Western Digital has been around for five decades in the digital storage market space. From hard drives to data centers and cloud services, WD has been dealing with various data products and technologies. Among top-quality external hard drives available in the market, WD’s Elements and My Passport are two of the most popular options among consumers.
Since both these external hard drives are meant for more or less the same target market, it is only natural that they get compared with each other.
WD My Passport
Sleek design with curved edges
Diagonally striped case with sharp edges
Comes with WD Auto Backup software
2-year limited warranty
3-year limited warranty
WD Elements Pros & Cons
Easy to carry
Comes in multiple storage options
Offers plug & play use on Windows devices
No password protection and hardware encryption
WD My Passport Pros & Cons
Features backup utility
Comes with password protection and hardware encryption
Available in more than one color
Face to Face Comparison
The above section has given you a quick comparative overview of the two external hard drives we are discussing here. For an in-depth comparison, let’s compare WD Elements and My Passport feature by feature.
Storage Options and Speed
Storage and transfer speed over USB are the two most crucial features to mull over when shopping for an external hard drive. Western Digital provides a range of storage options with Elements and My Passport external hard drive models. You can get Elements devices in 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, and 5TB sizes. On the other hand, My Passport comes in 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, and 5TB storage capacities.
When comparing the transfer speed of the two, we haven’t found any difference. Both WD Elements and My Passport offers the same maximum data transfer speed over different USB configurations. If your device has a USB 2.0 port, you won’t find any difference between Elements and My Passport because both of them can record the maximum serial data transfer speed of around 480Mbps. Similarly, they transfer the data over USB 3.0 with similar speeds, i.e., around 5 Gbps.
Verdict: This round has seen a tough competition between WD Elements and My Passport. Both offer more or less the same storage options and also provide the same data transfer speed. Since Elements is also available in a 3TB variant, it wins this round by a narrow margin.
Hard drives with their magnetic tapes and spinning disks are inherently prone to shocks and impacts. Internal hard drives getting corrupt after falling from a desk or hand has happened with many users. External hard drives have sturdier designs and fare better with shock resilience due to their peripheral and portable use.
When we compare the shock resilience of Elements and My Passport, we only have to look at their construction because Western Digital hasn’t provided any particular information on this aspect. For instance, we don’t know how much force (in Newton) they can withstand upon a drop or fall.
Also, there isn’t much difference when we compare their construction.
Both are of almost the same size and thickness. However, one thing that might make a difference in their shock resilience rating is the finishing of their front panel. Elements have a smooth finish. Meanwhile, My Passport has a case with smooth and striped diagonals. Those striped may act as shock absorbers.
Verdict: Upon the design inspection, My Passport seems to boast better shock resilience than Elements. But since we don’t have hard facts to prove it, we will call this round a tie.
Compatibility and Connectivity
Operating system compatibility and connectivity are also important features to consider while buying an external hard drive. WD Elements comes with NTFS formatting, making it a great choice for Windows-based devices.
Unbox your new Elements drive, plug in your system, and start transferring data without needing any configuration check and setup.
Moreover, WD Elements can connect to both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports.
My Passport, on the other hand, comes with exFAT formatting, making it an even better option than Elements when it comes to compatibility. With NTFS formatting, you can only plug-and-play your Elements drives in devices running on Windows.
If you have to use them with a Mac, you will have to reformat them. However, that’s not the case with My Passport. You can use it with both Windows and Apple devices without needing any reformatting.
My Passports also offer connectivity with both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports.
Verdict: WD My Passport is a clear winner of this round with its more versatile computability due to exFAT formatting.
Very few people understand hardware encryption and what role it plays in an external hard drive. Hardware encryption essentially entails the utilization of the physical element of the drive to facilitate data encryption. Many security experts rate it above software encryption because hardware encryption happens in isolation that makes it virtually impossible to get unauthorized access to the content of the drive.
Even if you lose your hardware-encrypted external hard drive, its data is more likely to remain safe and unexposed. WD My Passport features 256-bit AES hardware encryption and completely outshines Elements drives because they don’t boast any type of encryption or even have built-in password protection.
Verdict: WD My Passport wins this round by a mile. It doesn’t just feature hardware encryption but also offers WD Discovery-powered password protection.
At the end of the day, every user wants to buy an external hard drive that doesn’t break their bank. Western Digital generally offers good prices on all its product lines. We can witness the same with the price points of Elements and My Passport. Both lie at reasonable price points as compared to other brands.
If we compare them against each other, then My Passport is slightly expensive than Elements and for obvious reasons. My Passport has hardware encryption, exFAT formatting and is also compatible with WD Backup. All these features are missing in WD Elements.
Verdict: If storage capacity and transfer rate are the only external hard drive features you mind, WD Elements is the winner between the two when it comes to cost.
Before we wrap up our comparison review of WD Elements vs. My Passport, we’d like to outline some standout features of both hard drive lines.
Easy to Carry: Elements external hard drives are lightweight and small in size, making them a great portable gadget. Very few external hard drives with TB storage are as easy to carry as WD Elements.
WD My Passport
Support Automatic Backup: You can backup your data on My Passport drive with the propriety WD Backup software. You can configure it for automatic backups of the important files on your system.
Password Protection and Hardware Encryption: WD My Passport comes with password protection that is supported by propriety software WD Discovery. Also, it boasts 256-bit AES hardware encryption to protect your data in case of drive theft or loss.
We hope that the above comparative discussion helps you identify the most suitable external hard drive option for your use.
While WD My Passport is a better option among the two, you can pick either of these options for different reasons.
Use WD Element if:
You want an easy-to-carry external hard drive with moderate storage capacity.
You don’t want to spend too much on an external hard drive
Use WD My Passport if:
You need better security and backup regimen irrespective of the price tag of the drive.
Last update on 2021-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Automated page speed optimizations for fast site performance