Western Digital Elements Desktop 2TB USB 2.0

Western Digital Elements Desktop 2TB USB 2.0

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    • NSW
    • Western Digital WDBAAU0020HBK-AESN

    • $115.00
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  • Shopbot Review
  • 4.1 / 5
    • The good:
      2TB storage, basic power management feature, great value for money
    • The bad:
      no visual indicator of available space, no cooling mechanism

    Western Digital's 2TB Elements Desktop USB 2.0 drive is a cost-efficient, straightforward alternative to more sophisticated external drives. It's not the best, but certainly not the worst in the industry, and most importantly, it'll get the job done without the unnecessary fuss.


    The drive's enclosure already sets expectations. It's a simple, black, rectangular box that sits horizontally on rubberized feet, so there's no question about stability. Its large frame can be bothersome and thankfully, the sides are flat and wide enough to serve as the base, instead; something that cannot be done with its Seagate counterpart, the Seagate Desktop Expansion Drive. A closer inspection will also show that the hard plastic casing is structurally sound. The USB and power cables (18 inches and 6 feet, respectively) are also long enough for desktop use. However, the most crucial thing it's missing is a cooling mechanism. There are no air vents or an internal fan to dissipate heat so it's not ideal for heavy use. Also, a visual indicator of the drive's remaining space would be a welcome addition.


    Unlike most WD drives, the Elements Desktop series don't come with the WD SmartWare interface. It requires no installation and is ideal for tech-savvy people who can set up a more efficient and reliable file management and backup system or simply those who do not have a taste for bundled softwares. It has a power management system, though, that switches it to sleep mode after a certain time of inactivity. It won't be setting records for read/write speeds nor is its real-world throughput close to the specified 480MBps maximum transfer rate. But running at 7200 rpm will definitely be enough for everyday file transfers. There's also no real difference in performance compared to its Seagate competitor, so the choice boils down to brand loyalty and fluctuations in retail price. There are 500GB to 3TB variants of the Elements Desktop USB 2.0 drive, and larger sizes can be expected to come out soon. This type of external drive won't disappear that easily as it focuses on the device's rudimentary purpose storage.