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Western Digital My Passport 640GB review

Western Digital shows how all passport drives aren't the same

Our Verdict

An elegant new take on the portable hard drive, and not too pricey either

For

  • e-ink labelling
  • FireWire and USB connectivity
  • Useful management software

Against

  • Micro USB is inconvenient

With so many portable hard drives to choose from it's not easy for a new release to stand out from the crowd, but Western Digital's My Passport Studio 640GB succeeds admirably with an interesting feature that's more than just a gimmick.

The new drive, which is preformatted for Mac and also available in 320 and 500GB capacities, features a small display screen based on e-ink technology.

You can customise it with your own 12-character label, and a graphic shows how much free space is available.

Because it uses e-ink, it remains on even when your drive isn't powered. The label is edited using WD's SmartWare drive management app, which also lets you password protect the drive using 256-bit encryption and back up your files. It's easy to use, and accessible through a menu bar icon.

A turbo driver for faster copying is also included. Connectiviy is through USB 2.0 and FireWire 800, with a bundled cable for a FireWire 400 port.

The drive label is an excellent idea, making great use of e-ink technology. The capacity gauge is handy too, but it disappears if you use the drive on a computer that hasn't got SmartWare installed, limiting its usefulness on a portable device.

Also, the drive uses the emerging but currently uncommon Micro USB standard, which could prove inconvenient if you haven't got the bundled lead with you.

Even so, it's great to see someone doing something different and inexpensive with the portable hard drive.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeHard Drive
Product FamilyMy Passport Studio
Drive Width2.5"
Brand NameWD
Drive TypeExternal
Storage Capacity640 GB
Rotational Speed5400 rpm
Host InterfaceFireWire/i.LINK 800, USB 2.0
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
ColourSilver
ManufacturerWestern Digital Corporation
Product ModelWDBAAE6400ASL
Product NameMy Passport Studio WDBAAE6400ASL Hard Drive
Package TypeRetail
Product LineMy Passport Studio
Manufacturer Part NumberWDBAAE6400ASL-EESN
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.wdc.com
Marketing Information

My Passport Studio WDBAAE6400ASL ultra-portable hard drive with customizable e-label is the high performance drive packed with features for Mac users on the go. Create your own personalized drive label to remind you of what's stored on each drive. You can even view the label when the drive is unplugged. The display also includes available capacity and security status.

Weight (Approximate)180 g