The My Passport SSD 2018 version, available up to 2TB, is a bit of a surprise. Even though it appears very similar to a namesake drive that shipped last year, it's different enough to qualify as a new portable drive entirely.
For one, it's faster, in fact, one of the fastest SSD-based portable drives on the market. And it's also affordable. For example, the 2TB version currently costs just $540 (or 27 cents per gigabyte), some $150 less than its contender, the Samsung T5.
That said if you're in the market for a rugged yet compact portable drive that will give you both performance and security, look no further than the 2018 My Passport SSD.
My Passport SSD 2018 vs. 2017 version
Not all My Passport SSDs are created equal. WD quietly launched the 2018 version of the My Passport SSD last month. You won't be able to tell it apart from the version released in 2017 since the two look the same on the outside. The new drive, however, has a few key differences.
- Its model number starts with WDBKVXxxx (as opposed to WDBK3Exxx of the old one)
- It's supported by SanDisk while the old drive is by WD.
- It has four capacities and caps at 2TB. The old drive has only three storage sizes and caps at 1TB.
And finally, also the most important, the new drive proved to be faster in my testing and currently costs less per gigabyte. So, yeah, make sure you pick the right one!
My Passport SSD 2018: Hardware specifications
My Passport SSD 2018: Super-compact and rugged
The My Passport SSD is tiny, just about the size of a classic Zippo lighter. It's thinner and much lighter, though. It's about as light as the included short USB-C cable.
Despite the modest physical size, the drive is rugged. WD says it can easily withstand drops from up to 6.5-foot height and has the shock resistance of up to 1,500 g-forces. I gave it to my toddler to play for a day, and it survived without any problem. That's for sure more impressive than most of the toys and at least one iPhone, we have in the house.
Even though the drive is not supposed to be waterproof, it survived going through the washing and drying processes when I accidentally left it in my shorts' pocket. Don't try that with your drive, however. Generally, it would be best if you handled all storage devices with care.
There's one thing you need to know: this portable drive is a fingerprint super magnet. Once you've touched it, it's almost impossible to undo that fact.
My Passport SSD 2018’s detail photos
Strong encryption, useful software
Like the Samsung T5, the My Passport SSD features 256-bit AES hardware encryption to protect the data it holds in case of loss or thief. You can turn this feature on and password-protect your drive using WD Security software. Keep in mind that, if you forget the password, you'll lose your data, there's no way to crack the password.
Out of the box, the drive is formatted using the exFAT file system, allowing it to work with both Windows and Mac computers interchangeably, without you having to reformat it. exFAT doesn't support Time Machine backup, so if you want to use the drive for this purpose, you'll need to format it first.
Preloaded on the drive is the installer of the WD Discovery software. Once installed, this software will give you a link to install other software applications such as WD Security, WD Utilities, and WD Backup. There are also links to trial versions of other software.
Other than WD Security, which is necessary if you want to protect the drive's content, you don't need any of the rest. For example, in my experience the WD Backup software, while useful, doesn't provide any extra value considering Windows 10's built-in File History or Mac's Time Machine.
However, if you want to try out the software, I'd recommend downloading them individually, instead of using WD Discovery which can clutter your computer with product placements.
My Passport SSD 2018: Excellent performance
I tested the 2TB version of the new My Passport SSD, and it did very well. The drive delivered a sustained copy speed of more than 478 megabytes per second for reading. In writing, it scored 377MB/s. These are currently the fastest on the market for any SSD-based, non-RAID portable drive.
Even though the new My Passport SSD isn't faster than the T5 by a considerable margin, considering the significantly lower cost, it still sure gives the Samsung contender a good run for its money.
The drive also worked with a USB 2.0 port in my trial. Of course, in this case, its performance was much slower, topping at just around 38MB/s. There's only one USB-C cable in the box, but thanks to an included USB-A to USB-C adapter, you can use the drive with any computer, both new and old.
2018 WD My Passport SSD's Rating
Compact rugged design with USB-C
More affordable than competitors
USB-C cable and USB-A adapter included
Compatible with Windows and Mac right out of the box
No larger capacities than 2TB
The 3-year warranty is a bit short
Other than the fact it attracts fingerprints easily, there's nothing else to complain about the 2018 My Passport SSD.
The drive has everything you'd want from a portable drive: portability, ruggedness, security, and performance. On top of that, its affordable pricing means a hardcore Samsung fan should think twice before picking the T5 over it.