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Western Digital My Book Desktop Review

A great hard drive for space and speed, but at the sacrifice of portability
Western Digital My Book Desktop
Credit: Amazon
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $110 List | $94.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Fast read and write speed for its type, massive storage capacity options, good gig to dollar ratio
Cons:  Requires an AC wall outlet, not meant to be portable
Manufacturer:   Western Digital
By Ross Patton ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 7, 2022
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51
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 12
  • Read/Write Performance - 60% 4.2
  • Portability - 10% 2.3
  • Convenience - 30% 7.9

Our Verdict

Not everyone plans on moving their external hard drive once they set it up. If you plan on having your drive living in one place, there's no reason to fret about portability. This model is bulky and it requires a wall plug to operate, but it is very fast and is available in some massive storage options. The Western Digital My Book is the right model for those who are looking for a drive to permanently accompany their desktop or office setup.

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Price $110 List
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Pros Fast read and write speed for its type, massive storage capacity options, good gig to dollar ratioWidely compatible, pleasing look, powered by USBBudget-friendly, straightforwardAffordable, compact for HDD, highly compatibleAffordable, decent read and write speeds for HDD, works with Android
Cons Requires an AC wall outlet, not meant to be portableOther models offer more memory, no impact certification, so-so speedsOddly slow on Mac OS, limited storage capacity options, rare cable type, heavy for its sizeNot the fastest read and write speed, other models offer higher capacity, rare cable typeRequires formatting for switching OS, no USB C cable
Bottom Line A great hard drive for space and speed, but at the sacrifice of portabilityA sleek looking HDD with optimal compatibility and great performance across the boardSimple, lightweight and portable SSD with a great price per GB of storageAn admirable external HDD that's pint sized, performs okay, and is economicalA lightweight, simple and well priced SSD that seems a little cheaper than other options at its price point
Rating Categories Western Digital My... Western Digital P10 Toshiba Canvio Basics Western Digital Ele... Seagate Portable
Read/Write Performance (60%)
4.2
3.2
3.3
3.3
3.3
Portability (10%)
2.3
7.0
7.7
7.0
6.3
Convenience (30%)
7.9
8.1
5.1
5.3
5.2
Specs Western Digital My... Western Digital P10 Toshiba Canvio Basics Western Digital Ele... Seagate Portable
Measured Max Speed in MB/sec 193.28 MB/s 135.84 MB/s 145.03 MB/s 124.36 MB/s 142.63 MB/s
Measured Max Drag and Drop 166.67 MB/s 100.00 MB/s 142.86 MB/s 113.64 MB/s 111.10 MB/s
Drive Type HDD HDD HDD HDD HDD
Compatibility Windows and MacOS. Bonus: Works with Android (tested on Note 10+) Windows and MacOS. Bonus: Playstation 4/4Pro & 5. Xbox One & Series X|S. Works with Android (tested on Note 10+) Windows and MacOS. Bonus: Works with Android (tested on Note 10+) Windows and MacOS. Bonus: Works with Android (tested on Note 10+) Windows and MacOS. Bonus: Works with Android (tested on Note 10+)
Size 6.70" x 5.47" x 1.93" 4.64" x 3.46" x 0.48" 4.27 x 3.06" x 0.55" 4.34" x 3.22" x 0.59" 4.61" x 3.15" x 0.57"
Volume 70.73 cu.in. 7.71 cu.in. 7.19 cu.in. 8.25 cu.in. 8.28 cu.in.
Weight 29.94 oz 4.97 oz 5.10 oz 4.71 oz 4.61 oz
Storage Size Tested 4 TB 2 TB 2 TB 2 TB 2 TB
Storage Options 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, 12TB, 14TB, 16TB, 18TB 2TB, 4TB, 5TB 1TB, 2TB, 4TB 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 5TB 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 5TB

Our Analysis and Test Results

What sets the Western Digital My Book apart from the rest is its enormous memory capacity options. If you are considering gigabytes of storage per dollar spent on a hard drive, it will be hard to find a model that offers a better value than My Book.

Performance Comparison


Western Digital My Book Desktop external hard drive - if you're looking for a model with tons of storage that won't be...
If you're looking for a model with tons of storage that won't be transported often, the WD My Book is the way to go.
Credit: Laura Casner

Read/Write Performance


Other than the storage capacity you choose, the speed at which these devices operate is the primary factor that sets them apart from one another. Because of the importance of read and writing performance, we awarded 60% of the total score to this metric. We accounted for testing for both Windows and Mac OS.

The trade-off between HDDs and SSDs is storage versus speed. HDDs offer substantially more storage for the price, but they are slower than SSDs. "Slow" is also a relative term — all of the award-winning products in our review were able to transfer a 10GB file in under two minutes.


For the first half of this metric, we used speed testing software to test each drive. For Windows, we used CrystalDiskMark, and for Mac OS, we used AmorphousDiskMark. For the second half of our read and write assessment, we manually timed the transfer of 1GB, 5GB, and 10GB files. Again, we ran all of our tests for Mac OS as well as Windows to uncover any differences in performance between the two operating systems.

Western Digital My Book Desktop external hard drive - our team crunched a whole lot of data to ensure our readers are...
Our team crunched a whole lot of data to ensure our readers are getting the best advice possible.
Credit: Ross Patton

For HDD-type models, the WD My Book is easily the fastest that we've seen to date. For Windows, its average sequential read speed was 191 MB per second, and its average random data read speed was 0.9 MB per second.

Western Digital My Book Desktop external hard drive - the wd my book showed the best results we've seen for hdd models.
The WD My Book showed the best results we've seen for HDD models.
Credit: Matt Spencer

When we ran our tests for Mac OS, the WD My Book blew the other HDD types out of the water. For random data, its average speed was 0.5 MB per second. This model tested an impressive 183 MB per second for sequential file reading — more than 50 MB faster than the second place model for this assessment.

Western Digital My Book Desktop external hard drive - the wd my book blew the competition away when we ran time trials on...
The WD My Book blew the competition away when we ran time trials on Mac OS.
Credit: Matt Spencer

When we manually timed file transfers, the Western Digital My Book was at the head of the pack for HDD types once again. Using Windows, this model could transfer a 1GB file in six seconds, a 5GB file in 33 seconds, and a 10GB file in 66 seconds. When we switched to Mac OS, those times changed to seven seconds and 32 seconds for 1GB and 5GB files, while the 10GB remained 66 seconds. For Windows, these times average out to 151.5 MB per second. The average rate we measured using Mac OS was the tiniest sliver slower at 149.3 MB per second.

Convenience


We want our devices to work well out of the box with as little formatting and fumbling with cables as possible. Ideally, an external hard drive will be able to work across several operating systems without any technical issues. To score convenience, we considered each device's compatibility, setup, formatting, connecting cables, and storage options. This section accounts for the next 30% of our total score.


Our team found the WD My Book to be one of the most convenient external hard drives to use. Right out of the package, this model works seamlessly and interchangeably with Mac OS and Windows. It's ready for gaming systems, and as a bonus, our team found that it worked great with Android while using our testing phone — a Note 10+. Included with the drive is a Micro-B to USB 3.2 Gen 1 cord. As far as storage goes, it's hard to top the My Book. This model is offered in storage sizes up to an incredible 18TB, making it ideal for media professionals and others who know they have a ton of data to back up. That said, the smallest storage capacity offered is 4TB, so if you don't need that much space, the My Book might be overkill considering that memory is directly linked to price. This drive includes WD Backup software and is also compatible with Apple Time Machine giving it the capability to automatically backup your data.

Western Digital My Book Desktop external hard drive - the wd my book has a usb port along with an ac plug on the back of...
The WD My Book has a USB port along with an AC plug on the back of the drive body.
Credit: Laura Casner

Portability


In the age of Van Life, globe-trotting, and remote work, many people on the market for tech products require them to be compact and portable. For the final 10% of our final score, we considered each model's transportability. We studied any water-resistant or shock-resistant elements engineered into each drive, their size and weight, and whether they were an HDD with moving parts or an SSD with fewer components susceptible to breaking or wearing out.


Portability is not a strong suit for the WD My Book. This particular drive was designed to be a permanent fixture in your office. There's no way around the fact that this model is big and heavy. This big boy tips the scales at nearly two pounds — more than five times the weight of any other drive in our review. Measuring 6.7" x 5.5" x 1.9," it is aptly named. Not only is it the size of a book, but it's also the size of a particularly thick book that would more closely resemble Harry Potter than your standard paperback. Just for fun, we calculated its cubic volume and compared it to the smallest models we've gotten our hands on. The WD My Book is about 30 times the volume of the most compact drives in our review. The My Book also requires an AC wall plug, meaning that a laptop cannot power it on its own. If you're the type that likes to get work done on flights or in coffee shops, this is likely not the drive for you.

Western Digital My Book Desktop external hard drive - the wd my book offers massive storage options, but this model is not...
The WD My Book offers massive storage options, but this model is not designed for traveling.
Credit: Western Digital

Value


Considering what the WD My Book is designed to do, we think this drive is well worth the price. If you're looking at GB per dollar, you'll get a solid deal if you choose to go with this model.

Conclusion


Easily beating the competition in terms of storage space, the Western Digital My Book is definitely the way to go for those looking to back up a mountain of data — it will even perform automatically. It isn't exactly portable, but it wasn't designed for this purpose. This drives connectivity, and compatibility is among the best of the best. It reads and writes data faster than any other HDD in our review, and it has an unobtrusive look for office use. It may be a few more bucks than other HDDs, but the purchase is well worth it in terms of dollars compared to storage capacity.

Ross Patton

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