When it comes to buying an internal hard drive there's a lot to think about: SSD or HDD? 7,200rpm (or higher) or 5,400rpm? Cache sizes, access times and more. With external storage however things are far simpler: cheap, reliable and err... cheap and reliable. Until now.
Having applied a healthy dose of lateral thinking Western Digital has come up with e-paper displays. This is the same technology as that used in eBooks (just without the 'e-ink' copyright) and sits clearly on the front of its new My Book Studio and Elite ranges so users can see the amount of free space remaining on their drives. Furthermore, because this is e-paper the display works whether the drives are plugged in or not and each drive can be individually labelled ('Films', 'Photos', etc) for easy reference. Simple, but smart.
Both ranges also come with 'WD SmartWare' which brings automatic back-up and also includes the ability to password protect content with up to 256bit encryption. Capacities are good too with 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB sizes available on each line. So what is the difference between the two? Simple: the Elite is for PCs and features USB 2.0 while the Studio is compatible with Mac OS X and TimeMachine and has a FireWire 800 port on top.
Both lines go on sales immediately with My Book Elite ranging from £99.99 and £199.99 while the extra connectivity on the Studio ups prices to £119.90 to £209.90.
In related news WD has also expanded its ultra portable HDDs with the 2.5in 'My Passport Elite' range which comes in rather snazzy anodized red, anodized blue and charcoal finishes, a useful USB dock is bundled too and there are enlarged capacities of 320GB, 500GB and 640GB. Like the My Book's you'll find 256bit encryption and all power is provided through the single USB 2.0 connection - very useful. As with its bigger brothers, the My PassPort Elites hit shelves immediately going for pretty reasonable RRPs of £75.99 (320GB), £99.99 (500GB) and £109.99 (640GB).
We're liking what we see...