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WD Puts E-Labels on My Book Elite and Studio, Includes Dock With My Passport Elite Portable Drive

Illustration for article titled WD Puts E-Labels on My Book Elite and Studio, Includes Dock With My Passport Elite Portable Drive

Hard drives have become so generic and commoditized, manufacturers are always trying to draw attention to their products in new ways. WD's My Book desktop drives now get an ebook-like screen, while the portable My Passport Elite gets a dock.

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As cool as the e-labels concept is—soon to be found on My Book Elite (USB only, up to 2TB for $280) and My Book Studio (FW800 and USB, up to 2TB for $300)—I don't know how profound a single 12-character label on the face of such a massive drive can be. Then again, maybe you're supposed to buy them in identical pairs. The label, which, like the E-Ink found on Amazon's Kindle, stays visible when there's no power going to it, could in that case save you from embarrassment, possibly even job loss/misdemeanor charges/etc. Below the label is a status indicator—how many GB are left, plus a rough visual estimate.

The My Passport Elite line gets a visual refresh that first appeared in the less feature-bestowed Passport Essential. Slimmer and more rounded at the edges, the Elite line gets a metallic red, blue or charcoal finish and a dock—top price is $170 for a 640GB 2.5" USB 2.0 bus-powered drive. The dock thing makes sense in one particular situation: You have a laptop and a desktop that you regularly shuttle between. The Elites will show capacity status on an LED indicator, and will indicate encryption with a light-up key icon on the side, so you feel extra safe. Speaking of safe, all of the hard drives also come with 256-bit hardware encryption. [WD]

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DISCUSSION

I've been a big fan of WD's offerings lately, but this seems like a step backwards... If you're going to break up the clean lines of a MyBook, you need to use something pretty, and a segmented LCD display is not pretty.

Put an eInk or OLED matrix on there, and now you're talkin'. Oh, and make it thinner and longer, like an actual book spine.