The real (and perhaps the only) problem with this device is to themselves understood: what is it? A portable hard drive? A battery-powered NAS? An SD card reader with a built-in hard disk? A battery pack? Or even a portable hot spot particularly well equipped? Actually Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro is a bit ‘of everything put together, a product that can make throat to any user a bit ‘evolved but that seems to find their ideal crowning in the backpack of a photographer or a filmmaker.

From the outside: a portable CD player in the shape of hard disk

The aesthetic is that of a portable hard disk: generous size, similar to those of a portable CD player, and the not inconsiderable weight (446 g almost half a kilogram) would seem to suggest the idea of ​​a model a bit ‘dated compared to miniaturized hard disk or even current SSDs. The fact is that the WD My Passport Wireless Pro is much more than a portable hard drive. Of course it is also a portable USB 3.0 hard drive: in the model we tested the capacity amounted to 2TB but is also available with a 3 TB disk. By connecting via USB to a Windows PC or Mac, the disc, which comes already formatted ExFAT just to be compatible with both operating systems, it is immediately seen as an external drive.

The availability but also of a host USB port (ie the one who attack other external device, such as USB drives or other hard disk) and the slot for SD card already complaint, even aesthetically, a more varied nature than a hard disk.

A NAS for all purposes, although portable and battery-operated

In fact it is also and above all a Portable NAS super portable indeed, as is powered by a battery. The range is remarkable, thanks to a very generous internal battery (6400 mAh) that can power the drive for about 10 hours: a good part of the weight of the unit is all there. But it’s worth it, because not only the power makes the disc even when not connected to a suitable USB source, but even when the USB port has little power to support the needs of this disc and – here comes the fun part – even when the disc is completely detached from any USB. This configuration makes sense because the disc can also be reached via Wi-Fi : it is in fact a small server that makes it shareable via Wi-Fi the contents of your disk, as well as SD card and any other device connected to the USB host port. The WiFi section, then, is particularly well thought out, we could say that it is “triple”: in fact, the My Passport Wireless Pro is able to create its own hot spot (without Internet connection) for a direct connection and fast with a laptop PC, for example, or with a camera equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity, which is 2.4 to 5 GHz. But not only at the same time you can also connect to another Wi-Fi at home, this time also connected Internet, and share their content through it, and as a file server via DLNA.

Thus, just copy a video, a photo or a song on this disk for content immediately available on any compatible DLNA system as a smart TV or Hi-Fi system. The DLNA server preloaded is the classic Twonky while for the most demanding there is also the possibility of uploading Plex Server (but without the possibility of re-encoding in real time, given the limited power system).

The security of a backup on the field

The use of SD slot is also particularly interesting: the unit can be configured to make a backup of the contents of the card inserted in automatically or button is pressed. The usage scenario is this: the photographer takes the field and in the first moment of pause, takes off the card from the camera and sticks it to your My Passport, resulting in an auto-backup of everything that took directly to the hard disk; from that moment on, among other things, the captured images are made available via Wi-Fi, for example, for a colleague who starts editing or reviewing on a PC or TV. The same thing also happens to any pen drive inserted in the USB host port, that port can also be used for a “backup power”, also functioning as a battery pack for a smartphone.

The backup data – however – is “smart” in the sense that subsequent reintroduction of the card, perhaps with some more photos, do not determine a new copy of the data already transferred, at least in the same day . The data transferred from the SD Card are placed in a special folder and organized by day: within the single day folder, then, is a folder for each card hardware and in it a kind of incremental copy of all data passed on that day on that card.

Easy to use but not very configurable

The product installation is easy and is done via browser, by connecting to the Wi-Fi which generates the equipment and whose default password (if you want to be changed) is appropriately stated clearly on a sticker on the front. From the control panel, you can configure all security levels, establish the default actions to be taken when an SD card or a USB key, manage DLNA or upload the Plex server. You can also choose to start the ftp server or turn Secure SSH communication.

Compared to a true NAS itself, this unit remains a “and ” personal device is not really designed to be integrated into a multi-user environment . In fact, in the configuration interface, completely missing a user management system: The member is only “admin” of which the maximum you can configure the password at will; consequently it is not possible to set a series of access privileges to different folders. This and other small limits of configurability are the price to pay for having a device much easier to use than a traditional NAS.

A product “chameleon” that changes roles depending on the situation

In definitva, The My Passport Wireless Pro is an extremely versatile product which continues to change the face depending on the situations and the occasions of use. Taken as a simple portable hard drive is a bit ‘heavy and cumbersome, but still has a 2 TB capacity; in this mode of use has especially the advantage of being very powered : does not ask any power to the PC, resolving the underlying theme of the hard drives that are fed from the USB port and that in some cases do not make it to boot. The wireless functionality then, becomes especially handy in some situations, such as when you are on the move (on public transport, for example), in which case just switch it on and leave it in your backpack to access their data. There would also be the by camera Autoflow but the cameras compatibility (need a FTP client on the machine) is still very limited. More useful and versatile automatic backup from card or USB memory that protects from not rare failures of memory cards and allows a backup to be done in the field. Not to mention, finally, the ability to make even from battery pack for example to recharge a smartphone.

The Media Server which makes this hard drive compatible wirelessly with client DLNA it works well and can be very useful, especially if you want to show their content to relatives and friends at home. And in fact this versatility and multi-functionality of this device, causes the My Passport Wireless Pro is destined to go down in the backpack of every day not to go out with the most.

Two defects, even venial, this unit: as born expressly to be a product “rucksack”, constantly on the move, The lack of housing is a limit immediately tangible by any user . The second, a bit ‘more serious concerns the copy time from SD card and USB memory, which are not exactly negligible even when files to be copied are not many. In particular, about 2 GB of photos, a copy of PC in about a minute, the My Passport are transferred in just over two minutes in these conditions it is difficult to make a backup on the fly during the shooting session or resumed less than does not work on two cards or taking advantage of a pause processing.