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Should I Buy… WD My Passport portable hard drive (HDD) for PS4/Xbox One?

Should I Buy… WD My Passport portable hard drive (HDD) for PS4/Xbox One?
(Image credit: WD)

When it comes to buying a hard drive to expand the storage space on either a PS4 or Xbox One, allowing you to install more games, you've got a wealth of options. The top pick in both our guides to the best PS4 external hard drives and Xbox One external hard drives is the Western Digital My Passport HDD. So, the answer to the question 'should I buy the WD My Passport' seems obvious.... But this article will explain why we've placed it above all the other drives you can get.

Quick look

Sizes: 1TB-4TB
Weight: 0.54 lb
Dimensions: 4.3 x 3.2 x 0.64 inches
Works with: Xbox One, PS4, PC, most other USB devices
Prices (1-4TB): $50-100

First and foremost, it's about reliability. I've been using WD drives, including My Passport, for years now and they've proven to be more reliable than many other competitors. I've carried the My Passport in all kinds of bags, knocked it about, attached it to various devices, wiped it and reused it, and the 4TB model is still going strong. I currently cycle the WD My Passport with a Toshiba Canvio Advance as extended storage for my consoles at home, and both offer excellent reliability. The reason this is such an important factor should be obvious: if you get an unreliable HDD to store games on, or saves, then any loss of data or corruption is going to give you a headache. At best, you'll need to reinstall games; at worst you may lose save data forever.

HDD or SSD?

(Image credit: WD)

While the WD My Passport isn't as tough as other models, like the LaCie Rugged, which comes with a protective rubberised shell, it's solid enough to withstand minor and everyday bumps and drops. The main issue with regular HDDs, with internal spinning discs, is that excessive knocks and drops can cause data loss and other issues. If you're really worried about being too rough with your external drive, or just want to take a 'belt and braces' approach to your portables, you should spend the extra money on an SSD as these have no moving parts, and are therefore tougher to break. There's a WD My Passport 1TB SSD, which we haven't had a chance to test, and it retails for $169 – which is about $120 more than the regular 1TB HDD. Ouch.

The question is, do you really need to spend that money? If you're just using the drive as extended storage for your PS4 or Xbox One, the answer is no. Once you plug in an extra external HDD like the My Passport in, it'll likely just sit on your shelf or next to your console and never move. While SSDs also offer increased read and write speeds, I've rarely found external drives to offer significant differences in terms of loading speeds. While copying files is undoubtedly quicker, the benefits just don't outweigh the costs - certainly for this generation. When PS5 and Xbox Project Scarlett arrive in 2020, however, this situation may change. So, it really comes down to usage. While SSDs are the future, normal HDDs are absolutely fine for console storage, as long as you won't be taking them on too many adventures. For context: I also take my WD My Passport drive out when I'm taking photos with a DSLR camera, which means it's exposed to the elements a little, and I'm never worried about damaging it even while hiking through rural locations.

Top speeds?

In terms of speed, the My Passport is slightly above standard for external hard drives. It isn't the quickest, but it's comparable to rivals like the Seagate drives and the Canvio Advance. Again, if you want speed, try an SSD. Data transfer on a PS4, for example, only takes a few seconds per GB, although your install times are limited by either your console's disc drive speed, or by your download speed.

(Image credit: WD)

Other features

Well, the My Passport has a standard USB 3.0 connection, a slim operating LED to show you it's working, and it doesn't need to be plugged into an external power supply. It's small (almost the exact same dimensions as other drives, like the Seagate Expansion) and light (245g), and available in a variety of colors. As an added bonus for PS4 users, the 2018 model of the My Passport, which I use, actually looks like it's part of the PlayStation family thanks to the shape and 'split in half' design that mimics the console itself. You could almost believe it's a baby PS4 Slim, if you imagine really hard.

Overall - should you buy it?

All things considered, it's a neat piece of kit. While external hard drives are rarely the most exciting purchase, the WD My Passport gives you what you need at a very competitive price. It isn't the cheapest HDD you'll find but, for me, it offers the right balance between value, performance, reliability and design to make it the best external drive you can buy right now. If you see one cheap in the Black Friday game deals, you should pick one up.