I love Plex. Do not get me confused: I do not like Plex. I love it. Originally a split from XBMC (now Kodi), Plex has fulfilled the original XBMC image of giving you the ability to access your (legally purchased, of course) content anywhere. It’s honestly easier for me to list the platforms that cannot access Plex than the ones that can. I love how Plex serves my music and my videos, and unlike iTunes I don’t have to worry about missing music. I personally have a PlexPass account and unlimited data on my cell plan, giving me total access. But what if I didn’t? How could I still take all my data with me and access over Plex?
Western Digital came up with a solution for that. They added Plex to their most recent My Passport wireless drive. You just connect via your WiFi enabled device, and there everything is. Sort of. In order to enable Plex, you first have to connect to a tool on a WD page, then install it. It’s a minor extra step. I would complain about it not being bundled, but I like that; because if I wasn’t a Plex user I would want to delete the extra files I did not need.
The MyPassport Wireless (MPW) Pro also has Twonky and DLNA support, two other streaming solutions, but I am a Plex guy, so I’m staying on topic. First a note of warning! This is a basic solution. The MPW will not transcode. In other words, if you want to watch this one something that only plays MP4s, don’t put a ton of MKV files on your Plex server. This is a solid portable data and media solution, and one small enough that I have forgotten I’ve had it on me. One cute feature that I liked is that the wireless option cuts out when you physically connect it to your laptop.
But why even bother with this? Why not just run a Plex server at home and connect via wireless? Because not everyone has unlimited data. Imagine that you’re on a road trip or camping. The kids are tired, cranky, and don’t want to play “I spy” for the 20th time. Just fire up your MyPassport Wireless and let them connect to it. With a little over 9 hours of battery life, that’s a solid distraction. Or maybe you’re invited to a party and want to bring a show or three? Just throw the MPW in your bag and go.
At $199 on the 2 TB model or $229 on the 3TB (the one I reviewed) on the MyPassport Wireless is not the cheapest solution, but it’s one that needs next to no puttering. Once you set it up, it’s done. That’s worth a lot to some people.
Note: Western Digital was kind enough to send me a MyPassport Wireless Pro. Which reminds me that I need to get an actual, real passport. Such a slacker.