The all-new WD My Passport SSD of 2020, first announced late last month, is different from the previous models. It now has a different look, slightly larger physical size, and, most importantly, much faster.
But it inherits some valuable similarities, too, from the rugged design to the built-in hardware encryption and useful bundled software.
Available in 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB capacities that have the retail price of $119.99 and $189.99, and $359.99, respectively, the new My Passport SSD aims to be a formidable contender to the Crucial X8. And it indeed proved to be one in my testing.
If you’re in the market for a fast, portable, and secure device to carry a ton of data on the go, you can’t go wrong with this little one. Get it.
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WD My Passport SSD of 2020: An all-new portable drive
WD’s latest My Passport SSD is a familiar concept. It’s a USB portable bus-powered storage device that houses a solid-state drive (SSD) on the inside.
Much faster internal SSD, now colorful
In fact, the first model, released some half a decade years back, was one of the first SSD-based portable storage on the market that didn’t need to conform to the 2.5-inch design of SATA internal drives. Instead, it used the mSATA design, which allows for a super-compact shape.
This latest version takes that to a new step. It now uses an NVMe SSD on the inside, which allows for much faster performance. WD first used this type of in it WD Black P50, designed for gamers. Now the mainstream My Passport SSD gets that, too.
To accommodate the faster internal storage, the new drive features USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps). It will work with existing USB 3.2 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) and USB 2.0 ports, but at slower speeds, accordingly.
The 2020 WD My Passport SSD is also the first in this product line available in multiple colors, including Gray, Blue, Red, and Gold. Not a huge deal, but this sure is less boring than the previous models that are available only in black.
2020 WD My Passport SSD: Hardware specifications
|Capacity||500GB / 1TB / 2TB|
|Model (Replace xx with GY for Gray, BL for Blue, RD for RED, and GD for Gold)||WDBAGF5000Axx / WDBAGF0010Bxx / WDBAGF0020Bxx|
|Interface||USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) with USB-C|
|USB 3.0/2.0 compatible||Yes|
|Cable included||USB-C and one USB-A adapter|
|Dimensions||3.94 x 2.17 x .35 in (100 x 55 x 9 mm)|
|Copy speed||Up to 1050 MB/s|
|Encryption support||AES 256-bit|
|Supported operating systems||Windows (8.1 and later), Mac OS (10.13 and later)|
|MSRP (U.S.)||$119.99 / $189.99 / TBD|
Rugged design, ready to work right out of the box
Out of the box, the new My Passport SSD includes a USB-C cable and a USB-A adapter. On top of that, it’s also using the exFAT file systems. As a result, you can use it immediately with almost any host device, be it a Mac, a Windows computer, or a game console.
While the drive’s housing looks plasticky, it’s actually all aluminum which feels rugged. And the drive is indeed tough, rated to handle drops from a height of up to 6.5 feet (1.98 m). I tried tossing it around a few times and even left it with my two toddlers for a couple of hours, and it indeed survived, unscathed.
By the way, unlike the previous model which attracts dirt and fingerprints easily, the new My Passport SSD’s skin stays clean, and you can also wipe it with a cloth to make it look like new.
2020 WD My Passport SSD: Detail photos
Excellent security feature
Plug the 2020 My Passport SSD into your computer and you’ll note the installer of the WD Discovery software suite which includes WD Security, WD Backup, and WD Utilities.
In my trial, the WD Backup only works with Dropbox, which makes it redundant since you can always use the Dropbox app. The WD Utilities, which supposedly monitor the health of the portable SSD, didn’t recognize it somehow. So it was useless.
On the other, WD Security proved to be quite valuable. You can use it to password protect the drive using its built-in AES 256-bit hardware encryption feature.
Once you have turned on the protection with a password, the drive set aside a small partition that contains the WD Unlock utility. Subsequently, when you plug the drive into a new computer that doesn’t already have WD Security installed, you can still unlock the drive.
Keep in mind, though, that if you forget the password, there’s no way to get your data back.
WD My Passport SSD of 2020: Excellent performance, a bit hot
I tested the 1 TB version of the new WD My Passport SSD and it proved to be one of the fastest USB portable drives on the market.
Via a USB 3.2 Gen 2 connection, the drive registered the sustained copy speed of some 815 MB/s for reading and some 515 MB/s for writing, both were just a tad behind the Crucial X8.
In tests with USB 3.2 Gen 1, though, the new drive topped the chart with 658 MB/s and 420 MB/s for reading and writing, respectively. It worked with USB 2.0 in my testing, but the speeds now topped at around 40 MB/s, like the case of other portable SSD.
The new My Passport SSD ran a bit warm in my trial. It wasn’t hot enough to cause any concern but definitely produced more heat than the previous model.
WD My Passport SSD 2020's Rating
Fast USB 3.2 Gen 2 performance
Compact, rugged, practical design
USB-C-ready with cable and adapter included
Useful security feature
5- year warranty
Runs a bit hot
Useless WD Backup and WD Utilities applications
Slightly more expensive than competitors
Though not earth-shattering, the new My Passport SSD 2020 is a welcome change in Western Digital’s popular family of ultra-fast portable storage.
Apart from the new design that stays clean, which is nice, the drive’s next level of performance will make life easier for those needing to copy a ton of data at a time. And the security feature will give them peace of mind, something they won’t have with its competitor, the Crucial X8.