Western Digital Drives Get Industrial Design Refresh


A hard drive is a hard drive, unless it gets a makeover from a French industrial designer, in which case it becomes an expensive work of art that just happens to store data. It’s a strategy that LaCie has been pursuing since the 1990s, and now Western Digital is doing it, too.

The new My Passport and My Book drives will come in six bright colors chosen by the designer and brand strategist Yves Béhar (Okay, he’s Swiss, not French). The My Passport portable drives range from $80 for 1TB to $140 for 4TB. Meanwhile, the My Book desktop drives start at 3TB for $129 and top out at 8TB for $249.

1476263268-9653-519294-my-passportThe color options complement the drive’s split exterior: the top of the enclosure is smooth plastic, while the bottom has ridges. The desktop and portable versions look nearly identical, except that the My Book is about an inch thicker.

“We’re on the verge of a serious digital evolution where data is being recognized as more than just a commodity,” Béhar said in a statement, explaining that the design tweaks are supposed to make Western Digital hard drives more “personal.”

All of the drives feature password protection with 256-bit AES hardware encryption. Automatic backups can be set up with the included WD Backup software. The company will also offer a dedicated Mac version of the My Passport, which is only available in black and comes pre-formatted for macOS and Time Machine backups.

LaCie’s design-forward drives command a hefty price premium over workaday models made by its parent company, Seagate. The My Passport and My Book, meanwhile, aren’t too much more expensive than the more plain-looking drives they replace. Amazon is selling the current 1TB My Passport Ultra for $59.

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