Most of us are our own worst enemy when it comes to technology. We have an infinite number of photos, videos, and essentially priceless memories digitally stored. More often than not, it isn’t until something goes horribly wrong, that we actually buy an external hard drive.
Aside from photos, videos, and music, an external hard drive can free up massive amounts of memory on your PC or laptop . Freeing up this space will allow your computer to work far better than it did before.
This article is going to discuss the differences between the Western Digital Elements and My Passport. The aim of the article is to help you choose the best one for you, whether you are replacing an old hard drive, or buying a new one, preferably before something goes wrong.
We will look at the hard drive capacity, WD backup software, appearance, and value for money. We will place all the information in a comparison chart so you can quickly view the differences. Finally, we will list some pros and cons of the WD Elements and the WD Passport.
Let’s start by talking about how they are similar.
Read next: WD Easystore vs Elements: Which Western Digital is Better?
WD Elements and My Passport: Similarities
Both of these WD hard drives are compatible with Windows 7, 8, 9 10. They are also compatible with Windows Vista. Be aware that many people have issues with Windows Vista if the hard drive is larger than 4 TB.
For the sake of this article, we are looking at a smaller capacity and therefore there are no issues.
You can use either of them with Mac, but it will require a simple reformat of the drive.
To transfer your videos, photos, or music, you can use a 2.0 USB or a 3.0 USB. A 3.0 USB will allow for faster transfer of files.
Hard drive uses
The WD Element and the WD Passport are ideal for transferring and storing photos, videos, and music. Both are able to store documents, however, you may prefer the WD Passport if you want to store important documents.
Drag and Drop
One of the best features of any PC/laptop is drag and drop. Once your hard drive is connected, you can simply click on the file you want to transfer, drag it, and drop it onto the hard drive. You can use drag and drop with the Elements and My Passport.
Now that we have covered how the two MD hard drives are similar, let’s take a look at some of the more specific details of the two.
Read next: WD My Passport vs Easystore: Which Western Digital is Better?
WD Elements and My Passport: Key Differences
One of the key things that you need to consider when you buy a hard drive is the capacity. We are looking at the 4 TB capacity hard drive. This is equal to 4,096 GB. To put that in perspective, an average 90-minute Netflix video is 2.4 GB.
Aside from the 4 TB, you can also buy a 1 TB, 2 TB, 3 TB, or 5 TB hard drive. A 5 TB hard drive can hold approximately 2000 Netflix videos.
For a larger capacity, the hard drive becomes a fraction bigger and logically more expensive.
WD My Passport
Similarly to the Elements, it comes in 1 TB, 2 TB, 3 TB, and 4 TB. There is no option for a 5 TB. On the other hand, there are different versions.
The Passport Ultra has a different design, the Passport Go is ready for Windows and Mac but doesn’t have hardware encryption, and the Passport SSD is ready for Windows and Mac and has hardware encryption.
The Winner Is – A Tie
WD Elements vs My Passport: Appearance
Hard drives are usually somewhat plain in their appearance. They are small, compact, and are most often found in black.
It’s a modern-looking hard drive in matte black with rounded edges. It only weighs 4.8 oz (136 g). The WD Elements dimensions are 4.3 x 3.2 x 0.6 inches.
It’s a rather bizarre design, with half of the hard drive smooth and the other half with stripped groves. This comes in black, blue, orange, red, white, and yellow. It weighs 5.9 oz (167 g) and it is 4.3 x 3.2 x 0.6 inches.
The Winner Is- The WD My Passport
WD Elements vs My Passport – Backup Software
Some hard drives come with backup software for enhanced user experience. Examples would be a cleanup tool, data recovery, and/or hard disk repair software.
This hard drive doesn’t have any additional software.
The standard My Passport comes with automatic backup. You can set a schedule to do this, so it’s one less thing to worry about. WD security includes password protection and 255-bit AFS hardware encryption.
With WD Discovery software, you can connect to your social media accounts and cloud storage. There are also WD Drive Utilities.
Remember, if you choose Passport Go, it doesn’t come with hardware encryption. On the plus side, it’s great for those who carry their hard drive around with them because it’s drop-resistant up to 2 meters and bump and shake-proof, even when in use.
The Winner Is – WD My Passport
Value For Money
The average cost of a 4 TB hard drive is between $40 and $50. A 3 TB hard drive would be between $80 and $95. For a 5 TB hard drive, you could expect to pay around $120 to $130. Most brands will offer a warranty, even if it’s only 12 months.
It’s a good price, slightly towards the higher end of average. It comes with a two-year warranty. There are options to buy a carrying case and a charger too.
WD My Passport
Surprisingly, considering all the additional software, there is only a couple of dollars difference to the WD Element. Not only that, but it also comes with a three-year warranty. There is the option to buy a carrying case too.
WD Elements and WD My Passport: Pros and Cons
Before we offer our final verdict, you can check out some pros and cons of each of the WD hard drives.
- It can be hooked up to game consoles to store games
- It is very simple to use, just plug in and you are ready to go, it’s also a bonus don’t they don’t require their own power source
- Formatting to use on a Mac is easier than you might imagine.
- It is a little fragile, especially the cable that comes with it
WD My Passport
- It is a particular favorite for PS4 users, and the PS4 will pre-format it for you
- It is an excellent value for money with the extra software, especially for important documents that should be password protected
- It works very quickly when transferring files
- The cable is a little too short for some
Elements vs My Passport: Video Comparison
WD Elements 1 TB Video Review
WD My Passport 4 TB Video Review
WD Elements and My Passport Alternatives & Equivalents
Other popular external hard drive options for laptops and desktop computers are WD Blue, Black, Red and Gold, WD Easystore, Seagate Barracuda, Seagate IronWolf, and others.
WD Elements and My Passport: The Final Verdict
There are a lot of things to consider when choosing between the Element and the Passport hard drives. First, you need to consider the storage capacity you feel you will need, and if in doubt, go bigger.
If you are looking for more than 4 TB, the Western Digital Element is the only way to go. The actual capacity you choose has little to no effect on the performance of the hard drive.
It’s worth considering the options you have for both of the WD hard drives. The Element is the standard version, whereas the WD My Passport has three other versions.
My Passport SSD is a lot more expensive but it has the added advantage of speed, compatible with USB 3.1 Gen 2. My Passport Go is even more expensive yet lacks the hardware encryption. That being said, it’s drop-resistant up to 2 meters and can handle bumps and shakes.
There is very little difference in the size or weight of the two hard drives, so this won’t factor into the buying decision. Nevertheless, some may appreciate the option to choose from six different colors with My Passport.
We decided that the best buying option was the WD My Passport 4 TB standard version. It will automatically back up your files, you can set up passwords to protect your documents, and you can connect to your social media pages and cloud storage. It doesn’t make sense to not choose this hard drive when you have so many extra features for just a couple of extra dollars.
The WD Elements HD transfer rate is dependent on the location of reads and writes. All disk drives read/write to areas near the outer tracks, which can reach speeds around 170 MB per second, whereas inner track locations only reach about 80 MB per second. This means that most disks will usually beat 100MBPS-on a nearly empty drive you’ll see substantially better results!
Last update on 2023-03-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The WD Elements hard drive (3TB) most certainly comes with its own separate power supply.
The WD Elements hard drive is compatible with a Mac. In fact, all USB drives should be Mac compatible! All that you will need to do is reformat the device and that’ll take care of everything for you!
The answer to this question is yes and no. Yes, it can store individual files transferred from the PlayStation 4; however, not as a form of “Extended Storage.” You’ll need to partition it into two smaller volumes in order for that feature work effectively with your new external HDD (6TB).
The Western Digital My Passport RPM is 5400.
The Western Digital My Passport write and read speed are both 625 MB/S.
Yes, it can be reformatted to be used on both Macs or PCs.
Thanks for a great comparison. Albeit a day late and all that for me as I now own a WD 2T My Passport and a 5T Elements. I have both currently connected to my Xbox One S for additional storage.
As I use them in conjunction with my Xbox the length of the USB 3 cord doesn’t factor in as both sit in very close proximity to the console.
Additionally I have no use for any of the encryption software as I don’t use them. The Xbox formatted both drives in less then a minute with one click.
Now, regarding performancei can report that both perform spectacularly! There’s absolutely zero lag time when playing a game that’s stored on the drive. There’s no discernable difference when playing online against others between a game stored locally on the console and those stored on the drives.
So my opinion, for what it’s worth, is that both are excellent choices when choosing for external storage for a gaming console.
The 2T Passport: $69
The 5T Elements: $109