WD Passport Wireless Pro Review

Western Digital has released the latest version of its WD Passport Wireless. This Pro version comes with up to 50% more capacity of the previous version as well as the ability to take advantage of several new application capabilities that weren’t available at the time of the previous release. The WD Passport Wireless Pro comes with up to 3TB of capacity, both USB 3.0 and 2.0 connectivity, an SD card reader, WiFi connectivity and can even charge your mobile devices.

The WD Passport Wireless Pro is aimed at the creative professional such as a photographer or video editor. Creative professionals can load their SD card or connect the storage media through the USB port to transfer content to the WD Passport Wireless Pro making room on their storage media. Those with compatible cameras can wirelessly connect to the device to offload content. These features aren’t necessarily new or unique however the WD Passport Wireless Pro allows users to connect with several storage, editing, and media options, enabling editing on the spot or on the go.

Integrating with Creative Cloud, creative professionals will be able to edit on the spot using an iPad. Not only does this make editing fast and easy it also can lower the overall amount of equipment that needs to be taken on site. Laptops and direct attached storage along with several cords can be left behind and replace with the WD Passport Wireless Pro and an iPad. The WD Passport Wireless Pro can also appeal to the general public or for downtime of the creative professionals. The device has up to 10 hours of battery time, can connect to and stream to up to 8 devices, and is currently the only portable Plex server.

For this review we will be looking at the 2TB WD Passport Wireless Pro, which has a retail price of $229.99 and comes with a 2-year warranty.

 

WD Passport Wireless Pro Specifications:

  • Capacity: 2TB, 3TB
  • Battery capacity: 6400mAh
  • WiFi protocol: Compliant with: 11n 1Tx1R: 802.11g/n (20M/40M) and 11ac 1Tx1R: 802.11a/n/ac (20M, 40M, 80M), Dual-Band/Dual AP
  • Supported protocols:
    • SMB
    • AFP
    • UPnP
    • FTP
  • Interface:
    • USB 3.0 up to 5 Gb/s
    • USB 2.0 up to 480 MB/s
    • SD 2.0 up to 25 MB/s
    • SD 3.0 up to 60 MB/s
  • Compatible OS:
    • Windows 10
    • Windows 8
    • Windows 7
    • El Capitan (Mac OS 10.11)
    • Yosemite (Mac OS 10.10)
    • Mountain Lion (Mac OS 10.8)
    • Lion (Mac OS 10.7)
  • Compatible browsers:
    • Internet Explorer 8.0 and later on supported Windows computers
    • Safari 6.0 and later on supported Mac computers
    • Firefox 29 and later on supported Windows and Mac computers
    • Google Chrome 31 and later on supported Windows and Mac computers
  • Physical:
    • (WxLxH): 126 x 126 x 24 mm
    • Weight: 446g (may vary by capacity)
  • Power:
    • AC input voltage (AC adapter): Input voltage: 90V to 260 VAC
    • AC input frequency: Input frequency: 47 to 63 Hz
  • Environmental:
    • Operating humidity: 10%-80% (non- condensing)
    • Non-operating humidity: 5%-90%
    • Altitude: Up to 10,000 MSL

 

Design and build

The WD Passport Wireless Pro is a relatively small square, not quite small enough to fit in your pocket or in the palm of your hand, but fits nicely in a camera bag. The top of the device has branding in the middle left as well as LED lights for showing WiFi connection and drive status. The top left hand corner has four power LEDs with each light indicating 25% battery power. The right hand middle of the drive comes with a sticker that gives users the WiFi password.

The bottom of the device contains a sticker with information such as model number and power usage. There are four small rubber feet to keep the device from easily sliding around as it rests on a smooth surface.

The sides of the device have the SD card slot, the power button, a micro-b USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, and the battery button (that can show battery status when the device is off, can manually transfer from the SD card, and can turn on WPS).

 

Performance

The WD Passport Wireless Pro caters to creative professionals and is rich with features aimed specifically to those that would find this device most attractive. That may be an odd way to start a performance section, but the main focus of the device is on all its various functions versus its actually disk speed. That being said we tested the WD Passport Wireless Pro on our HP Z620 Workstation and compared it to the previous WD Passport Wireless. These tests are through a wired connection using the USB 3.0 port and do not reflect wireless capabilities.

Looking at 2MB sequential speeds the WD Passport Wireless Pro was able to hit 109.32MB/s write and 109.68MB/s read. Comparing the Pro the non-Pro we see it performed faster on reads and just a hair under on writes, the non-Pro gave us 91.5MB/s read and 113.6MB/s write.

Our 2MB random transfers showed the Pro with 72.33MB/s write and 73.18MB/s read while the non-Pro had 35.4MB/s write and 57.5MB/s read. In other words the Pro had twice the write speeds and roughly 50% higher read speeds.

Looking at our 4K random transfer speeds the Pro gave us 1.12MB/s write and 0.47MB/s read which was significantly higher on writes that then non-Pro (0.27MB/s) and about even with reads (0.48MB/s).

 

 

Conclusion

The WD Passport Wireless Pro is a portable storage device that has up to 3TB of storage. Users can connect to the drive wirelessly to interface with the device or use the USB 3.0, USB 2.0, or SD card port to transfer files to it. With the creative professional in mind, the Passport Wireless Pro can quickly offload files from devices such as SD cards. It also connects with applications such as Creative Cloud that allow photos to be edited on the spot. There is cloud connectivity such as Dropbox that allows for photos to be backed up before or after editing, and the device itself can act as a backup for photos and videos. The device also has a 10-hour battery and can stream to 8 devices using media streaming services such as Plex. This ability makes it attractive to media enthusiasts that may take long trips and would like to take part of their library with them for entertainment or to keep the kids quiet.

As stated the WD Passport Wireless Pro makes no real bold claims about performance, it is designed with highlighting its multitude of features versus blazing fast speeds. Still, it is nice to have some idea what to expect when using any type of storage for important files. For performance we compared the current generation of the WD Passport Wireless Pro to the previous and found that it maintained performance in some areas and excelled in others. Using IOmeter we tested the device using 2MB sequential, random, and 4K random. In 2MB sequential the device hit 109.32MB/s write and 109.68MB/s read. With 2MB random we saw 72.33MB/s write and 73.18MB/s read, twice the write speed of the previous device. And with 4K random transfer speeds we saw 1.12MB/s write and 0.47MB/s read.


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