Add an extra terabyte to your Mac laptop.
Portable hard drives have become the quint-essential accessory for a notebook user and with newer notebooks coming in with smaller but faster SSD drivers, the requirement for a large capacity drive to put your media and backups on is higher than ever. We take a look a quick look at one such product today- the WD My PassPort for Mac.
What makes this drive “for Mac” is the fact that it comes pre-formatted with HFS+ which is the native file system used by Macs. This means that you can pretty much plug this drive in any of the newer Macs and use it right away for reading and writing files as well as creating backups with Time Machine. Let me point out that any portable hard drive is capable of this but most of them come formatted with FAT32 or NTFS and need to be reformatted by your Mac to HFS+ which is just an extra step.
The other thing that makes this WD drive “for Mac” is, obviously, the design. It’s almost a pre-requisite for any Mac product to look good and My Passport does well but not necessarily great in this aspect. I like the minimal design but the plastic enclosure isn’t very Mac like. Also, I found the drive to be a tad bit chunky- especially when put next to the MacBook Air. However, this has more to do with the current level of technology than anything else. If you want something slimmer, you will have to settle for lower capacity for now.
My Passport for Mac has a pretty clean design with just one USB port and an LED next to it. WD bundles a USB cable with the drive along with warranty information. On the drive, WD bundles two applications that you can install on your Mac. WD Drive Utilities lets monitor the status of your hard drive using SMART as well as run diagnostics and quick tests along with erasing the drive. WD Security on the other hand password protects your hard drive. An update to both these utilities was available for download when I initially launched them which is good as it tells you that WD is keeping stuff up to date.
There’s not really much else that can be said about USB 2.0 portable drives. Their performance has been saturated by the speed of the USB 2.0 port and that holds true for My Passport for Mac as well which posted speeds of just under 40 MB/s in both read and write tests. While this is good enough for general reading and writing of files, expect to wait a while if you plan on moving high-definition movies to and from this drive. Initial Time Machine backup will also take a while but subsequent ones should be fast.
Priced at around AED 800, the WD My Passport for Mac is quite a bit on the pricey side- something Mac users are accustomed to. While it offers a decent design and plenty of storage, I see no reason why you cannot get one of the other, cheaper USB 2.0 alternatives even if it isn’t for the Mac and just format it in HFS+ and use it like this drive. The added utilities bundled with the drive don’t really add much value and can be found around the web for free.