Hands-on review: Western Digital My Passport SE for Mac portable hard drive

Summary:Needing a bit more space for my high-resolution photos, HD video and music, I decided to spring for a new 1TB portable hard drive. Being a Mac owner and wanting something small yet attractive on my desk, I picked up the Western Digital My Passport SE for Mac. Here's my personal review.

Needing a bit more space for my high-resolution photos, HD video and music, I decided to spring for a new 1TB portable hard drive. Being a Mac owner and wanting something small yet attractive on my desk, I picked up the Western Digital My Passport SE for Mac. Here's my personal review.

SET-UP

Once out of the packaging (which wasn't as annoying as most the boxes for most electronics can be), the My Passport SE is essentially a plug-and-play operation. All one needs is the one included (and short) USB 2.0 cable for both power and data transfers. From there, the drive automatically launches a pre-loaded program called WD SmartWare that analyzes the space and file types on both your computer's hard drive as well as on the portable one.

While this external HDD is designed and marketed specifically for Mac users, it is compatible with Windows-based computers. There is a small insert included in the box in case you have trouble.

USE

Owners of this WD external drive have the option of either using Apple's Time Machine software or the included WD SmartWare for backing up your hard drive. Personally, I prefer Time Machine over the new option still just because it's much simpler program and less information all over the screen. You either sync or you don't.

You can also just drag and drop files as you like whenever. Copying files in this method was fluid and simple. No error messages getting in my way, and the transfer speeds were fairly good. For example, I transferred 22GB of high-res photos in approximately 15 minutes. Sometimes the transfer times would change themselves based on what else I was doing on my laptop, and it only heated up much after hours of use.

But otherwise, it was an easy operation and no complaints with this external hard drive. One last note I have about the My Passport SE is just how small it is. You can see it compared to the keyboard of my 13-inch MacBook below, and I can grasp it easily with my hand. I love just how portable this 1TB drive is, making it much easier to bring along digital media (i.e. photos, videos, e-books, etc.) when traveling or even moving.

AVAILABILITY

Western Digital's My Passport SE for Mac with 1TB of space is available now. The MSRP is $179.99, but the best deal I've seen is from Amazon, which is charging $139 plus free shipping.

Topics: Apple, Hardware

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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