500GB Portable (2.5-inch) HDD Shootout


Meet the Drives: Verbatim & Western Digital

Verbatim Executive Portable

Verbatim isn't only in the optical disc media business, but they have their own line of external storage drives for sometime now. For the purpose of this shootout, Verbatim has sent us their top of the line Executive Portable 500GB drive. It's a bit larger than the other drives, but not quite as bulky as the tank-like Hitachi SimpleTough.

 A feature called USB Turbo Speed is Verbatim's main selling point of the Executive Portable. A special driver needs to be installed, which essentially reduces the traditional USB protocol overhead associated and thus allows greater bandwidth utilization. The driver is compatible with Windows 2000, all the way to the latest Windows 7 operating system. The drive's specs also say Mac OS 9 and 10 are supported but we haven't had a chance to verify that. Last but not least, the drive comes bundled with a comprehensive but easy to use Verbatim Sync software. Here are a few other notes and a summary of this drive:-

  • USB Turbo Speed (claims 25% higher transfer rates).
  • Bulky drive.
  • Bad location of LED indicators.
  • Long USB cable supplied.
  • Carry Pouch supplied.
  • Nero BackIt Up 4 Essential software
  • Verbatim Sync software (runs from the portable drive with no installation required and secure sync supported with 128-bit SSL).
  • 2 years warranty

 

Western Digital My Passport Essential

Western Digital has the basic Elements series, the mid-range My Passport Essential and much more recently, the top of the line My Passport Elite. Since we gathered the drives prior to the launch of the latter, we've only got the My Passport Essential model to evaluate. Thankfully the differences between them are the added USB dock and a capacity gauge on the Elite drive - features that sometimes come as options on other models and hence would make the Elite more expensive.

The My Passport Essential on the other hand, comes with more practical and more level playing field features that compare well with the competition in this shootout. The bundled WD SmartWare software is your visual control center to backup, retrieving and securing your data. The software is also clever enough to judge the kind of data you have on the drive and presents it in a very easy to digest bar chart representation of how much of each type of data is present on the drive, such as music, movies, documents, etc. This is called Visual Backup. My Passport Essential also features Drive Lock, a 256-bit hardware based data encryption and password protection.

On to the physical aspects of the drive, the WD My Passport Essential has the most desirable form factor for a pocket-able portable drive. It however was supplied with a very short USB cable and its hard drive activity LED is just too small to be useful. One other note is its use of a micro-USB instead of a mini-USB that most others use.

  • Pocket-friendly form factor
  • USB cable supplied is too short.
  • Drive activity LED is too small to be effective.
  • WD SmartWare software (automatic continuous backup, visual backup).
  • Drive Lock (256-bit hardware based encryption + password protection).
  • 3 years warranty.