Here we go again: Western Digital has launched yet another line of portable USB hard drives. The four drives in the My Passport Elite series don’t vary by size, just color. You’re free to select a capacity of 250GB or 320GB in gunmetal gray, old-shoe brown, a soft blue finish, or a sandy red. And as far as we can tell, that’s one of the few differences between this line of devices and Western Digital’s “normal” My Passport Essential drives—the latter having 11 different colors and four different capacity points to choose from.
Miniaturization has brought us amazing advances—tiny transistors, microscopic nanotubes, bite-size Frosted Mini Wheats, and now the Eye-Fi. Combining a 2GB flash card with a Wi-Fi radio, this affordable hybrid card lets you easily upload pictures directly from your camera to the web and your PC.
Pink is our new obsession, and we have Western Digital to blame. Its pink, portable Passport hard drive (try saying that fast) is small enough to fit in Steven Tyler’s mouth, yet it comes with two of our most favorite features in the world: sweet speeds and snazzy backup software. And to top it off, you have to carry only a single USB cable alongside the little sweetheart, as there’s no accompanying power brick or annoying connector.
Let’s set the scene: You just finished “acquiring” every episode of your favorite TV show, and you’re dying for an awesome way to get those files onto your slick new TV. Browsing around the web for a solution, you stumble across Kingwin’s KH-300—an external enclosure that allows you to play multimedia files on a hard drive directly to your TV. You couldn’t be happier.
Now this is cool. the Show Me Disk includes an 11-character readout that displays any name you create for your key. Whatever you you type into Windows Explorer shows up on the key’s display, so people will know its “Josh’s key,” or they’ll see that “Cats rule,” maybe. The display also features a pie chart and numerical rating for the available capacity, which is wicked-awesome. You just glance at the pie or the number to find out how much space you have left. We love these features! There’s one tiny problem: This key is slow as molasses in a New York winter. It’s so slow we grew a beard transferring 1GB of data to the device. We then had ample time to shave said beard reading that 1GB of data from the key.
The My Flash Fingerprint Disk offers a feature that goes well with a USB key: a fingerprint scanner to protect the drive’s contents. While not everyone keeps satellite images of nuclear facilities and top-secret documents on their USB key, it’s still reassuring to know that there’s an extra level of protection between your data and potential do-badders.
Look at this sexy mofo. Talk about elegant and sophisticated! And we love how its cap-less design addresses one of our biggest complaints with these drives—the caps always get lost! On this key, you push the USB header out of the key when you need it, and slide it back in when you’re done. This not only reduces the key’s size considerably, but it protects the port as well. It’s a perfect design, in our opinion.
Today’s simple username/password system is a single-factor authentication mechanism—your credentials are the only information necessary. When an evildoer has that information, whether it was stolen with a keylogger or a “phishing” email, you’re screwed.