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Test: WD My passport SSD with usb 3.1 gen 2

Design, functions and ease of use

More and more computers have thunderbolt 3 port or usb type c ports with usb 3.1 gen 2. It doubles the speed from 5 gigabit per second in old usb 3 to 10 gigabit, which means that in theory you can transfer a little over a gigabyte data in one second.

So, what is this fast port for? The most obvious would be to connect an external disk and get speeds as fast as in a really sharp internal ssd. The WD My Passport SSD is a new small, pocket-sized storage device that supports the new, fast standard. It is available in three variants – from 256 GB to 1 TB.

WD My Passport SSD 256GB
The WD My Passport SSD has a shape that is noticeable, for better or for worse.

Cool but impractical shape

It is a small square block that is barely one decimeter long and one centimeter thick. Its slightly odd design, half black plastic and half wavy silver, definitely makes it stand out, but we’re not really that keen on the format. Samsung’s T3, with its rounded corners and extra-slim Sandisk Extreme 5000, does a better job of handy portability.

On one short side is the usb connector, and it comes with a 45 centimeter cable to connect to usb c. Do you want to plug into a “regular” usb 3 of type a, or if there is no better choice a usb 2 port , we also get a small adapter that is pressed on at one end.

My Passport SSD is pre-formatted with exFAT, and thus works directly for both PC and Mac. On the disk are installation files for WD Discovery, a program that keeps track of the disk when you plug it in, and which itself contains and can install and download “apps” with a simple push of a button and which are then started via WD Discovery.

WD My Passport SSD 256GB
WD’s own apps for backup and encryption are neat and user-friendly, but feature-poor.

Simple, good apps, and a lot of unnecessary things

Here we find WD’s three own programs – WD Drive Utilities for device maintenance, WD Security which encrypts and locks the device with 256-bit AES. What the third program WD Backup does should be obvious from the name; scheduled backups of any folder (by default your user folder in Windows) and saves to external disk. You can also make cloud backups to any Dropbox account.

The programs do their job and are easy to use, but also quite limiting. They cannot handle more than one user, and backup of something more advanced like a system image is not an option.

Then there’s also a list of a handful of “available apps” that we initially think are add-ons from third-party manufacturers that can be installed in the same way, but turn out to be just links to their regular web pages for paid programs and services. Advertising, in other words. We would have liked to be without that. It’s bad enough with advertising and bloatware in mobiles and computers, do we really need it in our computer accessories now too?

Performance, facts, ratings

The new interface does nothing

How is it then in terms of performance? Does it live up to our high expectations for usb 3.1 gen 2? Unfortunately not. Here we max out the transfer speed at about 450 MB/sec, and when we transfer larger directories of small files to it, it’s also a bit slower than other external ssds we’ve tested.

WD My passport SSD

WD is tight-lipped about which interface is internal to the My Passport SSD, but we’re guessing it’s SATA, and not the significantly faster PCI Express interface and NVMe controller that the fastest SSDs have these days. You need either that or SATA in RAID configuration to get higher speeds. In other words, we get no noticeable improvement in maximum speed in fast usb 3.1 port compared to in an older usb 3.0 port. So why it even has support for it we have a hard time understanding.


The WD My passport SSD is a welcome addition to a so far small group of usb type c accessories, but it doesn’t really add anything new. It fails to take advantage of the extra maximum speed in the fastest USB standard and also underperforms a little in everyday use. WD gets plus for its own simple and good programs, but they could use some cleaning up. It gets just over approved by us, but not much more.

Facts WD My Passport SSD 256 GB

Manufacturer: Western Digital
Feature: Portable storage
Storage location: 256GB
File system: exFAT
Interface: Usb 3.1 gen 2
Included program: Backup, encryption
Miscellaneous: Usb type c cable, adapter to usb type a, 3 year warranty
Size: 9 x 4.5 x 1 cm
Weight: 40 grams
Award: approx. SEK 1,400


Small and light
Easy to use programs


Angular shape
Not as fast as we hoped
Disruptive advertising in the apps

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