My Passport Wireless review: the non-flying, drone accessory that completely changed my life
Editor’s Note: I partnered with Western Digital to create this review of the My Passport Wireless SSD.
Ever been out flying and filled up your memory card before you finished the shoot?
Ever been out on a super important shoot where you needed to view your footage immediately to ensure you didn’t have any dropped frames?
Maybe you’re just a ridiculously Type A-drone-pilot like me who needs to have backups of your footage as close to immediately after it was taken?
Enter the life-changing My Passport Wireless SSD.
After a week with WD’s My Passport Wireless SSD, I don’t know how I’ve lived my life without it.
It’s a portable solid state drive that has a built-in SD card slot as well as the ability to wirelessly connect to the drive (no crazy cord headaches here!) — in addition to a myriad of other insanely handy features that I’ll get to later.
MyPassport Wireless SSD review: built-in SD card reader
By far, the neatest feature of the MyPassport Wireless SSD is the built-in SD card reader. Whether it’s because of an accidental drone flyaway or just because they are so tiny, an SD card is easy to lose. Add in other common tech glitches like corrupt memory cards, and it’s easy to understand why you should be backing up the files from your memory cards immediately.
For important shoots, that used to mean me lugging my laptop out into the field with me, so I could backup my footage on the spot. Now, I can simply pop my memory card into the portable drive, upload my footage, and pop it back in my drone to resume flying. There’s huge peace of mind in knowing your footage is backed up, and not needing a laptop to do so.
There is a USB port if you would prefer to upload your footage through other means, such as a card reader.
MyPassport Wireless SSD review: battery life and other important specs
After a week of testing, I’ve yet to need to recharge this thing. WD says the battery life is 10 hours. It charges through a 2.4A USB wall adapter, or you can connect the device to a USB port from any other device (such as your computer) that can provide power. Four indicator lights make it clear how much more time it needs to charge.
As far as transfer speeds go, it read speeds up to 390MB/s.
The My Passport Wireless SSD comes in capacities of 2TB, 1TB, 500GB or 250GB. It’s got an SD 3.0 card slot, USB 3.0, USB 2.0 (for importing) and 802.11ac/n Wi-Fi.
MyPassport Wireless SSD review: My Cloud app
You can manage all of your files through the company’s accompanying smartphone app, called My Cloud. You’ll want the app before using the actual drive. It’s pretty easy — simply download the app from your app store, let it connect to your wireless network and register your device — voila!
From there, you can manage your settings and start organizing or uploading your files. The app gives you options such as copying everything from your SD card, or just new files (to prevent duplicates). The app can also tell you important information such as storage and battery life.
MyPassport Wireless SSD review: other neat features (including a phone charger!)
Ever been out flying, and your phone dies so you can’t operate your drone app? There’s one more feature I got a kick out of with the MyPassport Wireless SSD — it has dual functionality as a portable power bank!
It goes with the spirit of having to lug less stuff around with you when you’re piloting your drone. I talked about no longer having to haul my laptop with me, but I also used to haul a portable phone charger with me as well. No need anymore!
MyPassport Wireless SSD review: durability
Another standout feature of this is the bumper surrounding the solid state drive. The drive has a polycarbonate shell with a silicon bumper, which makes it insanely durable (further proving how well this succeeds out in the field with you on your drone shoots). Western Digital claims that you can drop it when it’s running and can safely survive being dropped 1 meter on a concrete floor while in operation, though I was personally too afraid to try it myself — this thing is expensive!
Which brings me to my next point…
MyPassport Wireless SSD review: cost
The drive starts at $229 for the 250GB version, but runs as much as $799 if you opt for the 2TB version. That’s pricey. If you’re not going to use all of the features, then it’s probably not worth it. But if you want speedy uploads without needing cords and computers, then this is a lifesaver.
Any external drive is going to offer you peace of mind that you have a backup of your drone footage, but this handy device makes it ridiculously easy to upload that footage on the fly, so you can have your files backed up and then immediately return to what you actually want to do — putting that drone up in the air and letting it fly.
Seems quite large for an ssd though? I’m thinking gnarbox, though it’s nice that WD are making one too. We’re still laptop external dive atm, so haven’t tried either.Been watching gnarbox though. Either is better than that silly DJI attempt, which required a laptop, making it useless!