Yes you can ignore the cloud back up option, and they're pretty reliable.
Of course, as with all things there will be some bad ones. So, you might get unlucky, but generally WD is pretty solid stuff.
I've used WD externals, and they've been great. I currently have a LaCie external, it's also great (and faster), as well as a pair of budget/no name drives.
The only difference so far has been transfer speed. They've all been reliable.