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Western Digital My Passport Essentials

WD My Passport Essentials external hard driveI was promised to get a hold of the Western Digital My Passport Essentials some time next week. So hopefully I’ll be able to write a proper review about this external storage backup solution from Western Digital. It’s quite exciting as I’ve been looking forward for a proper external backup solution (at the moment I’m backing up to a different partition using Cobian Backup).

Here is the official Australia press release from Western Digital about My Passport Essentials.

Sydney, AustraliaSept. 30, 2009 – WD® the world’s leader in external storage solutions, today introduced its smaller, smarter and more secure My Passport™ Essential™ and My Passport for Mac® ultra-portable external hard drives featuring WD’s new WD SmartWare™ software and equipped with hardware-based encryption. The new My Passport drives are more than 20 percent smaller than the previous generation My Passport.

The new portable drives with WD SmartWare software visually present consumers’ data in a control center, providing them peace of mind that their precious photos, videos and files are securely protected. Available now at select retailers and the WD online store (shopwd.com), the new My Passport Essential and My Passport for Mac drives are offered in capacities ranging from 320 GB to 1 TB and come in a range of colors including Pacific Blue, Real Red, Cool Silver, Midnight Black and Arctic White.

According to research firm Parks Associates, the average U.S. broadband household currently has over 120 gigabytes (GB) of digital media and files, which is expected to grow to over 1 terabyte (TB) of data by 2013. And while 70 percent of consumers back up their content, the majority of these people are using manual, cumbersome methods such as copying and pasting to multiple CDs and DVDs, and less than 18 percent use software that automatically and continuously backs up their content.

When the My Passport Essential drive is plugged in for the first time, the simple and intuitive first backup process launches automatically. The real-time visual interface of WD SmartWare software gives users a reassuring view of their backup as it happens. After the first backup, users’ files are backed up automatically every time they change or add a file.

My Passport Essential and My Passport for Mac drives also feature user-selected password protection combined with military-grade 256-bit hardware encryption, which scrambles files before they are stored. Typically found only on much more expensive drive systems, the encryption acts as a virtual padlock to keep users’ data secure.

“The smaller and sleeker design of WD’s redesigned My Passport drives, combined with the intuitive visual backup experience of WD SmartWare software, makes this drive a smart and secure, travel-friendly storage choice,” said Dale Pistilli, vice president of marketing for WD’s branded products group. “These ultra-portable drives are a stylish and spacious storage solution for consumers to confidently backup, store and carry their entire digital lives.”

WD My Passport Essential hard drives are designed for Windows®-based PCs while WD My Passport for Mac drives are formatted for Mac computers and are compatible with Apple® TimeMachine™, Apple’s integrated backup solution. WD SmartWare works on Windows PCs and Mac computers and offers a seamlessly integrated option for Mac users who want an alternative to Time Machine or Mac OS 10.4 users who don’t have TimeMachine compatibility.

WD SmartWare Software

WD SmartWare software features:

  • Visual backup displays that show content in categories and shows the progress of backup;
  • Automatic, continuous data backup will instantly make a second copy whenever you add or change a file;
  • Retrieve valuable data to its original location whether it’s lost data or the file has been overwritten; and,
  • Customizable data backup that allows user to set drive security, run diagnostics, manage the power settings, and more from the WD SmartWare control center.

My Passport Essential

The new WD My Passport Essential, My Passport Essential SE and My Passport for Mac drives with WD SmartWare software feature:

  • Smaller, sleeker design offered in a range of colors including Pacific Blue, Real Red, Cool Silver and Midnight Black;
  • 256-bit hardware encryption for peace of mind knowing that data is protected from unauthorized access;
  • USB 2.0 interface that powers  the drive directly from the USB port on user’s computer, no separate power supply is needed;
  • Planet-friendly packaging derived from recycled materials to minimize waste;
  • Ready to plug-and-play with Windows PCs; and,
  • 3-year limited warranty.

The My Passport for Mac drives are plug-and-play ready for Mac computer users and compatible with Apple® Time Machine™.

Product and Pricing Summary

My Passport Essential
RRP for 320GB: AU$ 139, NZ$159
RRP for 500GB: AU$ 199, NZ$229
RRP for 640GB: AU$ 249, NZ$299

My Passport Essential SE
RRP for 750GB: AU$ 279, NZ$319
RRP for 1 TB: AU$ 379, NZ$449
Website: www.westerndigital.com
Australian Distributors: Synnex Australia
New Zealand Distributors: Ingram Micro NZ and Synnex NZ
Availability: Now

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