A good external hard drive needs three things: lots of space, plenty of speed and solid build quality, and Western Digital’s My Passport Slim offers all three with 2TB of capacity, USB 3.0 connectivity and a very attractive metal casing.
As a bonus, it comes with dedicated software to diagnose the drive’s health, schedule and perform backups and protect its contents with passwords and 256-bit encryption. Setting it all up is very straightforward, and using the software is as easy as reading the screen and following instructions.
The My Passport Slim drive is formatted with NTFS out the box, so it works just fine with Windows right away, but if you bought it for your Mac you’ll need to reformat it first.
We tested the drive’s performance with a benchmark utility called CrystalDiskMark, which showed sequential read and write speeds of 110.1MB/s and 108.3MB/s respectively, which was backed up by several copies of a large file we tried – we saw write speeds in real-world copy tasks between an SSD and the Slim topping the 100MB/s mark as well, which is excellent. More traditional usage – copying files to and from the drive using regular spindle-based drives – showed slower read and write speeds that averaged around 63MB/s, but that’s still twice the speed of what you can expect from USB 2.0 and thus not bad at all.
Western Digital’s backup software, WD Smartware Pro, lets you back up to and from the popular Cloud-storage service, Dropbox, as well. It’s a nice extra feature to have, but it’s not the killer app that should make you dash out and buy this drive over competing ones as how much you can back up to your account depends on how much space Dropbox has given you, which is nowhere near the 2TB capacity of the Slim. Of course, it’s a pretty handy utility if you want to back up what’s on Dropbox or schedule regular backups on your PC.
The metal casing, on the other hand, is very much a reason to get the Slim. It’s much harder and sturdier than most other external drive enclosures you’ll come across so it’ll stand up to the rigours of daily transport just that much better, and it looks really good to boot. It’s also heavier, though, and not quite as “slim” as its name implies – compared directly with Western Digital’s My Passport Ultra, it’s definitely the chunkier of the two.
Price-wise, this drive is a bit expensive: we spotted it at Incredible Connection for R2,499, which is R700 more than other (non-Slim) 2TB Western Digital external drives found elsewhere that offer the same functionality, just without the metal case.
Is this a good drive? Absolutely. Is its metal case worth the price premium? Certainly, if you need toughness as well as speed and portability, but not so much if all you’re looking for is a 2TB external drive that doesn’t require power.
Extra Software: 3/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Interface: USB 3.0