News, Reviews

Studio style

SOME DEVELOPERS REFRESH THEIR PRODUCT LINES infrequently, only changing their formula when they’re able to dramatically improve performance or offer new features. In contrast, others release new editions of their line seemingly every year, continually evolving their line as a car company would. Western Digital falls into this latter category.

However, thanks to an innovative new display and some solid connection speeds, the My Passport Studio is a solid successor to Western Digital’s tradition.

The latest My Passport Studio offers a dual interface design with FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 connectivity. The drive also comes Time Machine ready and offers capacities of 640GB, 500GB, and 320GB. The unit we tested had 640GB of storage.

The unit itself is slightly shorter and more rounded than the previous version, weighing in at 0.4 pounds and with dimensions of 3.3 by 0.7 by 4.8 inches. It feels flimsy in your hands but survived several of our drop tests with no ill effects.

The My Passport Studio features a sleek silver aluminium exterior with white trim and a new smart display. Even when unplugged, you can view the white on black customisable label. The display can reveal what’s on the drive, to whom it belongs to, or indicate some other message to its owner. Meanwhile, the display also lets you know the available capacity and security status of the drive.

The My Passport Studio features a 2.5-inch drive with a 8MB cache and a 5400-rpm drive mechanism. The drive offers both USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 ports.

With only a 5400rpm mechanism and without eSATA connectivity, it’s not surprising that the My Passport Studio did not achieve the best times we’ve seen.

My Passport Studio has slower read speeds than the Mercury Pro with its FireWire 800 connection. However, My Passport Studio produced better write times than the Elite Al Pro Mini. This is impressive considering the My Passport has a 5400-rpm mechanism, compared to the Elite AL Pro Mini’s 7200-rpm mechanism, and the copy tests (usually a pure write test) are worse for the My Passport.

The 640GB My Passport Studio will set you back $200, giving it a price per gigabyte of $.31. That’s pricey, even for a portable drive. The My Passport Studio comes with a three-year warranty.

Western Digital’s My Passport Studio provides satisfactory (though not exceptional) speed, a strong warranty, and a convenient digital label. If you’re a fan of Western Digital’s line of drives, you’ll appreciate the company constantly seeks to improve their storage solutions and the digital label is just that—an upgrade. If you’re not a fan, however, you’ll likely wonder why you’re paying so much for such unexceptional performance.

VERDICT: Nay (unless you are looking for looks over performance).

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