WD My Passport Ultra portable hard drive

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

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
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.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?