The Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro is a portable hard drive (available in 1, 2, 3 and 4TB configurations) with an SD card slot, USB port, Wi-Fi connectivity and a rechargeable battery built-in. And as I packed for a trip to Northumberland a few weeks ago I realised it would be a good solution to my storage needs. My main concern was that in addition to the Canon 77D, Canon M6 and a GoPro Hero5 I was taking the Sony A9 and with its ability to shoot at 20fps I knew I’d need every fast SD card I could lay my hands on.
Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro: Set-up
After charging the battery the first step in setting-up the My Passport Wireless Pro is to download the WD My Cloud app to your smartphone or tablet. Then you turn on the drive and connect your phone via the Wi-Fi hotspot that it creates. There’s a choice of two networks, 5GHz (802.11ac), which is fast but short range, or the longer range but slower 2.4GHz 802.11n option.
The next step is to open the My Cloud app and follow the straightforward set-up instructions.
Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro: Use
Once the set-up is complete you have three means of connecting to the My Passport Wireless Pro, directly to its Wi-Fi hotspot, via a Wi-Fi network or via the supplied USB 3 cable. I found I predominantly used the My Passport Wireless Pro’s Wi-Fi hotspot to check that my images had downloaded from my card (they always had) and to transfer a few images to my phone for sharing on Facebook or Instagram. Meanwhile I used the USB connection to my laptop to access the files for processing.
The Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro really came into its own when I was photographing puffins on the Farne Islands. I managed to fill my UHS-II cards but I was able to free them up quickly by popping them one at a time into the My Passport Wireless Pro’s SD card slot and pressing the button to trigger the download. If you prefer you can set the My Passport Wireless Pro to download files automatically when a card is inserted. After the blue LEDs had stopped flashing to indicate the transfer was complete, I made a quick check on my iPhone to verify that the files were there, I ejected the card, popped it back in the camera and formatted it ready for use.
The transfer speed is high so you can expect a 16GB Class 10 card to clear in between 5 and 6 minutes.
When a card is inserted for the first time into the My Passport Wireless Pro it copies the contents into a folder tagged with the date. If you use the card again, only the new files will be copied across and they’ll be in a folder with the new date. These incremental back-ups save you time and space on the hard drive.
Helpfully, the My Passport Wireless Pro has a USB 2 port that can be used for connecting a card reader to transfer images from a CF or other type of card. In addition the unit’s internal battery has a 10 hour life and it can be used as a power bank to charge your phone or other mobile device.
Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro: Verdict
At 126mm square the Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro doesn’t take up much space in my carry-on bag and has become a travel essential for me. It gives me the assurance that my images are backed-up and lets me reuse memory cards if I need to. It’s also great to be able to check that images have downloaded and transfer them onto my phone for sharing even when I’m not in a Wi-Fi zone. I highly recommend it to anyone who regularly shoots away from home.
If you decide to buy one I recommend that you also invest in the WD My Passport Wireless Pro Hard Case to protect it in transport. I found the case useful and was just able to squeeze the USB 3 cable in with the drive.