I've been a fan of WD's My Passport series of external hard drives for some time, but with some wireless drives having come and gone over the past couple of years, I could never help but wonder where on earth the WD option was. Well, that question has now been answered, with the just-announced and appropriately-named WD My Passport Wireless.
WD's tagline for the Wireless is "Every device. One drive. No wires.", which does a great job of explaining what the drive is all about. Under the hood is a 500GB, 1TB, or 2TB hard drive, along with an 802.11n 2x2 Wi-Fi adapter. As with most wireless storage, you'll be connecting to this My Passport through Wi-Fi, as if it were a hotspot. Then through WD's official app or a file manager that can handle network shares, you'll be able to browse all of your data and do whatever it is you want to do with it.
What helps the My Passport Wireless stand out from competing products is that it has a built-in SD card slot. In conjunction with WD's app, you'll be able to pop the SD card out of your camera and into this My Passport, and the data on it will automatically back up onto the mechanical storage. WD purposely designed this feature to rule out redundancy, so files will not back up more than once, which is a nice plus. This functionality could prove to be extremely useful for those who have a smaller SD card and happen to run out of room on it while shooting pictures or video (a serious downer; I found myself there many years ago).
Under the hood of the Wireless is a fast enough chip to allow up to 4 simultaneous HD streams (at up to 8Mbps per) to broadcast to devices, while for normal data sharing, up to 8 people can access it at once. For such a small device, this really does have some brawn.
Battery-wise, the Wireless should be able to handle up to 6 hours of continuous video playback (it's not clear if that takes the 4 concurrent streams into account), and it can live for up to 20 hours in standby. Clearly, you will not want to accidentally keep your Wireless idle, but rather turn it off entirely when you don't want to use it.
In addition to all of the features mentioned above, the Wireless also has an "intuitive" dashboard, which runs through a Web browser. From here, you can check up on the drive's health, erase it, register it, and so on.
WD's My Passport Wireless should become available at etail very soon, and it'll be priced at $129.99 for the 500GB, $179 for the 1TB, and $219 for the 2TB.