Western Digital My Passport Wireless

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

WD My Passport WIrelessWhat 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.


Western Digital My Passport Wireless — 23 Comments

  1. Everything worked as expected. The only negative I would give the drive right now is that the transfer rate from the SD card is really slow. If you need to transfer data to the drive while also taking more pictures or video you will need at least two cards to keep working. One to shoot with while the other one is transferring to the backup drive.

  2. Jeff,

    What was the data rate for your SD card? A slow card could be the culprit. Also, was the transfer speed faster if the drive were plugged in via USB 3.0?

    • I am not sure of the data rate. It is a micro SD but I will check when I can.

      USB 3.0 doesn’t enter into the situation because the transfer from the card to the HD takes places all within the HD. That is the beauty of the device. I don’t need to connect it to USB anything until I get home.

    • I believe it a a SANDISK 32GB MicroSD card with the MicroSD adapter.

      What kind of problem have you seen? It has worked flawlessly for me.

      • Hi Jeff,
        Thank you for your reply. I’ve got this one http://www.sandisk.nl/products/memory-cards/microsd/extreme-uhs-i/?capacity=64gb
        As this one is confirmed by GoPro to be a compatible one (Class 10, UHS-I)
        When I put this in the MyPassport nothing happens, but when I look at the events, it’s telling it could not recognise the card.

        I’m already in contact with WD Support, but no clear answer yet.

        The SD card you use, is it SDXC or SDHC ?

        • I pulled my card out of the GoPro to check. It is actually a PNY card. My adapter is a Sandisk. The card is a PNY 32GB card. Class 10 SDHC. It works fine in both devices. Never had an issue.

          Strange that the WD does not recognize it. Have you tried a different Micro SD adapter. I wonder if that is the problem.

          Also, be sure you format your card in the GoPro before using it. I expect you already do this but it is worth trying if you haven’t.

          Ultimately I have been very happy with the WD hard drive and I use it for a lot of things. Sorry to hear you are having trouble.

  3. Hi Jeff,

    Thank you for your reply
    Well I think that is the problem, mine is a SDXC, formatted as exFAT.

    I guess yours is FAT32.

    Still wayting for a clear answer from WD Support, but I think I’ll have to get a new SD card before I’ll start my trip.

  4. Question. How did you format the files to be compatability with your mobile device? I can only stream some video but the time lapse files and other file formats don’t work. other than mp4 and jpe photo files. How did you resolve this?

    • Sorry for the delay on the response. Been out of touch for a few days.

      I didn’t change any formatting on the files themselves. Just downloaded them directly to the hard drive. I can’t say I have tried anything special on mobile with other formats. The formats from my GoPro seemed to play back on my mobile device. The only problem I remember having is that mobile wasn’t very responsive. Honestly, however, I just don’t use the mobile component much.

  5. Don’t waste your time and money on this. I have a high-speed SD card, and it takes hours to transfer files into the hard drive.

    • I won’t argue with you that the transfer speed is painful. I don’t know if I have experienced “hours” on a transfer but I have only used 32GB cards. I definitely recommend updating the firmware to the latest release. Just FYI, there was a new release in April.

  6. Jeff…I would love to hear an update on your experience with the drive at this point in time. I’m shooting a Canon 1DX using RAW and the optional wifi transmitter and I don’t know if the drive will accommodate the RAW format. Do you have any experience with this?

  7. I basically only use it for downloading my GoPro videos BUT it should work with any file format. All it does is copy whatever files are on the SD card to the HD so it should not have any problem with RAW. Now, if you are trying to rig it up to transfer data wireless from the camera to the HD I don’t exactly know how that would work. Seems like it would be tricky at best. It will go faster if you plug the card into the HD. My main complaint is still how slow it can be with large cards but once you know that limitation it is pretty easy to swap cards back and forth.

  8. Hi Jeff, I want to get this for my GoPro, but I noticed that every time I format my card on the GoPro, the first file shows up as GP0001. Does the WD my passport pro wireless download the new files in a separate file each time?

    • Yes. Each time you download a card the drive creates a new folder based on the date. I have cleared a card multiple times without issue. A couple of things you can do to be sure that you don’t have a problem is to set the GoPro not to restart the file numbering. I think you can also customize the folder structure the WD uses when importing card information. I am not entirely sure about that because I haven’t looked at that setup in a while.

        • No problem. I actually tried to find the filename setting in my GoPro this morning and I don’t see it. I honestly don’t know if I am remembering that right or not but I haven’t had an overwrite problem but of course test it out with your setup.

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