Western Digital 160GB Passport II 2.5in HDD

Article Index
Western Digital 160GB Passport II 2.5in HDD
Software Installation and Setup
Synthetic Benchmarks and Conclusion

Product: Western Digital 160GB Passport II 2.5in HDD
Provided by: BCCHardware
Real-Time Price:


WD 160GB Passport Desktop storage has dropped dramatically in price while storage capacities have increased.  Although not as many people watch the 2.5" storage market as closely as the 3.5" market, this smaller form factor market has been following the same trend.  Currently you can buy a 320GB 2.5" SATA HDD for around $150 and this has caused a major drop in storage prices for smaller drives - both internal and external.  Today we are looking at the Western Digital Passport that comes connected by USB and offers a nice additional 160GB of storage to your current setup.  We'll take a look at the speed and durability of this unit to see if you have to sacrifice performance to go with an external drive.


First Look:

The Passport II comes packaged with a standard USB-to-mini-USB cable and a nice neoprene (think wetsuit) zippered pouch to store the cable and the drive in when you're on the road.  The cable uses a very standard mini-USB connection so if for some reason you lose it or want a longer cable, you very well may have a spare one lying around.  The pouch and drive are branded "WD" and Western Digital seems proud to have their name on this product.  That's a good sign.

 Passport Bundle
Passport Bundle


You'll notice that there is no software CD included with the drive and that is because Western Digital has the software pre-installed on the drive.  The included software is for Windows only but this drive will work fine under OSX, Linux or Windows - without the sync or encryption software however.


Product Features & Info:

Before we take a closer look at this unit and start testing, we'll take a look and see what Western Digital has to say about their own product.

WD’s Passport® provides high-performance portable storage for your PC and Mac®. Light and rugged, it’s easy to carry and no external
power adapter is needed*. Comes with sync & encryption and Google™ software.

Product Features
Easy – Installation is a snap because you don't really "install" this drive; you just plug it in and it's ready to use. There is no CD to install; the included software loads from the drive the first time you plug it in.
Smart – Powered by the USB bus. No separate power supply is needed.*
Ultra-portable – This ultra-portable drive fits easily in your pocket or purse, weighs only a few ounces, and holds tons of valuable data.
Synchronized and Secure – WD Sync™ synchronization and encryption software lets you save your critical data and take it with you. Plug your drive into any notebook, PC, or Mac to edit files, read e-mail, and view photos. Then sync all of your changes back to your home or office computer (Windows only).
Includes Google Software – Search your drive, manage your photos, and simplify Web searches with included Google software (Windows only).
Compatible – Use with Windows® and Macintosh® computers.


  • Carry important files and e-mail between work and home or on the road
  • Share large files between office and home, between PC and Mac
  • Back up your existing notebook, PC, or Mac hard drive for extra data safety


  • Windows • Available USB port • Windows 2000/XP/Vista
  • Macintosh • Available USB port • Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later

Up Close:

The Passport is a pretty little drive but with the glossy finish on the soft plastic case, it probably won't look pretty for very long. Even for the few weeks of testing, it was constantly covered with fingerprints and it even picked up a few scratches.  This obviously won't affect performance, but it does affect its looks.

 Passport - Profile
Passport - Profile
Passport - Bottom
Passport - Bottom


The front right corner has a power indicator that manages some feeble attempt at flashing when the drive is accessed.  HDD activity isn't that big of a deal to me, but the bright blue LED gets old if it is sitting on a desk facing you.

 Passport - Port
Passport - Port
 Passport - Lit Up
Passport - Lit Up


As you can see above the only port on the Passport is a single mini-USB port.  This is responsible for power and data transfer.  There are some cases where the USB host may not be able to provide enough power to the drive and for that you'll need to get a dual-USB "Y" adapter from Western Digital.  I've tried this drive on older systems as well as a couple of notebooks and all worked fine and provided ample power to the Passport.

We'll take a look at the included software and start using the drive in the real-world on the next page.