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WD My Passport Essential 500GB USB 3.0 HDD Review

  1. Introduction
  2. Packaging, Specs and First Impressions
  3. Test Setup and Benchmarks
  4. Conclusion
  5. View All

I’ve reviewed series of hard drives with USB 3.0 implementation and so it is going pretty nicely. WD India sends a couple of drives for evaluation. There you go! WD My Passport Essential 500gig USB 3.0 drive…

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With the motherboard with USB controllers that costs at least Rs. 5,000/- and with notebooks that cost about Rs. 35,000/- with at least 1 USB 3.0 port, its time that USB 3.0 storage devices are pushed forward.

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Pretty straightforward. Nothing to add here.
On this packaging, the warranty period mentioned is 2 years, but WD India has informed that all the external drives are 3 years warranty period.

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The drive comes with the usable space of 456GB, out of which 445MB WD Quick Formatter,
Smartware (for Windows and Mac) and a PDF user manual in 22 languages.

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The casing is a glossy fingerprint-and-scratch prone with a set of 4 rubber dots on the corner. If Western Digital can provide a soft carry pouch for such glossy portable drives, it will be nice. But on a long-term, its best to use matte finish and strong enough casing.

The USB 3.0 cable is long enough to keep the drive on top of your PC Chassis and connected to the read I/O port, but the following photo compares the size of the passport essential USB 3.0 cable (inner ring) with the My Book Essential USB 3.0 cable (Outer Ring).

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You get what you pay for!

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After doing some googling around with the model number of the actual drive (WD5000BMVW), the same drives were used in the USB 2.0 version My Passport drives.

Western Digital went a step ahead by using a mini USB 2.0 interface PCB rather than the usual SATA interface and then using a SATA-to-USB converter adapter within the casing. One can say that the same could have been done for this drive as well as it uses mini USB 3.0 connector. So if by any chance you end up breaking the drive’s casing “accidentally” and/or want to use it as an internal drive, it’s not possible unless you use the USB cable. All the more reason that the casing should be strong enough to withstand a drop from at least from the desk level (30 inches from the ground in my case).

Note: I did not drop it to test that theory, mind you. Even I think of a method to test the impact on the drive during a drop, you can except that it would be done on the same desktop level but on different surfaces (the way it should be done).

The Extras/User Manual and software bundle weighs 620MB. Extras come with SES drives and a link to Adobe’s PDF reader link. The user manual comes in 22 languages. It’s best if you take a copy of this from a different storage source.

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Here’s the issue when it comes to WD Smartware backup Utility.

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The drive that contains media backup utility (backs up everything except the system files) is a 500gig whereas the content that the utility is backing is about 824GB. The utility does not give a warning before starting the back up that the storage cannot backup all the data due to lesser space.

Items Highlighted in Blue indicates “already backed up” data and yellow on the left and dark grey on the right indicates “yet to be backed up” data.

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Do note: WD Quick Drive format works only if the utility is running from another storage source and if the drive is in use. Quick Drive does not force terminate those activities and hence gives an error message:

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For those who don’t know, you cannot run any format utility (at least the one I know of) on the same drive where the source of the utility is currently running from.

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Thanks to Gigabyte, Kingston and Western Digital for providing the hardware for our standard test system.

AS SSD Benchmark

CrystalDisk Benchmark

ATTO Benchmark

HD Tune Pro Benchmark

File Transfer Tests


The 5400RPM WD 500GB Storage drive is a bit slower a 320GB 7200RPM GoFlex Slim. Comparatively, its pretty okay since you’re getting more speed and its a USB 3.0 drive.

Unless you hate gloss, there’s not much reason you would not consider this.

3 Years warranty, 2.5inch form factor 500gig drive USB 3.0= Rs. 2,900 via Delta Peripherals. 500GB is the bare minimum one should go for as 320gig version of the same drive costs Rs. 400/-. For many, letting go of that extra space for Rs. 400 is a lot, especially for long-term storage. During the load, the temperature of the drive did not cross 42 degrees at max (room temperature at the time 32 degrees Celsius).

7200RPM doesn’t seem to matter much when it comes to external storage, at least comparing the GoFlex Slim drive.

India (Online Prices) U.S. U.K.
Rs. 2,900/- $69 £53.99

3 comments

  1. I bought the drive, same model number as u have tested.. true, i tried to open the case so as to use the drive in laptop, but alas, the connector socket is soldered to drive PCB.. now way we can use it as internal drive for laptop.. but one good thing, i tried standard micro USB cable, in the wider of two connector sockets, it worked well..  thanks for your review, i read this before buying the drive..

  2. You should give it for replacement to your dealer. They'll help you with it.

  3. OK, I have this same thing in red color. BUT, I have trouble with it all the time. It lays dead and does not work most of the time. It ran fine for about a year, I guess. Then its been a piece of junk. Any tips?

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