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Transcend StoreJet 25D3


  • Capacity: 750 GB
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Dimensions: 82.1 x 17.3 x 129.9 mm
  • Weight: 191 g

This HDD is a plain black box with a gold-painted product name and manufacturer logo. Transcend claims that this model's case is shock-resistant thanks to a shock-absorbing pad the HDD proper is wrapped into.

The downside of this model is that it is recommended to be used with an additional USB power cable. It is not handy to connect two cables instead of just one. Although we didn't observe any problems when this HDD was connected with one USB cable only (and there were no difference in performance, either), we followed the manufacturer's recommendation and used the additional power cable during our tests.

This HDD comes with a soft pouch made of artificial suede.

Transcend StoreJet 25M3


  • Capacity: 750 GB
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Dimensions: 82.4 x 20.4 x 126.3 mm
  • Weight: 206 g

The second Transcend product in this review is far more attractive thanks to its matte rubber pouch with green edging. It's not so easy to pull the pouch off the HDD, but we don't think you’ll need to do that anyway.

The manufacturer claims that this HDD complies with USA military standards in terms of protection. Every sample has passed a drop test.

The StoreJet 25M3 has an automatic backup button that can be used after installing the Transcend Elite tool which also supports encryption.

This model has the same downside as the above-discussed StoreJet 25D3. It needs a second USB cable for additional power supply.

If we were to choose the best external HDD in terms of exterior design and protection, the Transcend StoreJet 25M3 would be our favorite, but we are yet to see how fast it is.

Western Digital My Passport Essential SE


  • Capacity: 750 GB
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Dimensions: 83 x 18 x 110 mm
  • Weight: 205 g

This model is smaller than the other products in this review. Its width and height are comparable to those of the other HDDs but its length is much smaller. Despite the compact dimensions, it is surprisingly heavy.

Rather surprisingly too, Western Digital talks about a threefold advantage of USB 3.0 over 2.0 in terms of data-transfer rate whereas the other manufacturers claim that the newer version is 10 times as fast as the older one. Well, Western Digital is quite right here because, even though the theoretical bandwidth of the two USB versions indeed differs by a factor of ten, today’s HDDs just cannot utilize the USB 3.0 bandwidth to the full extent.

When we connected this HDD to our testbed, we found that one driver was missing. The WD SES driver (its distribution file can be found on the HDD itself) serves to implement password-based protection and some other features and its presence does not affect the product’s speed. However, it is rather annoying to get the missing driver message, especially as you can only get rid of it by installing the SES driver even if you don’t really need it (and you have to do so on each computer you regularly connect your Essential SE to).

The Western Digital drive comes with the fewest accessories of all the products in this review. There is nothing inside its package save for the HDD and a USB 3.0 cable.

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