A couple of months ago I started to look around for a better portable hard drive to bring our media with us on holiday as well as backup our photos and videos on the go.
After reading a lot of reviews from disappointed owners of a variety of devices, I eventually found one that seemed to have a good reputation and tick all the boxes.
WD My Passport Wireless Pro
This device is definitely marketed first and foremost to photographers. With its large capacity, wireless access and ability to backup or move files off any card inserted into its SD Slot automatically, it’s idea for pro’s…
My Passport Wireless Pro gives photographers and videographers portable storage to easily offload, edit and stream photos or high-definition videos in the field. Designed to work seamlessly with mobile devices, and an SD card reader built-in, you get an all-in-one drive to streamline your workflow.
However for me one of the biggest attractions of the Wireless Pro is that it runs full Plex Media Server. If you’re not a Plex user then, A) what’s wrong with you? And B) don’t worry, it can also run a DLNA server instead.
Western Digital say it has the power to deliver up to 8 HD videos simultaneously (8 x 8Mbps HD MP4 streams). Unlike the more powerful Plex server you probably run at home this little box doesn’t have the muscle to transcode files on the fly. So you may have to re-encode some of your higher bit rate videos before copying them to the unit.
Its 6,400 mAh battery can also be employed to charge your USB devices. The same USB 2.0 port can be used to attach other storage devices to share them wirelessly too.
The other USB 3.0 port can be used to connect the drive to your Mac or PC for the fastest transfer rates.
The WD unit has 5GHz 802.11ac and 2.4GHz 802.11n radios and it can be used as a WiFi Hub, allowing you to re-share a single login with up to 8 devices. Very useful for holidays where some hotels (and especially cruise ships) can charge astronomical WiFi fees on a per device basis.
There seems to be no way with the firmware as tested (v1.02.24) to secure the shared files on the device. So the only security in force is the WiFi password, and once your users have this they can access any of your shares on the drive.
Battery life is quoted as ‘up to 10 hours’. We got around 7 hours using the ‘Performance’ setting, with more time available using the ‘Battery Life’ mode which disables which ever of the two WiFi radios is not in use.
The WD My Passport Wireless Pro houses a huge hard drive, build in battery, a clever WiFi setup and runs Plex media server. All this in a device you can hold in your hand (12.6 cms square x 2.4 cms high, 0.44kg), making it as near to a perfect mobile media server as I’ve found. Available in 1TB, 2TB, 3TB and 4TB versions from around £160 to around £250.