion cameras. With a 6,700mAh battery powering the drive, there’s truthfully lots to spare in case your gadgets want a bit of extra juice when you’re out on a shoot.
Whereas it’s maybe a bit of cumbersome in comparison with different transportable SSDs, the machine is tough to fault from a hardware-design perspective. Our solely main gripe is that WD’s caught with the older-style USB micro-B socket to ship energy and information to the drive. You get a USB Sort-A to 10-pin micro-B cable within the field, which is okay if you wish to plug the Wi-fi SSD in to an older desktop or laptop computer that has the usual USB-A sockets. On newer computer systems although, like the newest MacBook Execs and lots of Home windows Ultrabooks, you’ve solely obtained USB-C sockets, that means you’ll might want to use a separately-purchased adapter cable, or an exterior dock or hub if you’d like a wired connection to the WD drive. With USB-C turning into the defacto commonplace for connecting digital gadgets, it might have been good to see WD to improve the Wi-fi SSD’s onboard socket to USB-C, as an alternative of simply leaving customers with USB-C-only laptops within the lurch.
Whereas the older mechanical arduous drives utilized in Western Digital’s different wi-fi drives are first rate performers, this SSD model leaves them for useless, at the very least with regards to wired transfers, with a roughly threefold velocity enhance when transferring recordsdata to and from a PC or Mac by way of USB.
In our assessments, we clocked a prime learn velocity of 390.1MB/s and 385.5MB/s for writes. Whereas that doesn’t make this the quickest transportable SSD cash can purchase – we’ve had different USB SSDs, like Samsung’s Moveable T5, hit 500MB/s – it’s an enormous enhance over the 130MB/s you’ll see from the quickest mechanical arduous drives.
For those who’re capturing a lot of huge pictures in RAW, or filming video in 4K, getting these recordsdata again onto your modifying rig needs to be considerably faster, however there’s additionally sufficient velocity right here that you would, in idea, work on these recordsdata immediately from the WD’s inner SSD.
Over wi-fi, we noticed most switch speeds of about 17.5MB/s for reads and 14.8MB/s for writes – that was examined from a distance of 3m utilizing a 2017 MacBook Professional with 2×2 802.11ac. Clearly, the quantity and measurement of recordsdata you’re seeking to switch will have an effect on that (transferring a lot of smaller pictures tends to decelerate total speeds), and people speeds are sluggish sufficient that if you happen to’re really modifying pictures of movies, you’ll undoubtedly need to plug the drive in by way of USB three.zero.
When it got here to grabbing the contents of an SD Card utilizing the onboard card reader, we discovered switch speeds to be a bit of erratic. Transferring eight.9GB of combined digicam recordsdata – together with 4K video footage alongside RAW and JPEG stills – got here near WD’s claimed prime SD velocity of 65MB/s, taking simply 2 minutes and 32 seconds on our first strive (or about 58.6MB/s). Nonetheless, on the second go, the very same recordsdata took virtually double that at four minutes and 59 seconds (29.8MB/s). Splitting up that eight.9GB of content material into a picture set and a video set did lead to extra constant speeds after we repeated assessments, however finally took longer than even that second, slower mixed check. Shifting 5.6GB of 4K movies took 2 minutes and 26 seconds (38.4MB/s), whereas three.3GB of RAW and JPEG recordsdata had been transferred in three minutes and 32 seconds (15.5MB/s) – each nicely under that aforementioned 65MB/s max velocity.
SD transfers didn’t at all times full easily both. For instance, after inserting an SD card, you’ve typically obtained to attend 10-15 seconds for it’s mounted, with the WD’s drive-indicator mild blinking whereas that’s underway, earlier than then turning a strong blue. Every so often, nevertheless, we discovered that the standing mild simply saved blinking endlessly, till we finally simply needed to pull the cardboard out and check out once more. Moreover, if after inserting a card you bounce the gun and press the Wi-fi SSD’s switch button too early, you’ll discover both few or no recordsdata have been copied to the WD’s inner drive.
Utilizing the cellular apps, it’s simple and comparatively fast to flick thru your recordsdata and folders, or stream multimedia content material. We did nevertheless encounter some hiccups (actually) when attempting to stream recorded 4K drone footage on the iOS model of the My Cloud app. Utilizing the app's built-in participant, these 4K movies paused resulting from buffering virtually each second and a half — if you happen to’re capturing 4K video and need to preview it, then, you’ll have to do it by way of a wired USB connection. On our telephone over Wi-Fi, solely a brief, 10-second 4K video performed easily.
Wi-fi SSD vs Wi-fi HDD
As we talked about earlier, the My Passport Wi-fi SSD isn’t the primary Wi-Fi enabled transportable storage machine WD has in its repertoire. The My Passport Wi-fi Professional is an arduous drive mannequin that was launched again in 2016 and is virtually an identical to this SSD unit in all however three important areas – sturdiness, switch speeds and value.
The Wi-fi SSD ought to present larger sturdiness just because its storage is solid-state, that means that in contrast to the Wi-fi Professional’s mechanical arduous drive, there are not any easily-broken transferring elements — so in idea at the very least, it’ll have the ability to take extra bumps, scrapes and every day jostling round in a digicam bag.
With regards to wired switch speeds, the older Wi-fi Professional hit 83.5MB/s over USB in our assessments, whereas this newer Wi-fi SSD hit prime speeds of 390MB/s. That’s an enormous velocity enhance, however not the quickest we’ve seen from exterior SSDs, the most effective of which might hit 500MB/s or quicker.
Furthermore, that velocity comes at a super-exorbitant value. By means of comparability, a 2TB hard-drive based mostly Wi-fi Professional will set you again $179 / £179 / AU$299, whereas the 2TB Wi-fi SSD takes the that means of the phrase ‘premium’ to a complete new stage, sitting at $800 / £700 / AU$1,399 – or greater than 4 instances the value.
The Western Digital My Passport Wi-fi SSD is a flexible machine: not solely does it make mild work of picture and video transfers whereas filming within the area, it’s additionally a supply of energy to your handheld gadgets in the event that they occur to expire of juice.
With the addition of built-in Wi-Fi, you possibly can verify your pictures instantly in your telephone or pill and add to social media if you’d like, or use it like a wi-fi NAS field by sharing the onboard storage along with your pc, telephone or pill.
It’s, nevertheless, disappointing to see solely a non-standard 10-pin micro-B USB three.zero port on the drive for connecting to PC. A USB-C port would have been most well-liked, and the usage of an older port model means you’re caught utilizing the included USB micro-B to USB-A cable for PC transfers. That additionally makes connecting the Wi-fi SSD to newer USB-C laptops a ache.
The opposite draw back additionally entails USB – that On-the-Go port is USB 2.zero solely, that means transfers from exterior USB three.zero drives will typically be throttled considerably.
For those who can dwell with these caveats, want the additional robustness and velocity that solid-state storage presents – and, extra importantly, are ready to pay by the nostril for it – this one’s a neat various to WD’s present wi-fi arduous drives.