With 500GB of storage space, this model boasts an attractive cost-to-megabyte ratio, but Western Digital My Passport Essential reviews curb their enthusiasm nonetheless.
Western Digital My Passport Essential reviews posted at Macworld carp about a plastic housing that smudges and scratches easily but give high scores to this model's USB 2.0 performance, saying it's one of the faster drives these experts have analyzed. (Macs don't support USB 3.0, so an external hard drive with a fast USB 2.0 data transfer speed is essential for Mac users.) On Notebook Review, the review concurs about the very fast USB 2.0 speeds, but adds that the USB 3.0 performance doesn't compare with the transfer rates of other USB 3.0 external drives these experts tested. Users posting reviews at Staples are fans, too, noting that My Passport Essential is lightweight and easy to use; one user especially likes the software that comes bundled with the drive. Users posting reviews at Best Buy comment approvingly on the drive's portability, simplicity, and speed, although a few report durability limitations and installation struggles.
The Western Digital My Passport Essential (starting at $100, Amazon) has typical specs for a portable drive in this price range. It features a 500GB drive with a rotation speed of 5,400RPM and supports both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 connections. You can also use the drive with a Mac if you reformat it. This model weighs 0.31 pounds and measures 4.3 x 3.2 x 0.6 inches. It comes in black, white, silver, red, and blue.
USB 3.0 ports aren't yet common in laptops and PCs, so most people who use an external hard drive still need a USB 2.0 connection. The fast USB 2.0 speeds make the Western Digital My Passport Essential a compelling buy, and its relatively slow USB 3.0 performance will be a non-issue for many consumers. The compactness of this model clearly appeals and 500GB of storage at this price is a reasonable deal.