WD's New External Drives Have WiFi Access, SD Card Slot

Western Digital has made available its new My Passport Wireless family of external hard drives. Compared to its vanilla My Passport counterparts, the Wireless adds WiFi connectivity, an SD memory card slot, and a built-in battery, with capacities of up to 2TB and a USB 3.0 interface.

 

 

The WiFi works how you'd expect it – up to eight users can connect to and access files on the Wireless at the same time, using iOS/Android apps or their browsers. Through WD's My Cloud software, music and photo galleries can be consumed, and up to four users can stream HD-res video at once.

 

 

Perhaps most interesting is the built-in battery, which is good for six hours of video streaming or 20 hours of “standby time”. Combined with the SD card slot, I can imagine photojournalists toting the Wireless around and quickly backing up the contents of memory cards whenever they run out of room.

 

 

Other factoids include a flash memory cache big enough for six minutes of HD video, allowing the 2.5” mechanical platters to spin down and conserve battery power when possible. There's also a single-user mode that boosts battery life by 30%. WD doesn't provide actual figures.

 

 

Effectively, the WD My Passport Wireless is a tiny, battery-powered NAS, and there's a hefty premium to pay over the regular models. The 1 and 2TB capacities can be found for $180 and $220, with the MSRP for the as-of-yet-unavailable 500GB set at $130. The 2TB My Passport sans extras regularly goes for below $120.

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