My wife is heading out of town on her first ever cruise next week. In preparation for this event, I gifted her a GoPro Hero 4 Black to record her trip. I also purchased a 32GB memory card thinking that it should be plenty of storage for the trip. After thinking about it for a little while I realized that 32GB would not nearly be enough. I was faced with buying more cards or having her travel with a laptop and external hard drive to backup the data on the card so it could be wiped and used over and over. I did not like the idea of multiple SD cards because of how easily they can be lost and adding a laptop and external HD to her trip gear would just be too much. Ultimately I decided to go with a wireless hard drive with a built in SD card reader. I chose the Western Digital My Passport Wireless
What is really cool about this drive is that once it is set up you can drop an SD card in it and it will automatically download the data from the card to the drive and can also optionally wipe the card during the process. The built-in WiFi network allows the drive to be controlled via app from iOS and Android devices or standard PCs or Macs. Media can also be streamed from the device and it can even connect to other cloud services like DropBox and OneDrive when internet access is available. I don’t see needing that type of connection in the way we plan on using the drive but it is part of the device’s feature set and worth mentioning.
The use case for my wife will be to take movies and pictures on her GoPro as well as a standard point and shoot camera. All she has to do to transfer the data is to insert the card into the drive. Everything else happens automatically. It doesn’t HAVE to work that way but that is how I have configured the drive for this particular use. All of the functions can also be controlled by her phone and this will provide an excellent way to check and be sure that the data copied over properly. Her travelling partner will also have a GoPro and she too can transfer movies and pictures over to the drive. I will be stunned beyond belief if they are able to fill up 1TB.
The price for the drive is a little higher than your standard drive at $163.00 on Amazon.com but you have to consider that the unit is battery powered and the SD card reader isn’t available on standard external drives. Battery life doesn’t seem to be too great and that will vary on use but I did notice that it discharged quick during operation. Other reviewers peg the battery life to be about 4 hours and that should be plenty for this particular use. After testing I did have one minor complaint with the drive and that is the transfer time from the SD card reader to the drive itself. Transferring about 9GB of data took somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes. The transfer isn’t snappy but my understanding is that the drive is doing a lot of error checking and verification to be sure the transfer is solid. Therefore I don’t see this drive been useful in high pressure video or photos shoots but as an easy and portable solution to storing vacation videos I think it will work perfectly. I am very interested in seeing how it performs next week.