The Western Digital My Passport Edge is priced at £70, and fulfils a niche: Ready-to-go pocket hard drives. As such, it comes in one flavour – a 500GB drive with a USB 3.0 interface. The line is built on a simpler premise, namely, it’s a convenient external hard drive which can be bought with little thought or effort. And that concept pretty much works. Instead of having to agonise over what capacity they need, and little details such as colour choices, it's a hard drive which can be recommended to friends or relatives when they "just need a hard drive."
The My Passport Edge is a compact, pocket-sized drive measuring about 80 x 115 x 13mm (WxDxH), which makes it a little shorter than an iPhone 4S, a smidge wider, and almost as thin. It's thinner, but otherwise about the same size as other recent My Passport drives like the Western Digital My Passport 2TB.
The drive is made mostly of matte black polycarbonate plastic, with a thin metal lid with the drive's name and a dot-based design printed on it. One edge houses the USB 3.0 micro-b connector. The drive comes with a USB 3.0 cable, so it's ready to use right out of the box. There's a three-year warranty, which is better than some competitors like the Seagate Backup Plus, which makes do with a two-year warranty. Both warranties are better than more basic drives that come with a one-year warranty.
The drive comes formatted for NTFS, to work with Windows systems. With NTFS, you can read but not write files via a Mac, but of course you can reformat the drive for use with a Mac if you wish. The drive comes with a set of Mac and Windows utilities, and WD SmartWare (an easy to use backup utility), WD Security (simple hardware encryption), and WD Drive Utilities (diagnostics and sleep timer).
Really, if you're not planning on setting up automatic backup on Windows, you don't have to use any of the included utilities. The drive's 500GB capacity is certainly enough to backup most laptops and ultrabooks, and it can also be used as a quick way to transfer large multi-gigabyte files between computers.
The My Passport Edge is a speedy drive. It took a scant 16 seconds to copy our standard 1.2GB test folder over USB 3.0. We also saw good scores on the PCMark 05 (6,158 points) and PCMark 7 (1,536 points) hard drive tests. This compares well to the excellent Seagate Backup Plus (which scored 6,463 on PCMark 05 and 1,498 on PCMark 7). The larger capacity My Passport 2TB was also in the same ballpark (6,106 on PCMark 05). Essentially, if you have a USB 3.0 equipped laptop or desktop, all three choices will be speedy, much speedier than USB 2.0, which takes over forty seconds to copy the same folder on all three drives.
The Western Digital My Passport Edge is a good hard drive, and will serve you well if you get one. It's fast, and it comes with an impressively long warranty. However, the Seagate Backup Plus has an interchangeable interface, which is a better choice for techie users who need to use other interfaces like FireWire or Thunderbolt.
And the Seagate Backup Plus can now be picked up online for only a tenner or so more, with a 1TB capacity (normally it’s around £100, but the drive is currently discounted to around £80). Though the £70 My Passport Edge has a better warranty, and is a tad more compact, Seagate’s offering is clearly the winner in terms of value for money.
That said, if you're a tech savvy person who needs to convince his or her tech brain-dead relative to back up their files, the My Passport Edge is a stress-free recommendation you can give without hesitation.
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