WD Elements Review – What the Smart Mac Would Choose in 2019

By Paul Gregory / October 28, 2019
WD Elements Review Title Image

MacTakeAwayData Rank – 8 stars out of 10

8 Out Of 10 Stars

When you’re tight on space in your Mac.

And you know you must get a back up sorted. 

But you’re short on cash. Is the WD Elements Portable external hard drive the smart choice for your Mac?

WD Elements Pros

WD Elements Cons

WD Elements Review Verdict

You’ll agree that the answer to that question is a resounding yes!

A fantastic hard drive. You find the 2TB WD Elements is the sweet spot. Plenty of capacity for your Time Machine backups or your movies. It’s a best seller and is great value for your money.

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. And at no extra cost to you this site earns a commissions through image links, Amazon button and text links should you buy.



WD Elements

Why not review the price on Amazon of the 2TB WD Elements Portable



YouTube Video of the WD Elements Portable Hard Drive

While you’re reviewing the WD Elements drive for your Mac why not take a look at it?

This quick to watch 42 second video will give you a taster for the Elements drive.

WD Elements Portable | Official Product Overview

Video Credit: WD


A WD Elements Review for You the Mac Owner

WD Elements Portable At a Glance Table

Drive Sizes 1TB and 2TB
Overall Size4.35 in by 3.2 in by 0.6 in
Weight0.29 lb.
Drive Sizes3TB, 4TB and 5TB
Overall Size4.4 in by 3.3 in by 0.83 in
Weight0.52 lb.

Not sure which size to choose? Why not take a look at my article that guides you through the steps to picking an external hard drive.

What is WD Elements?

It’s an entry level basic drive in the Western Digital range of external disk drives. It’s for you if you haven’t got the cash to splash on flashy drives.

When you’ve run out of space and need somewhere reliable to put your documents, photos and music. Or you just need a drive for backing up your Mac with Time Machine. 

You’ll find your WD Elements drive efficient and will get that all done for you. And would be the drive your Mac would choose.

WD Elements Features and Benefits Review for a Mac

WD Elements is NTFS Formatted

And this means for you as a Mac owner, if you just plug in this drive your Mac will view it as read only.

You’ll be able to use this drive on your Mac quickly and simply by formatting it.

It’s something you can do. You’ll find it quick and easy. But is a bit techie to do.

Put off by that? Don’t be.

You can find out how here.

Your other alternative is to look for a drive that is already in a format your Mac can read and write to. But then of course that will usually cost you more money. And you’ll loose out on using this great entry level drive.

Do you Need a Power Plug on the WD Elements?

No because you’ll find this WD Elements powered by its USB cable.

Fantastic, as it means there’s no extra cable for you to remember to carry about. No extra cable to put in your backpack or purse.

WD Elements Plugged In

WD Elements is USB 3.0

What does that mean?

USB is an international standard. It’s a standard that sets how your Mac and other computers talk to external storage. And this includes USB hard drives.

Your WD Elements drive is a USB 3.0 drive. And because the USB standard insists on backwards compatibility. You’ll be able to plug your WD Elements drive into your older Mac that has a USB 2.0 port. And your older Mac will be able to use the drive just the same. At USB 2.0 speed.

If you have a newer Mac

Mac books and IMac’s 2016 and later it will have a USB 3.1 or USB-C port on it.  This port is also known as a Thunderbolt port.

Again thanks to backward compatibility. Your newer Mac will be able to talk to your WD Elements drive. You’ll need to order either an adaptor cable or a plug adaptor for your Mac. Then your newer Mac will talk to your WD Elements portable drive at USB 3.0 speed.

These adaptor cables are easy to get on Amazon.  

I like to use these cables; (Commissions Earned)

  1. USB C to Micro B Cable, QCEs
  2. Apple USB-C to USB Adapter

If you’re thinking why don’t I go get a Thunderbolt drive for my new Mac? And of course you can. They are a lot faster than the Elements drive and come with a price tag to match.

But if you are into a lot of video editing. Or heavy editing of large photos then the Elements drive will be too slow for you.

You should then be looking at a Thunderbolt drive.

WD Elements Flat

If you want to know more about hooking up to your generation of Apple Mac then take a look at my article here. It takes a run through of the many generation of Mac and the connections available to them.

WD Elements Looks

Yes I know as a Mac owner you like your tech to look good.

The Elements portable drive is not going to turn heads. As a basic drive it’s pretty plain looking. Black plastic. Chamfered edges. No shiny plastic show up fingerprints.

There is nothing offer you offence.

In the 2019 update Western Digital changed the logo and writing on the drive to matt black.

Does it give the Elements hard drive a more sophisticated feel? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

You’ll find it handsome enough for what you want to do.

WD Elements Size and Weight

You’ll find it’s not the smallest drive on the market. But if you want decent capacity at a size that’ll fit in your hands. Then you have it here.

Your 1TB and 2TB capacity drives sizes are 4.35 in by 3.2 in by 0.6 in.

And weigh in at a shade under half a pound at 0.29 lb.

You’ll find it’ll tuck into a bag along side your Mac. And it won’t weigh down your backpack.

The 3TB, 4TB and 5TB capacity drives are a bit larger and heavier at 4.4 in by 3.3 in by 0.83 in.

You can still very easily pick up those larger capacity drives in your hands. And they’re a little over the half pound mark at 0.52 lb.

You’ll find the WD Elements’ convenient size makes it perfect for those of you who study. Or for you if you’re a work from home businessman or woman and you want a hard drive that is practical and handy.

Your WD Elements is Portable but don’t Drop

Yes, you’ll find your WD Elements Portable. And handy enough to take with you in your messenger bag or briefcase. Even in a large pocket.

But remember this drive has moving parts and is not a rugged drive.

Just as you wouldn’t drop your MacBook on the floor and expect it to be fine. You drop this Elements Portable drive and you’ll cause damage. And you could lose all you have on your drive.

Do think about buying a good protective carrying case when you buy this drive if you’re going to take it with you.

For this job I like these protective cases on Amazon: (Commissions Earned)

User Feedback on Your WD Elements Portable

You can feel secure because your WD Elements Portable has over 4,000 customer reviews on Amazon.

And most of those rate the Elements drive as Excellent to Very Good.

But take a look for yourself.

Click on this link to go through to the Amazon WD Elements sales page. You then can scroll down to bottom of the page where you’ll find the reviews. (Commissions Earned)

Use the radio buttons to select the latest reviews.

Western Digital Elements Review of Drive Speed

Taking a look at the 2TB drive the sequential read speed is 105 mb/second. Sequential write is the same.  On the 4k Random read speed the Elements drive comes in at 0.9 mb/s. About 30% faster than its 1TB buddy.

On the 4K Random write test it’s able to write at 2.45 mb/s. A little faster at 7% faster  than the 1TB drive.

For an entry level drive this is perfectly fine for copying files to and from the drive. Drag and dropping as well as for Time Machine backups.

WD Elements has no Frills

Your WD Elements drive has none of the frills you’ll see on the premium drives from Western Digital.

You’ll find no hardware password protection. Hardware drive encryption.

But do you need them?

And if your do … well you have a Mac.

Your Mac operating system will add password protection to your drive. As well as Mac encryption for your backup.  

As a Mac user you really have little to worry about from that point of view. So go ahead and buy this basic drive.

What is in the WD Elements Box?

  • You’ll find the WD Elements Portable hard drive
  • About a 12 inch USB 3.0 cable
  • The Quick Start Guide. You can take a look at the Quick Start Guide here.

The guide is very basic and only covers the minimum you’ll need.

Want to see a YouTube Video Unboxing the WD Elements Portable?

This quick 1 minute 50 second video shows you what is in the box.

Feel free to check it out.

WD 2TB Elements Portable External USB Hard Drive

Video Credit: Peter Von Panda

Your WD Elements Portable Warranty

You’ll buy your WD Elements external hard drive with 2 years limited warranty.

You’ll find it a reasonable length of warranty for this kind of portable drive and good value for money

Last Words

I hope you enjoyed reading my WD Elements Review.

Your WD Elements Portable drive may not be the most glamorous looking of external hard drives. When compared to your Mac, which is of course stylish and beautifully formed.

That said what the Elements Portable does it does well. Is it your smart choice for your Mac. Yes.

And is why Mac users have bought this drive in droves.

The WD Elements Portable is often considered along side the WD My Passport hard drive. If you’re looking at them both then have a look at my article.

You’ll find a side by side compare of the two hard drives.

Then see where the WD Elements features on our list of the Best External Hard Drives for Mac.

Other articles on the Site About your WD Elements external hard drive:

Format WD Elements for Mac. How? In 7 Quick Steps

WD Elements Partition Mac, 6 Steps to Partition Fast

Format WD Elements for Mac and PC Have your Drive for Both

Best External Hard Drive for Mac Photographers Free Up Space And