Last year, Western Digital celebrated their 10th anniversary and released a range of My Passport portable harddrives. The range also included the My Passport Ultra, the 7th generation of the model. This alone is a good indicator of a tried and tested formula, as the units have been on the market for quite some time. The latest iteration has some tweaks over its predecessor, which also included a version released specifically for Mac users.
We received a 2TB unit for review courtesy of Western Digital and put it through its paces.
Build and Design
In terms of the build and design, WD hasn’t broken the mould on this one, but stuck with their established look on the My Passport Ultra for the most part. The new version is a bit more streamlined, though, lighter and thinner. This means that the new design measures 110×20.96×81.6mm and weighs 230g for the 2TB version (max 3TB capacity). The units with less capacity are slightly thinner and lighter.
The drive is designed for durability, shock tolerance and reliability, but also has a fun side to it. The unit is available in a multitude of colours, which includes Classic Black, Brilliant White, Wild Berry and Noble Blue, as marketed by WD.
The build and design has been slightly tweaked, and so has its internals. The performance yields aren’t superbly great, but it does show improvement. The previous My Passport Ultra had average sequential read and write speeds of 100MB/s and 101MB/s, respectively, while the new version has improved this to 109MB/s and 108MB/s, respectively. When testing the random transfer speeds, the My Passport Ultra had an increased 1MB/s of read and write speeds at 74MB/s and 73MB/s, respectively.
So far, the My Passport Ultra is a slight improvement over previous versions, but not worth an entire new release as it stands. But that isn’t where the story ends, however. WD managed to pack more into the USB 3.0 drive in terms of the included, or downloaded, software and interfacing. The downloadable software includes WD Utilities, WD Backup, and WD Security. The included software includes a setup installer, which allows you to install the bundled software.
WD Drive Utilities allows users to run scans on their drives for any issues and troubleshooting, Quick Drive checks performance issues, and Complete Drive Test detects bad sectors. There are also a few non-essentials such as the Sleep Timer, allowing users to set when the drive enters sleep mode to conserve power, and reduce the wear and tear. Drive Erase provides the ability to erase all content on the drive, including the zero wipe to completely remove erased files. Users also have the ability to set passwords for drive protection. The smart unlock feature allows specific Windows account to unlock the drive directly, without retyping the password each time.
The new generation WD My Passport Ultra portable HDD ticks all the boxes, some only just. Improvements overall over the previous version are only slight, but across the board makes it noticeable. Smaller and lighter frame, and quicker transfer speeds. There’s nothing bad about that.
The unit also has a good amount of software for advanced users, which may not always catch the fancy of your everyday buyer, looking for the best price for the most storage capacity possible. These included software often gets overlooked as such, but do add great value. Automatic backups and cloud storage are also options worth viewing if you’re concerned about data integrity, which also comes free with your purchase. This all makes for a really solid buy.