Review: WD My Passport SSD update brings brisk NVMe to the table


The WD My Passport SSD is an inexpensive and reasonable way to upgrade the storage on your MacBook Pro, packaged in a sleek, compact case that you can take anywhere.

If you’ve purchased an M1-equipped Mac mini or MacBook Air, one of the things that will be a problem is expanding its storage capacity. Since there are no upgrade options available, consumers will have to look for external storage options, and that usually means a portable hard drive of some description.

Western Digital’s My Passport line is long-lasting and aims to provide storage that can move with the user wherever they go. My Passport SSD has been updated for 2020, improving its speed and refreshing the appearance of the portable drive.

Key specs

  • Options for up to 2TB capacity
  • AES 256-bit hardware encryption
  • Compatible with USB-C 3.1 Gen 2
  • USB type C to USB type A converter included
  • Read speeds of up to 1,050MB / s and write speeds of 1,000MB / s
  • Drop protection to 6.5 feet
  • 3.94 inches by 2.17 inches by 0.35 inches
  • 5 year warranty

Short stature

The My Passport SSD case is small, measuring just 0.35 inches thick, 3.94 inches long, and 2.17 inches wide. It is also quite light at a weight of 45.7 grams (1.6 ounces).

Although slightly larger than the previous generation and slightly slimmer, the unit is still pocket-friendly and easily carried in a bag.

The two-tone casing of the previous version has been changed to a metal casing with a sweeping motif and is available in a variety of five colors. While the latest version was a bit garish, the new version is understated, but still stylish in its own right.

The metal housing also helps keep you protected, with its shock and vibration resistance coupled with drop resistance up to a height of 6.5 feet. This means that the unit will easily withstand the rigors of daily use without too much trouble.

A good design option is the use of a separate USB-C cable, which can be easily replaced by the user. This opens up the possibility of losing the cable itself, but it will still work with any USB Type-C cable.

What's included with the WD My Passport SSD

In addition to being supplied with a USB Type-C to Type-C cable (too short), WD includes a USB Type-C to Type-A adapter in the box. This gives you the out-of-the-box capability for the drive to work with USB-A 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports at slower speeds.

We don’t like this cable, and the cable stiffness is not very good. Fortunately, the best replacement cables are cheap and plentiful.

The drive is listed as compatible with USB 3.2 Gen 2 up to 10Gb / s. Since it is a USB drive, it is backward compatible with the correct cabling.

Capacity and performance

As part of the update, WD has updated the type of storage within the drive itself, moving the line to higher speed NVMe. WD claims read speeds of up to 1,050MB / s and write speeds of up to 1,000MB / s on USB-C 3.2 gen 2.

WD offers the drive in three capacities, covering 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB, with the 1TB version used for this review.

Routinely, we saw speeds of approximately 930 megabytes per second of writing and 910 megabytes per second of reading in the real world. With the long hammering of the drive speed test, thermal throttling brought speeds down to roughly 720 megabytes per second read and write, even faster than a single SATA-based SSD can deliver.

WD My Passport SSD 1TB Speeds

WD My Passport SSD 1TB Speeds

When connected to a USB 3.0 Type-A port, speeds were limited to approximately 410 megabytes per second for reads and 400 megabytes per second for write. These speeds are what we expected, given the limitations of the port.

Safety and compatibility

Like the previous version, WD includes AES 256-bit hardware encryption on the drive, allowing users to encrypt data with minimal impact on performance. The encryption element is based on the use of the included WD Discovery software, which can also be used to automate backups, but requires Internet activation beforehand.

The WD Discovery software for Mac is adequate, but we’re not going to get too deep into it here. When encryption is enabled, speeds are limited to approximately 700 megabytes per second read and 550 megabytes per second write on a 15-inch MacBook Pro i9 2018 or Mac mini M1, and slightly less on a 2016 MacBook Pro. 15 inches.

While WD has its own backup software, Mac users have better options. For starters, it doesn’t even include third-party cloning software, the drive is also compatible with macOS’s Time Machine. However, it needs to be reformatted beforehand, which most Mac users tend to do anyway, unless they work on multiple platforms.

WD claims that the drive will work out of the box with exFAT format on both PC and Mac. On the PC side, it supports Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, and can for other operating systems, again with formatting.

Small and mighty

For those who need external storage, you can’t go wrong with the WD My Passport SSD. Its use of NVMe means it’s faster than ever, along with the metal casing and built-in hardware encryption can help keep your valuable data safe.

Its small size and high capacity make it a no-brainer for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro users to carry around. The drive is also reasonably priced for what it provides and is a good option for expanding storage, albeit externally, on Macs which can sometimes command very high prices on additional internal storage.

The WD My Passport SSD is a solid and uninspiring external USB-C drive, a product that is available from most electronics manufacturers. Not everything has to be innovative or have record speeds. Sometimes you need a $ 10 hammer to get the job done instead of a $ 120 ergonomic design, custom made to fit your hand.

The WD My Passport SSD is the epitome of the right tool to get the job done without spending a lot of money.

  • Compact size and lightweight.
  • Separate USB Type-C cable.
  • Shock and drop resistant.
  • Adequate but not great cipher suite.
  • Fast transfer speeds
  • The included cable is quite short.
  • Reformatting required for Time Machine.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Where to buy

The WD My Passport SSD can be purchased from Amazon, with prices typically starting at $ 89 for the 500GB model, $ 139.99 for the 1TB version, and $ 239 for the 2TB variant with retail prices of $ 119, $ 199 and $ 379 respectively. It is available in gray, gold, red, silver and blue colors.

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