The Western Digital (WD) My Passport Wireless SSD is basically a solid state storage device with an SD card slot and a USB 2.0 (Type A) port. The SD slot allows you to download images and video directly while the USB port is for connecting devices like a CF card reader.
It also has WiFi connectivity built-in and this enables you to connect a smartphone or computer wirelessly.
What’s more, with WD’s My Cloud app you can browse and download images for sharing.
WD offers the My Passport Wireless SSD with capacities of 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB. I tested the 500GB version.
In addition to the solid state drive, there’s a rechargeable battery inside the unit’s grey shell. This gives up to 10 hours of life, which should be sufficient for most landscape shoots. It also enables the drive to operate as a 6700mAh power bank,. It can supply up to 1.5A current to charge your phone. If the My Passport is in use, the current drops to 0.9A, so charging will take a bit longer.
There are just two buttons on the side of the My Passport Wireless SSD. Naturally, one is the power button while the other is used to initiate image transfer and start the WiFi system. I opted to switch the system to automatically import images when an SD card is inserted into the drive’s slot. You can also choose to do this with devices connected via the USB port.
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Build Quality and Handling
At 135mm or 5.31inches square in its silicon protective bumper case, the My Passport Wireless SSD has a slightly bigger footprint than the My Passport Wireless Pro I tested last year. This is a bit of a surprise given that the use of SSD is seeing storage devices shrink in size.
It’s slightly more rounded than the older model, but other respects the two drives look very similar.
The initial set-up of the My Passport Wireless SSD is fairly straightforward. First, you need to charge the battery and download the WD My Cloud app to your smartphone or tablet. Alternatively, you can you access the drive’s dashboard via a computer connected to the internet.
I opted to use the app on my phone and it took me through the necessary steps without a hitch.
Once that’s done, you shouldn’t need to input the password to reconnect the two devices. I experienced a couple of hiccups in the early days, but mostly it has been smooth sailing. The problems were resolved by resetting the drive, a process that thankfully preserves all the data stored on it.
As I mentioned earlier, I set the drive to download files from any connected devices. I also opted to only import new files each time a card was inserted into the slot or a USB device was connected. This means that you have incremental back-ups, which makes better use of the storage space.
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Every time I inserted a card into the slot there was just a moment’s pause before the blue LED’s began to illuminate to indicate that the files were copying. With read speeds up to 65MB/s you’re not kept waiting too long for images to copy across. However, the card’s speed has an impact as well.
Once the row of four lights on the top of the drive are lit, the transfer is complete. I can rarely resist checking that my images are all present and usually connect my phone wirelessly to take a look. Every time I’ve checked so far, they’ve been there.
Raw file preview support means that you’re able to see your raw files as well as the jpegs. That means you can edit them using an app such as Lightroom mobile if you want. You can also use the drive to store 4K movies and stream them to your phone or tablet for viewing via an app like FILMiC Pro.
It would be nice if you could customise the names of the back-up folders on the drive. As it is they use the card name and date. You change them, but that means that a duplicate folder with the original name is created when the card is reinserted.
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Although I had a couple of wobbles in the early days, perhaps as a result of being in an area with a multitude of wireless devices trying to connect, I’ve subsequently had a flawless performance from the My Passport Wireless SSD.
It’s a useful device for lots of photographers, but it’s especially useful for anyone with a high-resolution or high frame-rate camera. If you’re shooting at 10fps or more, for instance, you’ll soon fill up your memory cards. Having the My Passport Wireless SSD in your bag means you don’t need to carry a laptop. You can download your images to it, then format your card and carry on shooting. And if you want, you can browse your shots while you’re taking a break and even edit and share them via your phone.
I’d find it hard to justify the cost of the 2TB drive, but the 500GB drive seems like a good deal.