Key features • Compatible with any Mac with a Thunderbolt port • Time Machine support • 2-4TB storage options • All-metal black design
Learn more… wdc.com
Available from… amazon.com
Speed, storage and portability, three words that sum up a good portable hard drive and Western Digital’s My Passport Pro has them all in abundance. The drive is a chunky wallet-sized unit with a single-minded focus on Apple products. This is perfectly demonstrated by its formatting, HFS+J, making it compatible with Mavericks and Mountain Lion, and its Thunderbolt cable.
What makes the Pro quick is its Thunderbolt connection and RAID setup. It has two internal drives that are set up as RAID 0 by default for maximum performance. There is the option to switch to RAID 1 and set up a ‘mirror’ drive. This halves the capacity but keeps a duplicate of the main drive. This is effectively the best backup you can get.
The unit itself is a hefty piece of kit, but while it’s not lightweight it is still perfectly portable. The instantly immediate feature is the integrated Thunderbolt cable. This wraps around the outside of the unit, inside a rubber guide, and tucks neatly into the back of the join to keep the Thunderbolt connection protected.
The integrated cable definitely has its pros and cons. The obvious advantage is that there is no need to carry around additional cables; the Thunderbolt cable will always be present and has the added bonus of powering the unit at the same time. One obvious disadvantage is the cable length. There is only one length, but this shouldn’t pose any real issues. Another issue is that the exposed cable is likely to get a bit of a beating, and if it gets damaged the unit effectively becomes useless. There are no external connections to get the data off, either. This also reveals another of the Passport Pro’s shortcomings – there are no other connection options.
Speed is key for any portable drive and with 2TB’s to fill, there are undoubtedly going to be a lot of file transfers. WD claim speeds of 233MB/s; in our tests we averaged write and read speeds at a slightly slower 220MB/s. In real terms we transferred a 10GB file, via MacBook Air with SSD drive, in less than a minute. No slouch by any stretch.
To give this more perspective, a 2GB movie file would be transferred in less than 10 seconds. Finally, we tested further, streaming a 4K video clip directly from the drive. No lag, no missed frames – just smooth pin-sharp video.