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Western DigitalMy Book Elite 2TB review

Western DigitalMy Book Elite 2TB
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £140
inc VAT

The My Book Elite is surprisingly affordable for a 2TB USB2 disk, but at this price you may want to consider a USB3 disk if speed is important.


hard disk, USB2, 163x49x135mm

The Western Digital My Book Elite is remarkable for two reasons. Firstly, it has 2TB of storage for just £140. This equates to 7p per gigabyte, making it surprisingly good value. Secondly, it has a front-mounted always-on display.

The display shows how much storage capacity is available as well as a 14-character label of your choosing. The label is set using the bundled SmartWare program and you can also choose to have black text on a white background or vice versa. The 14-character limit is a little restrictive, but the display is surprisingly useful if you have lots of external hard disks dangling off your computer.

The SmartWare application also has several other functions. Once you’ve specified whether you’re using the Elite with a Mac or Windows PC, it will format your disk appropriately. The program also shows you a bar chart summarizing how much space various file types (documents, images, videos and so forth) occupy. It’s vaguely interesting but not especially useful.

More importantly, SmartWare can back up your files automatically in the background while you work. It only backs up those files which changed since your last backup, saving time, and it can protect them from prying eyes by encrypting them. It can also keep older versions of your files in case you need to revert back to them. You can’t use Windows Explorer to restore your files though – this has to be done using SmartWare.

Oddly, the Elite is faster at writing files than it is at reading them. Large files were written at 27.8MB/s while small files were written at 26.7MB/s. Large files were read at a comparatively sluggish 22.9MB/s while small files were read at just 17.1MB/s. It’s still more than fast enough for undemanding users, but we’d have preferred consistently fast performance.

If you need lots of storage at a low price and performance isn’t an overriding concern, then the 2TB My Book Elite is a great choice. If you need a fast disk, though, Western Digital’s own 2TB USB3 My Book only costs a few pounds more and is dramatically faster at copying files, so carefully consider how you’ll use your desktop storage before purchasing.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****


Interface USB2
Weight 992g
Size 163x49x135mm

Buying Information

Price £140
Warranty three years RTB

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