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Western Digital 160GB Passport
Western Digital is most famous for its stupendously good Raptor line of performance hard drives that are generally considered to be the fastest consumer hard drives on the planet. However, it will come as no surprise that it also produces a vast range of other hard drive based storage solutions. And, today I'm looking at probably the cutest one of the lot, a diddy little shiny black portable hard drive known as the Passport.
Just like the 160GB Seagate portable hard drive we looked at a while ago, the Passport is based on a 2.5in notebook hard drive that uses a single USB connection for power and data connection. By doing away with a mains power adapter, these drives are small enough to be slipped into a jacket pocket or a small bag and taken with you anywhere. The Passport is available in 60GB, 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, and 250GB versions so there's plenty of options if you're on a tight budget.
Some computers aren't able to provide sufficient power over a single USB connection so the use of a special two-to-one USB cable is required. Unfortunately WD doesn't include one of these with the drive so you have to order one separately if needed. You do get a conveniently sized 30cm standard USB cable as well as a quick installation guide, though.
Western Digital clearly has its finger on the design pulse as the Passport is one superb looking device. The glossy black top surface looks as good as ever - piano black certainly seems to be the flavour of the day with Samsung's current line-up of notebooks and the majority of new TVs also sporting this finish - and the matt finish of the bottom creates a perfect contrast. No matter what the fashion industry tries to tell us, nothing will ever truly be the new black.
The perfect shininess of the top is only interrupted by a subtle etched WD logo in its centre and a small blue ring on one of the sides. When the drive is powered up the ring glows a deep shade of blue and flashes a lighter brighter shade as the drive is accessed. Stylish and subtle seems to be the aim of the game and the Passport is playing a blinder.
On its underside the Passport has four little rubber feet that help prevent the drive from sliding around and consequently prevents it picking up too many scratches. However, while the drive may be protected while it sits on your desk, it isn't likely to hold up to the abuses of a portable life.