Review of WD My Passport Wireless Drive

WD My Passport Wireless Drive – A Great Tool for Photographers

On occasion, I write about travel related products that I use, but there’s another whole side of my life that I rarely talk about – the equipment needed to publish this blog. As most of my readers will know, photography is a big part of what I do, and the possibility of losing photos from a trip causes me to lose sleep. At the end of each day, I transfer my photos from the camera’s SD card to my laptop, but that’s only a temporary fix. The storage capacity of my laptop is much too small to hold all my work, so I always travel with an external hard drive, where I keep a backup copy of the more than 100,000+ photos I’ve taken.

The WD My Passport Wireless external hard drive offers a sleek silhouette and compact size, with built-in SD Card slot

The WD My Passport Wireless external hard drive offers a sleek silhouette and compact size, with built-in SD Card slot

Recently, I was contacted by a representative from WD, who offered me the opportunity to test their new WD My Passport Wireless drive. I’ve been using My Passport drives for a number of years and they have always performed perfectly, however this new wireless drive has an SD card slot, so I would be able to eliminate backing up to the laptop entirely. And with its wireless capacity, I would also be able to upload photos from my iPhone to the drive on the fly. I eagerly accepted their offer to try it out.

Connect all your devices to the WD My Passport Wireless external hard drive

Connect all your devices to the WD My Passport Wireless external hard drive

Over the past six weeks I’ve been testing the drive. Initial setup was fairly easy. Buttons on the top of My Passport turned on the power and wireless. When the wireless indicator light stopped flashing, I clicked on my Macbook’s wireless icon and choose the network named “My Passport.”  Voila, my laptop and the external drive were connected wirelessly. I then opened a browser window, typed in the url http://mypassport.local to access the WD My Passport Wireless interface. The left side of the home page displayed the storage capacity of the drive, the number and type of files on it, and the amount of remaining storage capacity. The battery charge and the status of the wifi connection were shown on the right.

The browser interface allows users to connect the laptop and drive to the internet when a wifi connection is present

The browser interface allows users to connect the laptop and drive to the internet when a wifi connection is present

To connect My Passport to the internet, I clicked on the wifi icon at the top of the browser interface. The resulting screen displayed three boxes. The first two (the connected device named “me” and My Passport Wireless) were already connected. Clicking the “ON” button in the third box discovered my internet connection. After entering my wifi password, my laptop once again had a live connection to the Internet. Advanced options also allows sharing the drive with anyone who is connected to the wifi network.

To connect my iPhone, I downloaded and installed WD’s free My Cloud app and used it to connect to the My Passport network. I selected a photo I wanted to send to the drive and clicked on the “send” icon. This displayed all the photos in my album and allowed me to select additional photos to send. Touching “next” allowed me to select the My Cloud app icon. On the resulting screen, I selected “Location” and then chose the folder on the drive where I wished to send the photos. The process was incredibly quick and easy!

My Cloud app for mobile devices transferring photos from phones and tablets a breeze

My Cloud app for mobile devices transferring photos from phones and tablets a breeze

Finally, my favorite use for the WD My Passport wireless drive was using the SD slot to transfer photos from my camera directly to the drive during a shoot. Before taking my drive into the field, I connected it to my Macbook, launched the browser interface, clicked on the “media” icon at the top, and scrolled down to the “SD Card” options. I chose to copy photos from my SD card to the drive rather than moving them (moving deletes photos from the card), and set it to automatically import whenever an SD card is inserted into the drive. After setup, backing up photos was a breeze. I popped the card out of my camera and into the slot on the drive; photos were immediately uploaded to the “SD card imports” folder on the drive. (The upload destination currently cannot be changed, so you will want to access the drive via your laptop after a shoot and move the photos that were imported into a uniquely named folder.)

In the field, turn on the drive and pop the SD Card out of your camera and into the drive to transfer photos automatically

In the field, turn on the drive and pop the SD Card out of your camera and into the drive to transfer photos automatically

Though I loved the WD My Passport Wireless, there are a few things that I feel could be improved. The battery only lasted a couple of hours before it had to be recharged. Initializing and connecting the drive took three to five minutes and if I let the drive go to sleep or walked away from it for an extended period, the My Passport connection was lost and had to be reactivated. The wifi connection was too slow for viewing the large number of files it holds on my Macbook, but the drive can be plugged directly into the laptop USB for direct viewing or copying.

Other than these minor issues, I was extremely pleased with the WD My Passport Wireless. It’s simplified my process for backing up photos, which lets me sleep easier. At $199 for the 2TB version on Amazon.com and $179.50 for the 1 TB version on Amazon.com, this is a piece of equipment that every professional photographer should consider adding to their kit.

Disclosure WD provided me with the WD My Passport Wireless drive for review, however the receipt and acceptance of complimentary items or services will never influence the content, topics, or posts in this blog. I write the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. All photos provided courtesy of WD.

20 Comments on “WD My Passport Wireless Drive – A Great Tool for Photographers

  1. Hello, I came across your review after I had purchased the 2Tb version.
    You are spot on with the Battery life being poor. Whilst copying a single SD card you can watch the battery capacity go down. Also very very slow to copy.
    Also there is a huge bug (for me anyway) with the file system. When copying the image files from the SD card the date for each file is changed to something that is completely incorrect. I have brought this to the attention of WD but am still waiting to hear anything. The support from WD is unbelievably slow – usually around 10 days to reply to any email.
    A good idea but not very usable in real life, it was a costly mistake for me.

    • Hi David: Thanks for sharing your experience. I don’t remember having the same issue with dates when my files were transferred over from my SD card, but I do wish the transfer speed was better.

  2. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips. It’s wonderful idea and i like it very much.

  3. Very well said Barbara. I traveled once in a while, and this device looks interesting to have in my pocket. I have a plan for this on my next travel in 6 months. Thanks!

  4. What a cool concept. I’ve been using the WD Passport for years while traveling for backup purposes.

    This totally cancels out half of the hassle (skipping the laptop all together).

    Thanks for the post, it a great help!

  5. I was reading this on my Flipboard app earlier, great post! I was really looking for a solution like this for my iPhone/iPad/Mac. My only worry is that does it still allow you to plug it in for a faster transfer of video files and such to the computer? And Does it have a notification for how many photos/videos it uploaded so you don’t delete the SD card and lose everything?

    By the way, I found your blog through the Nomads World article we both contributed on. Nice blog!

    • Hi Ryan: Thanks so much for the compliment – glad you enjoyed my blog :-). The WD My Passport Wireless Drive does have a USB cord that allows plugging it directly in, which makes the transfer speed much faster. It does not notify you of how many photos were uploaded from the SD card, however it does allow you to set it up not to delete photos from the SD card after transfer, so there is no danger of losing data.

  6. I feel so inspired with your story Ms. Barbara. I often ask myself too about what I really want. I guess, I need to spend time alone as well and start reflecting about my life. Anyways, WD My Passport Wireless is a great help!

    • Hi Shirley: Hope you figure it out. It took a crisis in my life to realize what’s really important, but I hope your inspiration comes without the crisis.

    • Great device! Thanks for that–didn’t know about it. I love your photos and blog. Roxana

    • It’s a great concept Nancy, and I think you’d find it easy to set up and use.

  7. The introduction of this external hard drive came at the right time for me. I was thinking about buying one as I have the same issue, lots of photos and recently videos, and the laptop’s hard disk is too small for it. I appreciate your detailed explanation.

    • You’re very welcome Rahman. Always happy to pass along information about well designed equipment.

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