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Western Digital My Passport Wireless - Mobile Wireless Terabytes

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

Today I'm going to talk to you about something you might not have thought you needed, but once you realize what this new device can do, you might just want one. Imagine a Western Digital My Cloud, but only smaller, battery powered, and wireless. You could fill it with a bunch of movies, music, and other media for something like an upcoming family road trip. If said device could create its own wireless hotspot, the kids could connect to it via their tablets or other portable devices and watch their movie of choice during the drive. Once you are at your destination and snapping a bunch of photos, it would also be handy if this imaginary device could also mount SD cards for sharing recently taken photos with others on your trip. A bonus might be the ability to store a back-up of those SD cards as they become full, or maybe even empty them for folks without a lot of SD capacity available. As a final bonus, make all of this work in such a way that you could pull off an entire trip with *only* mobile devices and tablets - *without* a PC or a Mac. Think all of that can happen? It can now!:

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Behold the WD My Passport Wireless!

Read on for our full review!

Specifications:

Here is a conglomeration of features and specs lifted from the WD press deck:

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The specs are impressive for such a small and portable device. 2x2 Wireless N MIMO that can HD video stream to 4 devices simultaneously from its own access point, for up to 6 hours. The ability to offload SD cards on the go is not too shabby, either.

Packaging:

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The My Passport Wireless comes fully charged and well packaged. Included are quick start guide, directions, USB 3.0 cable, and 2.0A USB wall charger.

September 3, 2014 | 10:29 AM - Posted by Chaitanya Shukla

You forgot to add battery tests for a wireless storage device. I expected to read what battery life was for a single, and multiple(5) users streaming a full hd video file from the device. Also this review sorely lacked how good/bad the app for android/ios device is and any potential issues arrising out of the app. As not many people buying this drive would be using it via a smart phone or tablet.

September 3, 2014 | 04:44 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

The mobile based apps were not yet updated to access this device at the time of testing. It uses the standard My Cloud app, which is proven and does stream audio / video and browse photos just fine.

For battery tests, we are working on them and will add a note to the review. Battery testing takes time to confirm repeatability, fully charge, etc. The claim is 4 simultaneous streams (8 mbps per stream) for 6 hours. Will know more on that result soon.

September 3, 2014 | 05:19 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

iOS My Cloud app functionality and screen shots have been added to page 2.

September 6, 2014 | 12:58 PM - Posted by Chaitanya Shukla

Thanks a lot. For me as a photographer it definitely is a good deal. still curious about battery life is like as this will be used in remote locations to back up 4k videos. That SD card reader and option to back them up automatically. Its going to extremely useful in field. Max 4 user limit is not as good as some of the competing products.

September 3, 2014 | 12:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I would love to see a battery test watching 2-4 1080p streams (MKV files?) from it to see how long it lasts. I would also like to see how easy it is to navigate via a mobile device rather than a PC. I've been looking at the Lace Fuel and I'm curious to see how this device compares to it when it comes to battery life.

September 9, 2014 | 05:26 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

The verdict on power testing:

Streaming 1080p video to 2 iOS devices, via the My Cloud app, with fairly heavy wireless passthrough usage from a 3rd connected laptop: 5 hours, 27 minutes.

Streaming video via SMB to 4 simultaneous connected devices (HDD spindown seems to have a harder time when doing this, and as a result it remained spinning the entire time, even in lower power mode): 4 hours even.

From the looks of battery trend on the first test, I believe it would have made it to 6 hours if not for the heavy internet passthrough usage during the second half of the test. It was at just over 50% 3 hours into the test (before the other heavy simultaneous WiFi usage).

September 3, 2014 | 11:00 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Are there any security features when in a public place to keep people from accessing the drive?

September 4, 2014 | 12:42 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Yup. There are several ways to lock down access, all within the config options.

September 4, 2014 | 10:44 AM - Posted by Br01 (not verified)

Hey al what is the best msata ssd to buy today?

September 4, 2014 | 12:45 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

The Plextor M6M looked pretty good when we tested it.

September 4, 2014 | 12:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Direct connecting to a PC or Mac via USB 3.0 will automatically disable the built in WiFi and switch to direct connected mode
So it means we cannot have it connected all the time to a PC and at the same time browse pics on it from an iPad or smartphone? That's a shame. I wonder if a futur firmware could fix this?

September 4, 2014 | 12:42 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

It appears to be only one way or the other. The device completely switches into a different mode when connected to a PC for data. I think the reasoning is that you would want to bypass all of the (slower) other parts of the device and get full 100+ MB/sec speed from the internal drive. Given how quickly it transfers when connected this way, I don't see it as a deal breaker.

September 4, 2014 | 01:28 PM - Posted by Br01 (not verified)

Thanks al☆

September 5, 2014 | 01:08 PM - Posted by obababoy

What about swapping an SSD? Would battery life improve?

September 9, 2014 | 05:20 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

I'm sure it would, but at an added cost/GB.

September 11, 2014 | 10:21 PM - Posted by aaron (not verified)

Just got mine in today. So far it has taken almost 2 1/2 hrs to download 9GB off of a 32GB lexar sd card. This is a newer card and a fast one. I called WD and they have instructed me to reset the drive when it is done downloading as it shouldn't take that long. He said it might take as long as an hour for a 16gb card to download!!??!! If so, this thing's going back. Ain't nobody got time for that....

October 22, 2014 | 07:43 AM - Posted by Camaman (not verified)

Wow that sound really really bad.
It's of no use while in a middle of a shoot. Even on a trip late in the evening who has the time to wait for such a long download.
I would fall a sleep 3 times until its finished!

November 3, 2014 | 11:35 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It took about 20 minutes for me to copy a full 32Gb Transcend Class 10 SDHC card to the 1TB version of this drive in the built-in reader in the auto-copy mode. Card was completely filled with 4-10 second .mov files created by Canon 5D. Drive was mostly empty other than the documentation and sample footage that it came with. I updated the drive firmware to the latest version before I started copying the files. Copying was done on battery power alone, with the drive set in the "performance" mode (on battery power there is a "performance and "battery saver" modes available; when plugged into the power adapter, it automatically defaults to "performance"). That's a pretty reasonable time for a Class 10 SDHC card AFAIC. I will do another test with a card filled with RAW/jpeg images, that may slow it down a bit more due to higher fragmentation, but your results seem way too slow. Did you make sure the drive had the latest firmware?

November 3, 2014 | 11:36 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It took about 20 minutes for me to copy a full 32Gb Transcend Class 10 SDHC card to the 1TB version of this drive in the built-in reader in the auto-copy mode. Card was completely filled with 4-10 second .mov files created by Canon 5D. Drive was mostly empty other than the documentation and sample footage that it came with. I updated the drive firmware to the latest version before I started copying the files. Copying was done on battery power alone, with the drive set in the "performance" mode (on battery power there is a "performance and "battery saver" modes available; when plugged into the power adapter, it automatically defaults to "performance"). That's a pretty reasonable time for a Class 10 SDHC card AFAIC. I will do another test with a card filled with RAW/jpeg images, that may slow it down a bit more due to higher fragmentation, but your results seem way too slow. Did you make sure the drive had the latest firmware?

November 5, 2014 | 02:12 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

UPDATE on my post above: turns out that during the copying process in my post above, only about 3 gigs were copied before hard drive stopped the process for some reason (the white activity indicator light stopped blinking). When I went back to check the files on the hard drive through the USB connection, only fraction of the card was copied over. I just repeated the test with the same card and same data, under same conditions, now the drive copied all of the data, but it took 73 minutes.

Technical specifications in the manual claim SD card reader speed up to 25 MB/sec, which translates into about 90GB/hr, meaning the process of copying the entire card SHOULD have taken about 20 mins. The real-world speed I got using the built-in card slot was 32GB/ 1hr 13 mins, so around 7.6 MB/Sec (hard drive fully charged, running on battery power).

Just to compare, I copied the same data from the same card to the same hard drive connected via a laptop via USB 3.0, using a USB 3.0 car reader and a MacBook Pro. The transfer time was right under 25 minutes using this method.

So I have to agree that the built-in card reader speed is unreasonably slow. It may work as a last-minute option if you are somewhere in the field with no access in the laptop and a big break between two shoots, or as a backup option during a long trip, but forget about offloading your data DURING a shoot to free up your memory card. And always check the contents of the hard drive by using your phone or tablet before formatting the card, or you may end up losing your invaluable photos forever.

I will say that all the other features of the drive work beautifully with Mac OS, Windows 8 PC, iPhone and iPad. App interface for iOS is clean and speedy. With MacOS and Windows 8, it appears as a shared network drive. Streaming of HD video files compressed for distribution is OK, but the high-bitrate video files straight out of the camera stop to buffer all the time, even in direct connection mode.

September 22, 2014 | 05:45 AM - Posted by David Jorge (not verified)

Hi Allyn,
Thank you for your review on this device.

I was a litlle disapointed when i read:

Direct connecting to a PC or Mac via USB 3.0 will automatically disable the built in WiFi and switch to direct connected mode

For me the ideal was to have both wifi and usb in simultaneous.

Do you know if even with the usb connected, you can enable the wifi mode via software or do you have to phisically unplug the usb cable?

Thanks in advance,
David

October 4, 2014 | 07:16 AM - Posted by Sue (not verified)

Hi Allyn,

I wonder if anyone can help me this weekend as I can't get WD tech advice until Monday....I received my passport wireless yesterday and all seemed to be going well to start with, but on my iPad I cannot get past the rotating cloud image when I try to open MyPassport. I only really want to use the passport to back up and store photos that I have taken out in the field and done basic Lightroom mobile editing on. I just want the iPad to talk to the passport and when I get home to be able to download images via USB to desktop.

Can you help?

Thanks

Sue

October 13, 2014 | 01:27 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hi, what is the voltage of the USB wall charger please? I am from the Uk and was just wondering if this could be a problem purchasing from the US? THANKS!

October 18, 2014 | 05:29 AM - Posted by Midus (not verified)

I see two other potential issue; (1) what happens if battery bloat occurs... Given the constraints in space this could potentially damage the components. (2) potentially, since this device can stream to multiple devices, the chances of this being used while literally on the move increases. Given that the drive is a mechanical one, bad sectors will happen causing data loss.

October 22, 2014 | 07:46 AM - Posted by Camaman (not verified)

You guys should have done a SD card dump test.
How long does it take?

December 19, 2014 | 03:38 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I am trying to use Infuse to see MKV file from Passport wireless. For some reason I cannot see it

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