If you’re like me, chances are good that a normal part of your mobile kit for photo travel is a laptop computer. However, given the choice, it would also be one of the first things I would jettison from my travel kit thanks to the added weight and space it consumes in my pack. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a viable way to do it since I usually need to back up data, do some editing in the field, and share images to social media or to clients.
That’s exactly the challenge the Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro is designed to address. It’s a hard drive with its own built-in Wi-Fi network, internal SD card slot, USB connection, and dedicated iOS and Android apps. In theory, it should appeal to those who want to back up photos and videos in the field, access their data from a mobile device such as an iPad, and even do some editing of their files without a computer.
This is the second iteration of Western Digital’s My Passport Wireless line of products; we reviewed the original about a year and a half ago and, although it was great in concept, it felt a bit like a first attempt at a product with room to improve. In fact, a Western Digital representative told us that the company listened carefully to users of the first edition, and that most of the improvements in this updated model were in direct response to user feedback.
On the hardware side of things, the My Passport Wireless Pro has a much faster SD card slot than its predecessor, with a 75 MB/sec read speed compared to 10 MB/sec on the previous model. It also supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi using both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, and WD tells us the new model is capable of WiFi data transfers up to 20 MB/sec compared to 9 MB/sec on the first edition. Additionally, battery capacity has been improved significantly, from 3400 mAh to 6400 mAh, providing a claimed 11.5 hours of mobile power (6-8 hours under heavy use).
However, according to WD, one of the most common feature requests was directed at the MyCloud mobile app, which didn’t provide a way for users to export photos from the drive to the Camera Roll on their device. The new WD My Cloud app facilitates this, though how it works will depend whether you’re using JPEG or Raw files.
- 2TB/3TB 5400rpm hard drive
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
- Built-in Wi-Fi hotspot
- SD 3.0 card reader
- USB 2.0 port for external card readers
- Connectivity to common cloud services, including Adobe Creative Cloud
- Rechargeable battery with up to 11.5 hours of operation
- IOS and Android apps
- Plex media server