on 6 August 2014
This HDD has many possible uses, but this review is from the standpoint of using it as external storage on the XBOX ONE console.
After being thoroughly fed-up with having to manage the ludicrously-small internal drive of my XBOX ONE, the June 2014 system update that included the option to add external storage was extremely welcome. So, I decided to treat myself to an external HDD, and after a bit of research, decided on this offering from Western Digital.
Setting-up was very easy. Once connected, the unit was immediately recognised by the console and formatting it for use took just a few seconds. A word of warning about this though - I have read that once the HDD has been configured as an XBOX ONE device, it will no longer be usable on a computer, TV etc. Presumably, this is an anti-piracy measure or to prevent hackers & modders accessing game data and save files etc.
If, like me, you solely intend to use it as extra storage for a games console, and nothing else, then this is not a problem, but I figured it was worth mentioning in case potential buyers would expect to find multiple uses for the drive.
Design-wise, the case is visually appealing and more interesting than a generic box shape. Actually, with it's curved front and the position of the LED, it's quite reminiscent of the original model XBOX 360 when stood vertically, just on a smaller scale.
Functionality is excellent - Copying, moving and deleting games to and from the drive is nice and quick and the device is very quiet and will enter a stand-by mode (which is silent) when the console is switched off.
Along with increasing available storage space, the HDD will also significantly reduce loading times of any games installed. I've seen conflicting information regarding the spin speed of this model, whether it's 5400 or 7200rpm, but regardless, games do load faster than they do when installed on the internal 500GB drive. This is especially noticeable on laborious titles such as Forza Motorsport 5 and Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Overall, I've been delighted with my purchase so far and would highly recommend it to anyone else in the market for additional storage for their XBOX ONE.
I got this hard drive to use with an Xbox One. The XB1's 500GB internal drive may sound quite capacious, but it fills up surprisingly quickly, especially when the basic installations of some games (such as Wolfenstein: The New Order) take up almost 45GB on their own. There's also a theoretical speed boost to be gained from using an external drive - the XB1's internal SATA II drive is limited to 3Gb/s, while USB 3.0 maxes out at 5Gb/s - though the gain is minimal in reality, especially when using a relatively inexpensive hard drive such as this one. Loading times may be marginally reduced, though you'd be hard pushed to put exact numbers on the reductions.
What you do get with WD's Elements is large capacity for all those games you'll be buying in the future, great build quality, flawless operation, and a look that goes very well with the Xbox One. Though the drive is more rounded than the XB1, the top of it sports vents that look very similar to the vents on the right-hand side of the console. Also like the console, the LED on the front of the drive is white (a more bluish shade of white, though it's really splitting hairs).
The final point in this hard drive's favour is its noise level. It's very quiet. In fact, when used with an Xbox One it doesn't seem to add any extra noise at all - or, at least, the noise it produces simply blends in with that of the console. If you're looking for an external hard drive to expand the capacity of your Xbox One, then you can't really go wrong with this one.
on 4 July 2014
Opted for Free Delivery.... Ordered Monday - Dispatched Tuesday - Arrived Wednesday, you just can't beat that.
Only had it a couple of days but I can't see any problems so far. Just plugged the USB3 cable in, powered it up, was immediately recognised by my Win7 machine and I was backing up my files in a matter of minutes.
Leave it switched on and it comes on when you start windows and powers down when you close down windows.
It's whisper quiet and very cool, if it wasn't for the power light (which is only the size of a pin head) you wouldn't know it was on.
It's been more than a year since I purchased two of these, one meant for backup, the second simply as an overflow storage of non-essential things, such as installed computer games, virtual instrument sample libraries etc - all things I don't need to back up that I can re-download from Steam or Native Instruments or wherever I have purchased it when I need it in the future.
The reason I have waited a year to write a review is of course that it takes a while before you can say anything about hard drive reliability. If it doesn't work out of the box, it is a case for returns, not for reviews, but after a year or two, one can at least begin to make assumptions about how well the disk handles being used.
I just realised that most hard drives I've ever owned have been Western Digital, and I have yet to experience any drive failures before I have retired the drives upon upgrading to larger-capacity ones, faster ones, or to new computers. My pair of 3TB external drives have behaved very well. They connect fine to USB 3.0, they are fast to show up as available when going from disconnected to connected, and access to data seems fast enough that I have never noticed I was using an external drive when using music sample data or games from it.
I know some other review have commented on the lack of an on/off button. I'd have preferred having one too, but I don't find it a major issue. I have one constantly connected and one offline that I connect every now and again for backup of irreplaceable files. If I need to disconnect one, I just eject (or sometimes I don't bother doing that either as I've had no issues hot-disconnecting before - as long as you make sure nothing is being written to the drive when you do) and unplug it.
The drive came in a solid packaging, almost a bit on the big side, but I'd rather see a hard drive well protected from bumps in transport than to receive a potentially damaged one. The cabinet seems solid enough, though I never put this to the test, and it seems to retain a decently cool temperature even when working constantly several hours at a time.
Drives can and do fail, of course. Eventually. But at least I've never felt the need to worry about it when I've been using these, and I will probably get WD Elements again several years from now when I need to change my backup drive.
In short, I have seen nothing to keep me from recommending Western Digital external drives to anyone in the market for one, hoping that your experience will be the same as mine.
on 10 December 2015
I hope I'm not going to downvote my own 5-stars if / when the drive goes dead, but for now:
I have already got a good 4TB drive (Touro). By "good" I mean - it's worked for a year now, so hopefully, it won't die on me soon. I needed another one, and as the touro is gone or overpriced, I was tossed between the 5GB Seagate and 4TB WG (Seagate is currently, 10/12/2015 GBP 90 at amazon, and I found this WD 4TB elsewhere for 100 GBP). I know that all drive can, on relatively rare occassions, die, which is a concern for most people, who DON'T buy them in twos for backup, and when you lose your data... oh boy. So, the guarantee itself is pretty useless, because when it dies, at best you get a REPLACEMENT, never your old data. For data recovery you can use any free or paid-for software, or pay a specialist company an eye-watering bill (GBP 800 plus).
To the point: I have had both seagate and western digital (internal) drives die on me in the past, but it appears that WD is somewhat more reliable, judging by the reviews in various shops. That said, it could be that, as WD are generally more expensive, there are fewer reviewers, thus lower fail rate. In any case, those rare reviews of seagate 5TB with a simple message: drive died on me after x weeks, all data lost, I'm gutted" swayed me to go for WD. Fingers crossed.
On the drive itself:
1. it comes with a long enough (I'd say about 2 m long) power plug, with a lightweight plug, and with a longish (I'd say about 1.5 m) MICRO usb 3 cable (my previous 4TB hdd came with a regular USB 3 cable, which is chunkier.
2. it comes with a POWER button at the back panel, which is a bonus, as I have always found lack of such power button extremely irritating - and it seems standard on most, if not all external hdd these days, so a big thumbs up for that!
3. it is relatively quiet, you can hear it, but it's not annoying (yet)
4. it comes with a very small while led which flashes when drive is being accessed / data moved. In a couple of portable usb 3 drives I saw such icon flash white for usb2 connection, and flash blue for usb 3 connection, not here, but not really an issue.
5. speed is, as mentioned, 7200 rpm, rather than 5400 rpm. Transfer-wise, this depends not only on drive itself, but also whether it copies from / to ssd or hdd, and what size the files copied are. I'm just transferring about 1.7 GB of various data from one usb 3 drive to another, both via usb 3 port, and the speed is paltry - 18 MB/s, HOWEVER, this is for very small, e-mail files (.emls). Earlier on the rate for large tif files (up to 1.2 GB each) the speed was around 78 MB/s, which is not bad (forget about the nonsene of up to 400 MB/s for usb 3, it's lies)
6. elsewhere in the comments somebody suggested this drive is good as NAS. If this is the case, on top of the power button, it'd be worth spending a tenner extra and I'd be willing to consider to buy another one for NAS purposes. If the one I bought doesn't fail unexpectadly, that is ;)
Update: as Amazon's bundling together ALL capacities of the same product line, the extra comments refer to:
1 x (new) 5TB variant
1 x (new) 4TB variant
which I have purchased AFTER buying the 1st 4TB unit.
both new ones work fine as well, although I've noticed that the price's been creeping up since beginning of summer 2016 to the point that the 5Tb now costs around GBP 150 - 160, and for GBP160 you can get a 6TB MyBook Unit, supposedly also better hdd inside.
For value for money, I'd recommend 5TB Toshiba, currently (mid-Sept. 2016), available in many shops for GBP105.
on 12 November 2014
These drives aren't glamorous - we buy them to do an important job reliably and with a minimum of technical frustration. I got mine yesterday and was looking forward to a plug and play implementation on my win 7 64-bit pc. The absence of instructions with the drive seem to support this notion. But that is not what you get. After hours of research yesterday I now understand that the drive is not set up on delivery to work with win 7 using Microsoft backup. When I tried to do this the process ran for three hours and then failed, giving an I/O error message. You will need to download a format utility from WD and reformat the disk to 'factory default' before it will work. WD's reason for delivering the disk this way seems to be to ensure compatibility with older operating systems like XP - but I would have thought a substantial majority of today's users will be using current operating systems. Be warned - and make this change first so as not to waste your time. Subject to this irritation, the drive was well-priced and seems reasonably quiet.
on 23 August 2016
I had this drive for nearly 6 month now and initally loved it. It worked perfectly with iMac - going to sleep and waking up as required and was very fast.
Then recently it started to have problems until it stopped working altogether. I could not figure out what has failed the disk or the controller and in attempt to salvage the data took the disk out of the enclosure. In the end I managed to revive the disk (the problem is with the disk starting to fail when it heats up) but what I have discovered that the standalone drive is not usable. Basically unless I put it back into WD Elements enclosure no data on the drive is recognised when used in external USB 3 caddy (that works perfectly with other drives). Reading up on it I believe this is the the well known WD hidden encryption that gets applied to the drive by all their hardware.
Effectively it means that if the enclosure fails you will not be able to recover any data from WD Elements drive. This is quite contrary to what their spec says (and that is that WD Elements have no encryption). Giving it the one star because of that and getting rid of this drive in favour of something else.
on 4 October 2015
Can't fault the product. I've had a couple of these in the past and other WD elements and never had a problem.
The listing is misleading though. The title says 3TB and twice again in the description, however when you scroll down to the technical description it says 2TB and then even further down the page it says in the box is a 2TB. Having bought these drives before I didn't bother reading the full listing so having seen it was a 3TB 3 times at the top of the page that's what I thought I was buying but a 2TB was delivered. The price for a 3TB was very good but not so much for a 2TB but I needed the storage so kept it anyway.
To say the item came from Italy it was delivered pretty quickly and came 2 days ahead of schedule.
on 15 June 2014
Well, I bought this to add to my already 3Tb MyCloud NAS drive, and what can I say other than, it's quick and works across all Operating Systems, that includes Linux, as I run this one as my main system. I copied all of my audio and video files from my ageing Maxtor 500Gb USB 2.0 External to this, and connected it straight to the back of the MyCloud, and was amazed by the speed. Read and Write speeds are max'ed out across the Network, and streaming HD 1080p video works flawlessly. I recommend this drive for either as an add on for the MyCloud NAS drive, or just as a standalone.
on 8 January 2015
I am running Windows 7. My drivers are up to date and so is Windows...I have rung WD and downloaded drivers and useless software after talking to customer support. Even he was not sure of what to do..BUT MY COMPUTER WILL NOT RECOGNISE THIS HARDWARE..i have gone down many avenues, I see from other reviewers that this is not uncommon with Windows 7 ..I also have a Maxtor drive on another computer and that was no problem, as software was included..I have no option but to return this hard drive as unusable..I have spent a whole day trying to solve this problem which I have never experienced before.and I am pretty computer savvy having built a computer from scratch.