Given that the Xbox One can use external hard drives to store its games, apps and downloadable content, different companies are doing their best to create and market specific drives to the console’s devoted user-base. One of the latest to do just that is Western Digital, with the appropriately titled My Passport X. Offering at least 2 terabytes of storage, it allows those who game often to save and hold onto many more digital games than they’d otherwise be able to.
Although it’s part of a popular and long-running brand of external hard drives, the My Passport X is the first to bear packaging that centres upon console use. It’s a marketing decision that aims to entice the regular consumer to purchase the product in order to dramatically increase his or her console’s storage space, though the reality is that the X is not that different from its peers. I don’t mean to infer anything negative by that, but the simple fact is that many different drives will work with the Xbox One, so long as they meet certain criteria. This one, and its competitors (such as the Other World Computing Xbox One Upgrade Kit and the Seagate Game Drive, both of which I reviewed previously) are simply named and marketed towards Xbox owners.
The first thing you’ll notice about this particular variation is its colouring, which is dark black to match the default Xbox One. It blends in well, and features some slight ridging on the outside of its case, which gives it a bit of a tactile feel. What’s also noticeable is the 0.5lb weight of the thing, as though it’s small and compact it’s probably the heaviest of the three drives I’ve tested. If you’re wondering, its unique size equates to 4.33 inches x 0.83 inches x 3.21 inches.
Set-up is quick and easy, which is attributed to both the product and the console, itself. Microsoft has made it easy (and rather foolproof) to set these things up and use them, so it doesn’t take much expertise to get one up and running alongside an Xbox One. All you need to do is connect the included USB 3.0 cable to the drive, then plug the other end into one of the two USB 3.0 ports on your console. Following that, you’ll be promoted to format it, which only takes a couple of moments. Once that’s done, you’re up and running.
In comparison to the other Xbox One-marketed drives that I’ve used, the My Passport X is at the top of the list for ease of use. I simply plugged it into the side port and received the prompt, whereas I had to do some fine tuning with at least one of the others. Following that, I transferred a game to it and found that the drive’s write speed was quite good. The game transferred quickly, and it loaded in no time. Overall, though, you’re looking at average speeds for a drive of this ilk, with loading times that are close to that of the Xbox One’s internal hard drive. Don’t expect anything revolutionary given the price point and the fact that this isn’t an SSD, but go in knowing that the X’s performance is quite solid.
Honestly, the only thing that I’ve disliked about this drive (apart from how short its included cable happens to be) is how it fails to completely turn off with the Xbox. Instead of powering down fully like I’m used to, it remains on in standby even though the console has been fully shut down. This is indicated by a relatively bright white light that flickers on the side of the device. When it’s on and functional, said light is solid, but when it’s in standby it simply flashes at a slow pace. This likely won’t bother most people, but it made me worry about unnecessary wear.
Upon talking to a support rep about the issue — who was very nice and even asked his supervisor to make sure he was giving me the proper info — I found out that the slow flashes indicated standby mode, and that when it’s in this mode it spins slowly. I do trust what they said, but I question why the thing would be designed this way.
That aside though, this is a very solid external hard drive, which does the job it sets out to do and does so well. It’s not perfect, because of the standby issue, but I do tend to be more worrisome than the average consumer. So, if you’re looking for a good way to save yourself the headache of having to delete and reinstall games, the My Passport X is well worth looking into. It’s a bit more expensive than some standard external hard drives, coming in at about $100 USD and $130 CAD, but it’s comparable to the other drives I’ve looked at and is definitely a solid piece of hardware.
This review is based on a product that we were provided with. We were provided with the 2TB model, although larger ones also seem to be available.