The WD My Passport Wireless Pro Tested
We put the WD My Passport Wireless drive through its paces for a few days, and can report that it works well for its intended use cases.
Overall, this is a very convenient device for automatic media backup. You can configure it to copy files from other devices and it will do so automatically. With the USB 3 connection, you can also use it as tethered backup. At 1.5 pounds it's not light in terms of a portable storage system, but it does pack a lot of content, and the built-in battery and shared wireless access can be quite handy.
In terms of quantitative testing, let's talk about battery life first. WD claims 10 hours, I got a little over 9 hours out of the WD My Passport Wireless Pro with typical use, that consist of a mix of idle time and occasional bursts of use. Considering that the WD My Passport Wireless Pro's battery life will exceed that of most laptops, the 9 hours plus we got from it should be adequate for most users.
- Desktop: Home-built system, Intel Core i7 6700K, 16GB memory, Nvidia GTX970 graphics, OCZ Vector 180 SSD, 802.11n wireless
- Laptop: Dell Inspiron N4110 (Intel Core i3 2330M, Intel HD Graphics 3000), 8GB memory, Windows 10 Home Edition, OCZ ARC100 SSD drive, 802.11n wireless.
- Tablet: iPad generation 3, 16GB Wi-Fi edition, 802.11n wireless
- Smartphone: iPhone 6, 64GB storage, 802.11ac wireless.
After copying the contents to the My Passport, I played it back from 10 feet away on the laptop, iPhone and iPad. The music started up with only a second or two of hesitation. On the iPad and iPhone, it was played back in the My Passport software. On the Windows 10 laptop, the Groove music app was kicked off to play back the music -- since the device acts like a network drive when attached to a PC, your default media playback application will launch.
There was no hesitation in playback, and the signal never degraded, even with a thick wall in between. Streaming music should be problem free as long as you are within range of the device.
This was the tougher test because of problems with file formats. When I stuck to common video file formats, such as MP4 or AVI, the iPhone, laptop, and iPad had no problems and I could play the video back from within the My Passport software without issue.
When using less-common formats, like MKV, I needed third-party players which could cause problems for some users. For example, some videos became jerky and stalled on the iPad where they had previously been smooth as glass. One player supported subtitles while another did not. These aren't issues with the My Passport Wireless Pro, but it's something to keep in mind if you plan to share a multimedia library across multiple types of devices.
This was one of the niftier features of the device. Many of us know the frustration of running out of storage space on your smartphone, even with 128GB of storage. With the My Passport Wireless Pro, you can carry it with you to automatically copy your smartphone's pictures or other media. WD also support professional cameras if they have Wi-Fi connectivity, but we weren't able to test that out.
I set up the auto-backup software on the iPhone to auto copy pictures to the My Passport Wireless Pro, which it did seconds after a picture was taken. I walked around the house, inside and out, iPhone in hand and the My Passport in a backpack. After taking a bunch of pictures, I found them all copied to the My Passport Wireless Pro by the time I plugged it back in. It worked flawlessly in this regard.
For a second test, I walked around taking pictures while leaving the My Passport at its plugged in location. When I got back and sat down at the PC, I could see the files being copied. Once the phone was in-range of the My Passport Wireless Pro it begins copying files.
Performance while transferring files will depend on the range, wireless interference in the area, the type of wireless network controller you have, and the size / type of the files being copied. To give some actual data, we timed the transfer of a 3.15GB file from the WD My Passport Wireless Pro to a Windows 10 laptop, connected to the device via 802.11n. Keep in mind, with 802.11ac, transfer speed will likely be better.