WD My Passport Ultra portable hard drive

This slim, small USB 3.0 hard drive is quick and quiet

Western Digital My Passport Ultra
  • Western Digital My Passport Ultra
  • Western Digital My Passport Ultra
  • Western Digital My Passport Ultra
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Fast USB 3.0 transfer speeds
  • Bundled monitoring, backup, security software

Cons

  • Larger and more expensive than competing drives

Bottom Line

WD’s My Passport Ultra portable HDD is a surprisingly small device, easy to slip into a backpack, laptop bag, or jeans pocket.

Would you buy this?

The WD My Passport Ultra is the fastest portable hard drive that Western Digital makes. Despite this, it’s quite small and light, runs silently, and isn’t too expensive. If you’ve got a USB 3.0 computer and don’t mind paying a little more than other drives cost, the My Passport Ultra should keep you happy.

WD My Passport Ultra: Design, features, and setup

The WD My Passport Ultra looks very similar to the My Passport Edge from 2012, except it’s now available in red, blue, black and silver.

Our 1TB test drive is the larger of the two capacities currently available — the other is a slightly cheaper 500GB. There’s a 2TB model on the way in a few months. WD includes a soft protective pouch for carrying the drive and its USB cable around in.

Being a USB 3.0 drive, the My Passport Ultra uses the long, skinny USB 3.0 connector on one of its shorter edges. Apart from a power/status light, it’s the only feature on the otherwise buttonless, display-less drive.

WD bundles a 50cm-long cable with the Ultra; since it runs off USB bus power there’s no need for a secondary power adapter or Y-split USB cable.

The drive comes pre-formatted for Windows systems, and Mac OS X will also be able to access files but not write them without a simple re-format process. A PDF user’s manual — in 24 languages, no less — is on the drive, although we’re guessing that if you’ve managed to plug the drive in and get it working enough to be able to see the manual, you’re doing just fine already.

WD's Disk Utilities software, which lets you monitor the disk, run health tests, and set a sleep timer.
WD's Disk Utilities software, which lets you monitor the disk, run health tests, and set a sleep timer.

The My Passport Ultra comes pre-loaded with Western Digital’s SmartWare, Security and Disk Utilities programs, both for Windows and OS X — for disk monitoring, setting a user password, and automated backups.

These utilities are useful, don’t pop up unnecessarily, and are relatively lightweight to install and use. They’re nothing too exciting, but SmartWare’s automated backup process and Dropbox syncing might come in handy for some users.

WD My Passport Ultra: Performance

The Ultra performed well in our real-world and synthetic benchmarks — apart from solid-state drives, it’s the fastest USB 3.0 drive we’ve tried out.

We managed to hit USB 3.0 read and write speeds of 114MBps and 111MBps respectively, which is hugely fast for a relatively cheap and high-capacity storage device. USB 2.0 speeds, relevant if you’re only able to transfer to the drive using an older computer, are a middling 33MBps and 29MBps.

1TB, by Western Digital’s count, is enough to hold 200,000 photos, 76 hours of video, or 250,000 music tracks. Realistically this is more than enough space for the average user, unless you’ve got a particularly large downloaded movie or TV show library, in which case you should be looking at a desktop backup solution rather than a portable one.

WD My Passport Ultra: Conclusion

The My Passport Ultra is pretty fast for a spinning-disk portable drive, and it offers all the advantages of having such excessive storage capacity in the palm of your hand.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?