REVIEW: WD My Book Studio

Founded in 1970, WD (a Western Digital brand) is one of the storage industry’s pioneers and produces reliable, high-performance hard drives and solid state drives designed to keep users’ data accessible and secure from loss. Its technologies can actually be found in applications for client and enterprise computing, embedded systems and consumer electronics, as well as its own consumer storage and home entertainment products.

The My Book Studio is the company’s latest desktop product and is an external hard disk drive available in a range of capacities up to a whopping 3TB. The approximate MSRP’s for a My Book Studio with 1TB is £120; My Book Studio with 2TB is £153; My Book Studio with 3TB is £205.

Features

The most distinguishable feature of the My Book Studio is its compact size. Regardless of which capacity a user opts for (1-, 2-, or 3TB), the external drive measures 48 x 135 x 165mm―an accommodating size regardless of available desk space. The My Book Studio’s next discernable feature is its fantastic build quality. Sporting a brushed aluminium casing to match the appearance of a recent Mac computer, the My Book Studio radiates build quality.

And it’s not just superficial, either―the robust aluminium exterior, combined with its non-removable WD Caviar Green drive, eliminates the need for an internal fan to reduce drive noise and extend the life of the drive. Seriously, users won’t even know the My Book Studio is operating until the extremely subtle LED on the front of unit starts flashing.

The My Book Studio includes most of the features favoured by creative professionals and Mac users, including Firewire 800/400 and USB 2.0 interfaces (USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt are noticeably absent), user-controlled automatic backup software and drive management, password protection and hardware encryption. Sadly, none of these features are available immediately for Windows users―the utilities are pre-installed on the My Book Studio, which has to be reformatted for Windows machines and the software re-installed from WD’s Web site.

This is a real pig. Unlike Windows-formatted hard drives that are accessible immediately upon connecting to a computer, the My Book Studio has to be configured manually. This requires the user to format the hard drive manually. Windows 7 includes a built-in utility known as Disk Management―and WD has an excellent support Web site with lots of documentation on the process―but it’s still a technical process that will deter most end users.

Summary

The My Book Studio is designed ideally for videographers, photographers, video editors and other graphic professionals using the latest generation Apple Macs. That’s not to say Windows users looking for a sleek external drive are excluded, it’s just that WD charges a premium for the aluminium design. And as it’s formatted for Macs, there’s the added inconvenience of configuring the drive.

The MyBook Studio doesn’t have a display showing free space, either, and we’re disappointed WD hasn’t catered for the latest generation of laptops with Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 ports. Equally disappointing is the lack of a dedicated on/off switch. But the My Book Studio is an attractive drive that runs cool and quiet. Mac users looking for a little luxury should take a closer look but Windows users can get more for their money elsewhere.

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