The Western Digital My Book (4TB) ($209.99 list) desktop-class external hard drive gives the photo, music, or video collector a place to keep a whole lot of files. It’s basic, utilitarian storage that will get the job done, and sometimes that’s all you need. It won’t wow you with esoteric connectors, data redundancy, or blazing throughput rates, but it’s a good choice if you want to hold a million songs or photos in one place. It’s worth picking up for that reason alone.
Design and Features
The My Book looks like a standard black plastic-clad desktop hard drive, with 6.5 by 2 by 5.5 inch (HWD) measurements. It will sit next to your desktop PC or on your desk, waiting to connect to your laptop. Vents on three of the drive chassis’ surface mean that the hard drive doesn’t require active fan cooling. The drive mechanism is mounted so it “floats” inside, surrounded by cooling air. This means that the drive is more suited to causal use than hardcore file transfers or as a scratch disk for graphics tasks. The benefit of the design is that the drive itself is quiet: without cooling fans, you’ll barely be able to hear the drive unless you hold your ear close to the chassis while the drive is transferring files.
The front of the drive is relatively unadorned. Its curved surface does look like the spine of a book, with a single white led near the center for power/disk activity duties. A chromed Western Digital logo shines just above the base of the drive. Other drives like the Western Digital My Book Studio II and the Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Drive for Mac (3TB) have LED indicators that tell you when they are filling up. The My Book has a simple, single LED, which is sufficient. On the back, you’ll find a USB 3.0 mini-b connector for the included cable, plus a jack for the AC adapter, and another for a Kensington lock. You can use the drive with older USB 2.0-only PCs, but of course file transfers will take (a lot) longer under USB 2.0. A power button and some identifying labels round out the back panel. That’s pretty much all you need, although a capacity/use indicator is a nice touch on the other drives.
The drive’s 4TB capacity is relatively unaffected by the included software. The drive’s manuals, WD SmartWare, and other utilities take up a measly 455MB of the 4000GB drive. SmartWare lets you setup smart backup and recovery of your important files. You can set the software to continuously backup your new and changed files. You can also setup Drive Lock for security, which uses hardware encryption to keep your data safe from prying eyes. The drive comes formatted for NTFS (Windows), but you can reformat it HFS+ for use on a Mac. The drive has a two-year warranty, which is fine for a basic drive like this.
Unfortunately, the My Book gave us a little bit of trouble running out PCMark7 and PCMark 05 tests, so we can’t report on those results. However, the drive was able to complete our standard drag-and-drop copy test, which came in at a quick 10 seconds to copy our 1.2GB test folder. This was faster than the My Book Studio II under eSATA, as well as our Editor’s Choice IoSafe Solo G3 (1TB) ($299 direct, 4.5 stars). This means that the drive will be very quick in the sort of backups and file copies that most users will expect. It is certainly faster (when used with a USB 3.0-equipped PC) than that old USB 2.0 drive you have on your desk, which will take upwards of 40 seconds to copy the same folder. The drive is quick, but not made for constant use.
Compared with the competition, the Western Digital My Book (4TB) is a very good hard drive, with a good bang for the buck and a simple mission: keep your data safe. It’s not quite as secure as the smaller-capacity IoSafe Solo G3, which holds on to its Editor’s Choice status due to its robust physical ruggedness and included data recovery voucher. It’s also much, much slower than the LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt, which is our other Editors’ Choice for hard drives. The LaCie is best suited for the media pros that constantly run their hard drives over the course of a 12-16 hour day. Call the My Book for what it is: a good, well built, and capacious hard drive that will keep most users happy when used for manual or automatic backups and for file transfers part time.
Compare the Western Digital My Book (4TB) with several other hard drive side by side.
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|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||4000 GB|
|Ports||USB, USB 2.0, SATA, USB 3.0|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc