updated 09:00 am EST, Wed January 30, 2008
WD My Passport Essential
Western Digital began Wednesday by introducing a redesigned version of the My Passport Essential external notebook drive. In addition to a new look that is said to recall the company's desktop-minded My Book drives, the Essential is designed to be as simple to setup as possible. Both Macs and PCs can plug the drive into a USB port and have it in use almost immediately. On Windows PCs, both the WD Sync backup and data encryption software as well as a suite of Google tools install automatically the first time the drive is plugged in. Most notebooks can power the drive entirely from the USB port rather than a separate (but still optional) external power cable.
The restyled My Passport is also the most capacious with a top version shipping with 320GB of storage; Western Digital estimates the space is enough for 80,000 compressed music tracks or 38 hours of HD video. The company ships the 320GB version today for $200 and also offers 160GB and 250GB versions at lower prices.