Portable SSD drives have been becoming more available as the prices of the drives come down and capacity sizes get larger. The compact sizes and fast read/write speeds make them a great option for working remotely as an external drive. Storing, transporting and viewing files on the go is much easier thanks to these portable SSD drives.
Western Digital aims to take this one step further with their new My Passport Wireless SSD Drive by letting you transfer files to the drive directly without even booting up a computer. We all know how important it is to back up your files, especially when traveling which is sometimes the only reason why we bring a laptop now that we can pretty much do everything else via our mobile devices.
- Built-in SD™ card reader with one-touch copy button
- Durable, shock-resistant SSD inside
- All-day battery life (up to 10 hours)
- Wirelessly stream 4K videos and view photos
- Import from USB card readers
- Built-in power bank to charge mobile devices
- RAW file preview support
- 802.11ac/n Wi-Fi
- USB 3.0
- USB 2.0 (for importing)
Adding Wi-Fi to portable drives has been around for a while but usually only found with traditional spinning drives. Now with an SSD drive, better performance, battery life & durability are achieved.
Leaving the laptop at home
With the My Passport Wireless SSD Drive, you can backup, view & edit your media on the go. Available in four storage sizes (250GB, 500GB, 1TB & 2TB), the drive looks very promising for travelers, journalists, and even professionals who don’t want to lug a laptop around with them. The battery life is impressive too, claiming up to 10 hours of continuous use.
One thing to note is that it’s not clear whether importing RAW files will export a preview file or the actual RAW file to edit on the go. Multiple apps can now open and edit RAW image files such as Snapseed & Lightroom. We will have to ask Western Digital to find out.
Built-in SD card reader, 802.11ac/n Wi-Fi & More!
The My Passport Wireless SSD has a built-in SD™ card reader so you can backup your files onto the drive without a computer. Again this has been seen before but with traditional spinning drives. The card reader is only USB 2.0 though so downloading a large amount of data may take some time.
If you are using other media besides an SD card, you can also connect a card reader or USB drive and import media via the app.
For the long road trips or flights, the My Passport Wireless SSD can also act as a Plex server to stream content to your mobile devices.
Using FiLMiC Pro, users will be able to connect to the My Passport Wireless SSD to write footage directly to the drive. With mobile phones able to record in 4K, it’s a nice feature to have for mobile journalists.
The drive also integrates directly with LumaTouch by LumaFusion, a multi-track editing app for iOS devices.
Unfortunately, the drive has no USB 3.0 Type-C port even though the industry is moving towards Type-C. This caps the read speeds up to 390MB/s. The My Passport SSD uses a Type-C port and has USB 3.1 Gen 2 for faster read/write speeds (up to 515MB/s) so it’s a wonder why they didn’t add that to this drive. Perhaps they are saving it for the My Passport Wireless SSD Pro as it would push the price up.
Streamlining the mobile workflow
Getting media onto a drive while on-location has always a struggle without a computer.
On Android devices, you can connect drives directly or via an OTG (On The Go) cable to access & transfer files to the phone and then swap out the card reader or camera to transfer the copied files to the portable drive. The similar process could be done for iOS devices using the Lightning to USB 3 Camera adaptor. Using this method, you are limited to the amount of free space on the device and you are also doubling up on workload as you are essentially replacing the computer with the phone.
The My Passport Wireless SSD cuts out the middle step by transferring files directly to the drive, saving a heap of time. Plus, you aren’t consuming the precious battery life of the mobile device.
Can it fit in my pocket?
Normally when you think of a portable SSD drive, you think of a small physical form factor that can fit in the small pocket of your jeans. The My Passport Wireless SSD with all of its extra features and 6700 mAh battery adds bulk to the device. At 135mm square, and 30mm (1.18″) thick. So you may not want to be throwing this into your pocket but you won’t feel it in your bag at only 440 grams (0.97lb).
What are the other options?
Erik has reviewed the Gnarbox which is tailored for video shooters with a dedicated app to edit and produce videos. It’s more expensive though at $299.99 for the 128GB version and $399.99 for the 256GB variant.
Read the full review of the Gnarbox for his thoughts.
Pricing & Availability
The My Passport Wireless SSD is expected to ship on 02/15/2018.
Pricing is as follows:
- 250GB – $229.99
- 500GB – $299.99
- 1TB – $499.99
- 2TB – $799.99