I've purchased a few versions of these hard drives. They tend to be very competitively priced, and Western Digital have a reputation for producing quality products.
If one was to compare them to their namesake, a book, one would have to think along the lines of a large hard back bible, in a format just slightly larger than A5, not a pocket sized novella, or a mini-travel guide. They also have a significant weight, possibly comparable to a small netbook. As they are powered by an adaptor, this also reduces their portability, and will add to the burden of weight that you have to carry around with you. These drives cannot be powered by USB.
They are best suited then to home back-up, or storage extension, although I have slung mine in the car a few times and taken files over to a friends house. I found unplugging everything a bit of a hassle, but that is mostly because I have to crawl around on the floor under my desk to unplug adaptors. More practical "cable routers" will find this hard drive less problematic.
Of the two of these hard drives that I have purchased, one of them gave up the ghost after around 3 years. Over this period of time, I must confess that I had dropped it once or twice. It has to be said however that the failure did not occur after one of these accidents , but after a long period of non-usage. I was dissapointed, as I have sung the praises of these hard-drives over the years, and having survived my clumsiness, I more or less expected them to be immortal. Perhaps I shouldn't judge them too harshly though, and I may well buy another in the future.
I suppose the essence of my review is that these products may well be quite good quality. My breakage may well have been my fault, but did not occur immediately after an accident. Of the two drives that I purchased, one soldiers firmly on, and has been going now for around 7 years. These drives are probably a good purchase if you can treat them well, and don't mind using an adaptor. Just be aware that more or less any drive can fail, and it doesn't hurt to have critical data replicated in one or two different back-up locations.
Western Digital is the second largest hard drive manufacturer in the world after Seagate, and they have been around since 1970. However, while Seagate are a bigger company, Western Digital has always been my favourite hard drive manufacturer as their drives have always ourperformed Seagate in my experience. In this review, I put the Western Digital MyBook Essential Edition 500gb, from about 2006/2007, to the test.
The 3.5" hard drive inside the enclosure has a speed of 7200 RPM, which is a fairly normal but good speed for consumer hard drives. It has 16mb buffer, which again is a good value for consumer hard drives. The actual enclosure is black, and actually somewhat bulky. It's the biggest external hard drive enclosure I've ever owned. It's wider and thicker than most external hard drives. However, this does not really bother me, as it makes it harder for the drive to fall over. The drive has a power button with a LED light which makes it easy to see when the drive is on or off. The drive also has SmartPower, which automatically powers the device on and off with the computer. This is really great as it means I can just plug the drive in once, leave it behind my computer, and forget about it. To sweeten the already very nice deal, the drive is really silent.
I got the drive 3 years ago, and have since then been using it literally daily, on 2 different computers. When I first got the drive, I plugged it into my computer, and then I left it there and didn't have to think about it, it would turn on simultanoeusly with my computer, it was so silent I didn't notice it, and whenever my computer was turned off, so was the drive. At first I was using this as a drive for my music recording projects, so I would in real-time be writing several streams of audio to the hard drive. The drive always performed well for this, although I later decided to write my projects to an internal drive and keep my backups on the Westernal Digital MyBook. The drive is still going strong, and I still rely on it on a daily basis. I keep my digital music collection on this drive, so whenever I want to listen to music on my PC, which is daily, I access this drive.
I paid £80 for this drive July 2007 from Amazon. It would probably be closer to £50 or so these days.
Rock solid, reliable drive that makes you forget it's an external drive at all. Maximum convenience. If you are size sensitive, it is slightly bigger than your run of the mill external hard drive, but as mentioned, that does give the drive some extra balance. The only thing I might suggest is perhaps considering to get one of the models with more storage space unless you know 500gb is right for you.
I bought my Western Digital MyBook hard drive in 2006 and its still going strong nearly four years later!
I don't use this hard drive for backing up my computer's content, instead I use it to store a large amount of film and video content. At first I was concerned that transfer time would be an issue as the connection is only USB rather than firewire, however its always been pretty speedy and I've had no real issues.
The hard drive is very easy to set up and was up and running within minutes of opening the box. It is compact, portable and quite attractive. It matched the laptop I had at the time perfectly, sadly it doesn't go so well with my current Macbook Pro!
One feature I particularly like is that the hard drive is compatible with both macs and pcs and requires no special formatting for either. You can unplug from a mac, plug into a PC and then back into the Mac without any delays.
The best thing about this product though, has been its reliability. Its the longest lasting piece of technology I've owned.
We bought the My Book Essential external hard drive 6 months ago to back up our home computer. The hard drive is 500GB which can hold up to 60 hours of HD videos or 125,000 MP3 files or 100,000 JPEG files.
I am not very good with IT however we found this easy to install. The My Book Essential comes with an external power supply and a USB cable. Plug in the power supply and connect to the computer using the USB cable. If you are a windows user a Found New Hardware window appears, simply install the driver to activate the drive settings.
The user manual is available on-line to download. It is easy to set it up to automatically back up the computer once a month. The My Book Essential stores 5 back-ups and then writes over the oldest back up. The My Book Essential features a visual display on screen which displays the content categories and memory used in each category, however if you hover the mouse over the display for an information window giving the memory used and number of files.
The My Book Essential is excellent and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to back up their computer with minimum effort, after we set it up we have not had to touch it. It sits by the computer and automatically backs up the computer once a month.
It is also secure as you can limit access to it by establishing a password.
This is a 500GB hard drive from Western Digital, capable of storing anything you can store on your computer. That include photos, videos, music, documents, programs, games - you name it, this thing can hold it. It comes with a power cable and USB lead to connect it to your laptop or PC.
One important factor to bear in mind is that you will definitely not get access to the full 500GB when you purchase this hard drive. In any other industry, you have a right to expect whatever quantity that is advertised in a sale will be what you receive - if a bottle of milk says two litres on it, it contains two litres. Unfortunately, for whatever reason the computer world is slightly more complicated so when then say 500GB what they actually mean is that you will be able to use somewhere in the region of 460GB for storage.
Aside from this it is worth bearing in mind that this product requires its own power source so if for example you are using it with a laptop you will have to plug both in - not exactly ultra portable. If you are looking for something a little more convenient then I recommend the excellent FreeAgent Go range of ultra portable hard drives.
I first got my Western Digital My Book for a specific reason. It was christmas day, I just opened up an 80GB iPod and i was thnking great, I can put all my MP3's onto it and enjoy.
Being the IT person I am i needed to make sure I had a system in place for a neat setup, because storing 80GB of music in an iTunes folder in My Documents was not practical, would make backing up My Documents a nightmare, meaning it wouldn't happen, meanig I could loose data if my hard drive died.
Further to that I knew that adding all my CD's etc would mean very quickly to get over 80GB of music, and my C Drive on my main laptop could not cope with that, as it was only 60GB and i didn't want to waste space on music which could be used for applications and processing. What i needed as an external hard drive I could put my music on and podcasts, etc purely for my iPod, so boxing day sales, PC World has this on offer, Western Digital had been becoming my prefered Hard Drive vendor taking over from Maxtor (whos Hard drive range seemed stagnant).
I got the hard drive and used it, it was simple to plug in and use, to format to NTFS for the best file storage facility. iTunes worked great using it as a storage drive, and it kept the correct location with windows throughout being plugged in and unplugged (i've had drives randomly change drive letters i've assigned them (and nothign else had their letter).
The hard drive was quick, putting music on was quick, syncing to iPod was a dream fantastic. I was there putting music on still 3 days later and one of my cats ran over the table and dragged it from the table to the floor, "noooooooo" i thought hard drive crash to floor, night mare. It still worked perfecly, not even a hiccup.
This hard drive I have used constnatly for ages now, been fantastic, as I moved over to gettgin some NAS drives my music has gone there with a networked iTunes system for the whole house, so this drive is now used for vast storage, i.e. raw movie files a store after importing into movie editting software, for soundclips archive as i sort through them to put on DVD for students to use in coursework projects.
Emergency store when I need t get data off a drive to format it. This drive works quickly, efficiently, quietly, and without error.
The drive is energy saving as it powers off with the PC and back on with the PC.
There is also the typical western digital software to be able to do backups and syncs with it, but I havne't used that as I don't need it.
The final thing is the looks. We are talking about fantastic style, calling it a myBook, what an idea. This thing isn;t one of these huge square hard drives that look ugly, waste space between each other because of the base feet, or have to be laid on the desk. No this one looks like a book, and is designed that you could stack a huge number of these nextto each other on a shelf (normal book height) and they don stand out or take a load of space, obviously then you conenct each cable to a USB HUB which is conencted to the PC.
Overall a great drive to hve. I have just used the 1TB versions for a client who has 5 for a rolling backup with Small Business Server 2008 (those I will review soon)
Western Digital, fantastic.
Western Digital specialises in producing external hard drives therefore their products are of good quality. The My Book Essential offers 500Gb which is more than enough for a standard user (Family usage). You can back up your pictures, videos, documents and programs without running out of space.
The HD has a slick design and the shape of a book; it is small however not small enough to be a portable hard drive. But this is not meant to be one so when you consider buying this HD think of it as your home HD.
It is fast and reacts accoring to the computer - when system is being shut down the external HHD shuts down as well. Data stored on the drive is really secure; it happened more than once that my mate unplugged the drive while being used - still no loss or corruption of data (very good!). With 7200rpm there is no delay when playing music or games from your hard drive.
Offers some software which i haven't really looked at because I didn't need it; drive gets recognised immediately under windows vista and the user experience is very good - plug and play and no additional action required from user. You can simply drag and drop items or treat it as a normal internal drive doesn't matter.
However I encountered one problem: when turning on my laptop while the drive is connected it takes about a minute or two longer to start up which shouldn't be the case (I plug my drive after the start up in order to avoid problem). Maybe by using the software provided with the HD the problem can be solved; I will go and try that at some point.
Very good and helpful little device which i would recommend to every household as a back up storage of their prcious data.