After acquiring SanDisk, WD wasted no time in releasing a string of SSD products. The My Passport SSD is its first portable external SSD and, on paper, it sounds like a keen contender.
The My Passport SSD is roughly the size of large Zippo lighter so it will still fit easily into your pockets. And because it has a mostly plastic enclosure, it is also remarkably light at just 40g. Even so, it doesn’t detract from its performance or ruggedness. In fact, WD says the My Passport SSD is built to withstand drops of up to 1.98 meters.
The My Passport SSD relies on a USB Type-C connector and supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 speeds of up to 10Gbps. To ensure maximum compatibility, the My Passport SSD also comes with a handy USB Type-C to USB Type-A adapter so that you can use it with devices that do not have USB Type-C ports.
Unsurprisingly, if you peel open the chassis, what you will find inside is an M.2 SATA drive that is based on the SanDisk X400 SSD. This means a Marvell 88SS1074 controller paired with SanDisk TLC NAND. WD claims data transfer rates of up to 515MB/s. The My Passport SSD is available in 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB capacities.
The My Passport SSD comes with WD Discovery, a suite of backup and drive utilities. The most important of them all is probably WD Drive Lock, which lets users password protect their drive. It uses hardware 256-bit AES encryption. Another useful utility is WD Backup, which is a backup utility that lets user back up their system to the drive or to a Dropbox account.
We had on hand a 1TB edition of the WD My Passport SSD and we pegged it against our earlier reviewed ADATA SSD700 and Samsung T3 SSD drives. Take note that the comparison drives are of 512GB capacity, so the good showing of the WD drive is also partially because of the difference in storage capacity.
The WD My Passport SSD is a pretty speed little drive and its performance compares well against the ADATA SD700 and Samsung T3 that we reviewed earlier this year, even if the storage capacities compared aren't identical. The other reason for the better performance can also be attributed to its support for the faster USB 3.1 Gen 2 standard.
Also worth mentioning is the WD Discovery suite of utilities. The bundled security and backup software both work well out of the box and it makes the My Passport SSD easy to setup and use. Another nice "safety" feature is that drive is built to withstand shocks and drops of up to 1.98 meters.
However, there are a couple of things about the drive that could be improved. The plastic enclosure, though light, does feel a bit cheap. And the bundled cable is fairly thick and cumbersome to carry around. As I mentioned before, a retractable USB connector would have been much more elegant solution. As it is, even though the drive itself is compact, the tedious cable makes it less easy to carry around than it should have been.
Obviously, the My Passport SSD costs considerably more than typical mechanical external hard disks. But if you shop around, you will find that it is often the lowest priced option at the respective capacity points. With that in mind and considering its performance and features, the My Passport SSD is decent portable external SSD for users who want a speedy portable external drive.