I have two of these external drives and they've both served me brilliantly over these past few years. I purchased both drives in late 2011 and they're still running smoothly this very day. Therein demonstrates the quality I look for the most in an external hard-drive: reliability. The fact that both drives have been running without a hitch for the past four years is the foremost positive feature.
It's not like they've been sat in stasis on my desktop for those four years either, I've moved them from computer to computer, dropped them on occasion (oops) and put files across on an almost daily basis. Taking all that into account, it's done rather well.
There are a few downsides. For example, after such a long period of time both drives have become quite noisy. Occasionally and only when they're being actively used they will emit a loud churning or clicking noise that can become quite annoying after a while. I don't know a great deal about tech but this suggests to me that they're on their last legs. It should be noted the drive requires an external power source to operate, which can be a bit of a hindrance if you're using more than one or have a shortage of sockets. Visually they're fairly pleasing and come in the form of black boxes about 6 by 4 inches but there's a fair bit of wire though which can be unsightly if they're not dealt with.
Nowadays this particular drive is horrendously outdated but at the time of purchase it was a fairly big and expensive (£100) bit of kit. These days the same amount of space would cost about £45 and it would probably be portable. And, just to state the obvious, it doesn't come with USB 3.0.
Overall, reflects very well on Western Digital and I would certainly buy one of their products again. In a world where I've come to understand that just about all tech has a "break by date", I'm very pleased to pay homage to WD for bucking this depressing trend.
I bought my Western Digital Elements Desktop 1.5TB External Hard Drive about 3 months ago when my previous 300GB HD broke. I purchased it from Maplin and it cost me around £70 - amazing to say my 300GB one cost me over £100 a few years back. It comes with power cable and USB connecter. It runs on USB 2.0 and transfers between 17MB/Sec and 28MB/Sec depending on how much stuff my PC is doing at the time. (I do have a fairly old PC) Once plugged in it shows to have 1.36TB of space but reading the other review this is due to how the space is measured on windows and is nothing to worry about. Not that I ever expect to use it all anyway!! I have put almost 100 films (each between 700mb and 1.5gb each) and numerous TV shows (Full series) and lectures and tonnes of music and still have 1.19TB space left.
- Looks Great - This looks so great compared to the eyesore I had last time. Small, black and sleak, you can hardly notice it sat on top of my PC (at least without my glasses on :P )
- Silent - My old external HD made a hidious noise the majority of the time and it got worse when it was being used. This however is silent 99% of the time. Only when you use it after a long period of inactivity will it make a whisper as it re-engages before drifting back to silence.
- Cool - I've felt the HD numerous times to feel if it was getting hot, it has never been even warm. You can feel a slight trace of warmth in the centre but nothing compared to the HD I had before. (I leave it on 24/7 with my PC)
- Size - 1.5TB is huge and I for one am now looking for things to download to put on it and take up some of the spacee.
- Cheap - So much space has never been so cheap, and with the use of vouchers available for Maplin and other stores you could pick one up for just over £60 I think. In the January sales im sure this will be even more of a bargain.
The only disadvanatage I can think of is that there are higher capacity drives out there now however, thats technology for you. Buy something on Monday and you can guarantee there will be bigger and better on Wednesday!
Very, very pleased with this purchase. There are bigger drives out there now but for the price this is perfect for my needs.
I've bought two Western Digital Elements Desktop 1.5TB External Hard Drives over the past 2 months. Although advertised as 1.5TB, you must note that the actual space recorded by Windows is about 1.37GB. This is because of the way that disk space is advertised and measured - hard drive companies advertise in powers of 1000 (so a TB is 1000 GB and a GB is 1000 MB, and so on) whereas the computer measures space in multiples of 1024 (so a TB is 1024 GB, and so on). So when you plug the device in, it appears as though you have less space than what you were sold, but this isn't the case.
The product also comes with a 2 year limited warranty, including 30 days free telephone support which starts on the day you first call Western Digital. A few years back I've had to replace a hard drive which has failed within it's warranty (in fact with in a minute of turning it on, however I will come to that later). Support seems great with the product - they sent out pre paid address slips, I sent the product to the address and then they replaced the product with a brand new one. One thing I must stress is that data normally isn't covered under this, and the external hard drive should act as a backup to your data, and not as a primary source. If you have any important data, I'd suggest that you store it in at least two separate places on two separate hard drives.
What's in the box?
Opening the box, you see three compartments - the largest one taken up by the hard drive, which is wrapped in plastic and held in place by two plastic brackets on each side. In the other two compartments, there is a yellow warranty sheet, a USB 2.0 cable, instructions how to set up the drive, an AC power supply and an instruction sheet explaining how to exchange power sockets (only one came with mine (UK 3 pin) and it was already attached).
Taking out the hard drive it is very minimalist compared to the 'My Book' series. It is just a plastic case with 'piano black' finish on the sides, along with two sockets and a white LED. The two sockets are a mini USB port and the AC adapter socket. The instructions state that you should connect the USB to the computer and the hard drive first and only then should you connect the power supply to the wall and the hard drive. When I bought my first WD hard drive 2 years ago (My Book Elements 1TB) the instructions said to do this the other way around, but I think plugging in the USB cable when the power supply was already on caused it to break. So nowadays I always attach the USB first before turning on the hard drive power supply.
So once you have turned the device on for the first time, Windows will search for a driver and install it. Interestingly, the two drives I bought were made in different countries (Thailand and Malaysia) and had different drivers. The drives are formatted NTFS, meaning if you want to use it with Mac OS X you will need to reformat it. The device then installs and it appears in My Computer with the WD logo as it's icon, entitled 'Elements'.
Over the past 2 months I've managed to fill up both drives, I've found that data writing has a maximum speed (via USB 2.0) of about 31MB/s, which is approximately 250mbps. Compare with the maximum of 480mbps with USB 2.0 and I'd say that this isn't too bad. If you are looking for faster speeds, then I know there are faster connections you can use (but you will need to go to WD's My Book series) - USB 3.0, Firewire 800 and eSATA are more expensive, but will cut transfer speeds dramatically. You will of course need the relevant connections on your computer as well.
When in operation I haven't found it gets too warm - I haven't been worried about it overheating. At the time of writing, I'd say anything below £75 for this device is a good price to be paying, however note that 2TB drives can be found for £95 and these are much better value for money, if you do plan on using that much storage space.
Minor issues: USB cable in one product was 3ft long, whereas in the other one it was 2ft long - the 2ft one is a bit on the short side. LED white light indicating hard drive useage can be a bit annoying, granted it's less obtrusive than other drives I've used but it might be good putting something infront of it or pointing the drive away from you so it is less annoying.
Summary: It's a great device that has an insane amount of storage for a very low price, although I may ask that if you don't need 1.5TB, perhaps you should stick with the cheaper 1TB or 750GB models. It's perfect if you have a laptop and don't need to move about with it, or if you have a desktop and need some element of portability/do not wish to open the case of the desktop up.