The Passport Pocket is slow. Way slow. Its read speed of our 3GB test file (590 seconds) was two minutes slower than that of the PNY and the Verbatim drives, and its write speed (636 sec) was three minutes slower than the PNY. That’s just ridiculous.
However, the Passport Pocket redeems itself slightly with the included WD Sync software (available from Western Digital’s website). With the software, you can sync desktop folders and files, including IE and Firefox Favorites, desktop wallpapers, folders, etc. We weren’t able to securely surf on other computers; all of our temporary Internet files were left behind.
The WD Sync software also allows you to password-protect the drive, a feature none of the others in this roundup offer. The drive also stores your contact information, so in the event the drive is lost, the person who finds it can easily return it to you.
The drive is very sturdy and solid, and comes with a removable rubber case (not shown) that fits like a wetsuit—it’s impossible to get on or off. The USB port is very well designed, however, with a swiveling port head that makes plugging the drive into a crowded USB port much easier.
Yes, it’s slow as hell, but it’s amazingly affordable and highly portable. It’s also the only drive here to sport encryption software, and that’s a big feather in its cap.
Month Reviewed: September 2006
+ SYNC: Good security options and desktop synchronization.