I've been using Western Digital hard drives since 1998 when my Dell Celeron's hard drive crashed (it was a maxtor). As far as hard drives are concerned, i've taken all different types apart, and the WD hard drives are the only ones that don't have cheap looking and feeling internal parts. Everything inside a WD is either metal or high-impact polycarbonate. None of this wussy plastic. Working in technical support st school, I have a lot of colelge students that come in with broken hard drives, and hard drives that they spilled things on (we're college students, we do some stupid stuff). Obviously most of the broken hard drives are internal hard drives, but the hardware for the WD internal hard drives is the same as the WD external passports. All hard drives will eventuially fail DFT (drive fitness test) meaning that they will no longer function properly. The difference between WD and maxtor and seagate and others, is that on western digitals, when they fail, they won't load the operating system, but when you plug them in, they'll still spin and you can get your personal data off of them. I've never seen a WD fail bad enough to lose all of a person's data. That, and they have great transfer speeds.
The only problem i've found with the passoport external hard drives is that they require a lot of power. Since there's no external power, they draw their power from the USB port. If you have a USB hub with no external power, and other USB devices are using the same hub, you may want to plug your passport directly into the computer, instead of into the hub.