Western Digital’s My Passport Wireless Pro lets you quickly back up your memory cards without a computer

Jun 22, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Western Digital’s My Passport Wireless Pro lets you quickly back up your memory cards without a computer

Jun 22, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Even if you shoot to two cards at once with a dual slot DSLR, one of the biggest issues that many location photographers face is that of creating backups when out in the field.

I’ve long recommended the Western Digital My Passport Wireless as a self contained solution for such a need, but it can be painfully slow, especially if you’re backing up multiple cards at the day.  This situation is now hoped to be resolved with the new Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro.

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The Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro (which I’m just going to call “Wireless Pro” from now on), enhances the previous drive in capacity, by ditching the 1TB option and adding a 3TB version, and substantially ramps up the speed.

As I mentioned above, the original My Passport Wireless is painfully slow, with SD card transfer rates of around 10MB/sec.  The new Wireless Pro has transfer rates from SD cards going up to 75MB/sec, which is a pretty serious bump in speed, and cuts the backup time down dramatically.

The WiFi speeds have also been increased from 9MB/sec to 20MB/sec.  This still sounds pretty low when you say it out loud, but when you figure that the WiFi is only really for browsing the drive’s contents from a mobile or tablet, it’s not too bad at all.

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If you don’t shoot with cameras that have SD slots, then don’t worry, there’s a USB2.0 host socket on there that can be used to connect external devices like XQD and CFast card readers.

Like the My Passport Wireless, the Wireless Pro also uses a USB3 connection to hook it up to your computer when you get home, so getting your work off the drive and ready to work with should be nice and quick.

The battery life has been almost doubled, upgrading from 3400mAh to 6400mAh, which Western Digital claim will last up to 11.5 hours in the field, including 6-8 hours of “hard use” operation.

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For once, it actually looks like a manufacturer has listened to the needs of its users to produce something that appears to be a very capable and useful device, at least on paper.

I know some will be disappointed by the fact that the USB host port for hooking up other card readers is only USB2.0, but I don’t think that’s going to be a huge problem given that the USB2.0 spec still outclasses the speed requirements of most cards available today.

Back when I shot with Nikon D100 bodies in 2002, I used a Super DigiBin 2 (remember those?) with a 20GB hard drive to backup my measly 64MB and 128MB CompactFlash cards while out in the field.  That was only one of at least a dozen different devices available back then.  It seems odd that there’s so little choice for portable backup options today.

Hopefully, with Western Digital’s recent acquisition of SanDisk, devices such as these will start to see even more big improvements in the future.

The Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro is available now, with the 2TB and 3TB versions being priced at $229.99 and $249.99, respectively.

What do you currently use for your portable backup needs?  Will you be picking up the My Passport Wireless Pro?  Let us know what you think in the comments.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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3 responses to “Western Digital’s My Passport Wireless Pro lets you quickly back up your memory cards without a computer”

  1. mike r Avatar
    mike r

    At that price point, I’m gonna guess they haven’t moved to SSDs yet. I had the original MPW and absolutely loved it — up until the drive decided to die, about a year-and-a-half later. Much as I love the underlying technology, until they move to SSD (for me, reliability > capacity) I’ll be sitting it out.

  2. Positive Image Avatar
    Positive Image

    As of right now I’m still using an Epson 7000 to backup my files in the field. It has internal SD & CF slots. I’ll keep an eye on the WD unit for now to see what others have to say…

  3. zorwick Avatar
    zorwick

    I just give it a try and ask here about anyone’s experience with this WD my passport wireless pro. There is one on my desk right now, but am afraid to try it, because as soon as I use it can not return it to the shop, if it does not work for me. And my concern is to use this device with an XQD card reader with 64/128 GB XQD cards. I have read only bad experiences, but all from years back. Everywhere I see the same marketing blabla, how good and what are features, but NO real life experiences, beside the bad ones. Can anyone confirm that this WD works with XQD card reader and can handle larger cards and the backed up images are OK, not corrupted?