A few weeks ago my brother in law phoned me up to tell me that his local PC world were doing a bit of a sale on many products, from CD/DVD discs to desk tops and laptops. The main reason he actually phoned me is that he knows that I am a bit of a nuisance when it comes to using portable storage devices, such as flash drives and the like, so when he discovered that PC world were selling off there external hard drives for up to half price off he instantly though of me.
Anyway, as he had already bought one of the 'sale' priced external hard drives and, as he stated, they were selling out faster than pork pies at fat camp, he wanted to know if I wanted one. So, as I said, I am a bit of a collector of storage devices, I asked him to grab us one before they sold out, and he did.
A few days later, during one of his frequent visits, he brought the hard drive round and it was not long before I had it up and running, adding a lot of my personal data onto it.
I nearly forgot, the external hard drive that PC World were offering on sale, and the one which my brother in law bought for me, although I did have to give him the money for it, is the Western Digital Elements Portable (WDBAAR3200ABK) 320 GB.
Firstly, I have used Western Digital (WD) before, I even a have a WD internal inside the laptop I am writing this review on, and have never had any trouble at all.
For the record...
WD are a well known and very well established hard drive manufacturer, selling internal and external Hard drives which vary in size, GB wise, including a 250GB, 320GB, 500GB and even a 1TB version, although it is the 320GB external version I intend to tell you about today.
Anyway, when I took possession of this new, and very low cost Hard Drive, although it would have been a lower price if my brother in law hadn't asked for the money for it, I quickly opened the box to make sure that everything was there, just in case.
** Inside the box you should get...
* The portable hard drive itself
* USB cable to connect to your PC
* Quick Install Guide for those that want to connect it the correct way.
And a quick scan of the instructions, (and the box), told me...
* 320GB storage
* USB 2.0 transfer rate of around 480Mb/s (maximum)
* It has an operating temperature of around C40° F to 100° F (5° C to 40°)
* System Requirements are Windows 7/vista and XP, or Mac OS X Tiger/Leapord
* How much can 320GBs hold then, approximately...
* Over 60,000 images (assuming images are around 5MB each)
* Over 80,000 MP3 songs (assuming they are average length songs)
* Over 120 hours of DVD quality video or nearly 40 hours of high definition video.
The box it comes in, if you're interested, shows the hard drive on the cover with all the standard information wrapped around the box on a colourful stripe.
So when I took the Hard Drive out of the cardboard protecting package I was quite impressed with the unit itself, with it having a nice curvy shape and being a shiny black colour. Plus it is a good handy size, being about 126mm long by 78mm wide by 15mm high, and weighing in at less than around 200 grams, which makes it so easy to carry around.
The actual product, when taken out of the well packaged container, looks like a medium sized plastic notebook, which allows it to be carried easily.
On the 'top end' there is a 'port' to connect the supplied USB cable so that you can connect this to your PC with ease.
Starting to use it is as easy as plugging in your television, you just plug it into your PC's USB port as it has that great invention called 'Plug and Play', so there's no need to search around for extra drivers to get going.
It needs no external power supply as it uses the USB connection to grab all the power it needs, so there is no need for any more than one cable.
When it is running it is quite quiet indeed, although not silent of course, but you'd hardly know it was running as you transfer you 'data' to and from it at a good rate of pace. Plus, it manages to stay pretty cool even if you are transferring a large amount of data.
Personally, for me, this is one lightweight portable hard drive and is small enough to carry around in a good sized inside pocket, whilst being 'big' enough to hold a vast amount of your 'data'.
It looks the part, being a nice shiny black colour, although they do offer it in white as well, they may even do other colours but I'm not sure. I find it to be lightweight, making it so easy to carry around, although I do tend to use it mainly as a back up to my 'main' hard drives just in case of HD failures and as this has good sized 'guts' it can hold a lot of backed up files.
So if you are interested in purchasing a new external hard drive then you should take a serious look at this WD one as you'll be pleasantly surprised.
As for the price, well the usual RRP for this 320 WD external hard drive is around the £50.00 region and for that price is still worth looking into, although there are a lot of offers on the market at the moment, as my brother in law told me.
I use this on PC's mainly using Windows OS so I can not comment on using it with a Mac OS but apparently it works just as well, although it may need reformatting to use it properly.
I have owned several WD passport drives. The reason being they are brilliant! Every time a new size comes out, I wait a couple of months for the price to drop and then pick myself up a bargain which also ensures I have my most prized files backed up in more than one place.
This 320GB cost me around £50 about 3 months back. It comes in quite a solid plastic casing, but not that impossible to open style! It is worth keeping the contents of this box as this contains details on your 3 year warranty which is included (although I have never had a passport drive break down on me).
The device itself is not much bigger than an iPhone, so it can easily fit into a jacket pocket. This gives you ease of transport, helps prevent you from leaving it somewhere like on a train, and is also quite subtle for the security conscious. It comes with a lead which has a USB connector at one end, and smaller plug at other end which fits into the drive. The lead is identical in appearance to that you would use to connect most digital camera to your PC, or your PS3 pads to the console.
It is pretty much a plug and play device. I think you can install some WD software onto PCs you use it on, but I always just use folder view and drag and drop files in and out of the device. It is USB 2 so the file transfers are lightening quick, which is a bonus as you have a lot of space to fill on these.
Passport drives are powered by the computer so there is no need to find a plug socket as there is with some of the larger external hard drives.
Overall, I recommend these to all my mates that need a sizable hard drive.