Australian Capital Territory
10 Feb 2017
Last week I hinted that there was something in the air, a new piece of tech I need on the road.
My Macbook is always stuffed. With stuff like programs and documents and photographs and emails. And well, stuff.
When I’m on the road, I’m usually taking hundreds of photographs, processing some, and storing the rest. My onboard hard drive won’t take them all, and while I can bring along a pocket USB drive, that ties up a USB port and when I get home I have to find some way of synching two photo libraries together.
My last trip, I thought I could fit everything onto my camera SD cards, but it turned out that I couldn’t, I was forced to spend time working out what images I could safely delete, and it was a few days before I could find a shop selling SD cards. (And you try finding an electronics shop on the streets of Tehran, not speaking the language, and dealing with a thick wad of unfamiliar currency.)
I could bring along my chunky home storage, but it’s a big brute, heavy, needing its own power supply. More weight. More space.
So I’ve had my eyes open for something small, wireless, enough room to hold all my photos.
I spotted something last week. A Western Digital Wireless Pro portable hard drive.
- No power or USB cords needed to work.
- Three terabytes of storage. Small and light enough to slip into a pocket or pouch.
- Pricey – $360 at Costco – but it will do the job, and it will provide backup storage for my photo collection.
- It connects via wifi, either via a network, or directly through a computer/tablet/phone, or via a USB cable (the fastest option).
- It has an SD card slot, allowing direct transfer of images.
- It has a battery promising ten hours of use.
- It can act as a power bank, recharging (say) a phone.
- It can be a wireless hotspot, sharing an internet connection.
- The onboard controls allow some basic functions but for full operation, an app may be downloaded.
For me, the big attraction is that I can travel with my existing photo library stretching back several years, I can add photo files on the go without filling up my memory cards, and I won’t need more bloody cables to fiddle about with.
On that note, it comes with a chunky USB power supply and two extra travel adaptors, for British and Australian outlets. I’ll leave them at home; my number one piece of travel kit is a powerboard with two built-in USB outlets.
I’ve tested it and it works well. A few minor quibbles:
- The USB cord uses a non-standard socket on the drive end.
- It doesn’t handle RAW images well.
- The included software requires an account to some Western Digital cloud storage service.
- The plastic exterior looks like it could get scratched and scuffed easily. I’ve sent away for a proprietary hard case, but that’s more expense and bulk I don’t really want.
On the whole, though, it’s going to be a huge help and stress reducer on the road. Now, don’t tell me there’s another product I could have bought that’s smaller, faster and cheaper!