I wasn’t in the market for a portable hard drive as I had a very nice 80 GB Samsung laptop hard drive in a Daytek aluminum case inside a leather carrier. Very nice and repurposed several times. Unfortunately I was wondering my local Costco and came across the 120 GB Western Digital Passport Portable Drive for $120 CDN, or $1 per GB. I couldn’t pass it up.

WD Passport Portable Drive 1

In the package you get the very slick and shiny drive, one 22″ USB cable, a neoprene case and a quick install guide. The package indicates you may need another cable if your PC doesn’t provide enough power over the one USB connection, and the quick install guide points you to the Western Digital store to get said cable (for $9.99 USD).

The drive is shaped with a slight angle going on, but it’s not a big deal. The top and two sides are glossy, the bottom and other two sides are matte. The bright blue circle is lit when the drive has power and it’s not a button (like Maxtor). The USB port sits on one side underneath a rubber door; it’s a nice touch but I see it drying up and breaking off after a while.

Connecting the drive gets an autoplay function going that installs Western Digital Diagnostics without asking, but then asks if you want WD Sync installed. This is slick little program that does an excellent and thorough job of syncing documents. The password can be entered via an onscreen keypad to bypass keyloggers; a very nice touch. All data is 128 bit encrypted.  It’s fast and easy to use and set up. I’ve been a big fan of Microsoft’s SyncToy but this is my new best friend.

I was concerned about the model of the actual hard drive contained, but a look in Device Manager showed the WD1200VE, a 5400 RPM 8 MB cache Scorpio 2.5″ EIDE. Drive speed is good; I could benchmark it, but why bother? It’s USB 2.0 speeds.  OK, I couldn’t resist.

HD Tune WD Passport

This is a nice little package and at the price the best deal in a portable hard drive right now.