Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Western Digital My Passport Ultra 2TB review: Your reliable portable storage

Western Digital would always be known for their hard drives and portable storages, and the successful My Passport line continues to prove it. And luckily, we got our hands on the new WD My Passport Ultra with 2TB capacity and it is here in our lair for a review. We have covered it in an article here before and finally we had an opportunity to meet it up close and personally. Here's how it looks like:

The WD My Passport Ultra comes with a USB 3.0 cord, a pouch, and a quick installation guide.

The WD My Passport Ultra is made out mostly of plastic, with a matte finish adorned with bezels on the side and WD's logo and the product name on the top. The build is good and there’s no creaking when I tried to bend it a little.
The USB port and the LED notification light could be found on the left side.

I also brought it with me at work and it didn’t incur any scratches and still looks good as new.

What I liked about it physically is that it is smaller, slimmer, and lighter compared to other portable storage devices out there, considering that it has a very high storage capacity. Just then I realized I'm holding a device with a capacity that is 4 times larger than my laptop’s hard drive!

Here’s a roundup of the specifications and features of the Western Digital My Passport Ultra:

  • Interface: USB 3.0 and USB 2.0
  • Serial Transfer Rate
    • USB 3.0
      •     Serial Bus Transfer Rate – 5GB/s MAX
  • Temperature
    • Operating: 41°F to 95°F/5°C to 35°C
    • Non-operating: -4°F to 149°F/-20°C to 65°C

Ultra-fast transfer rates – if you have a USB 3.0 port on your laptop or PC, you could enjoy the blazing speed (three times faster compared to USB 2.0 port), the WD My Passport Ultra can offer. But factors such as your hardware and system configuration of course could affect its performance.

Automatic continuous back-up software – WD My Passport Ultra comes with WD SmartWare Pro (I think you need to pay for this software). You could choose from instant backup or scheduled backup for your files.

Local and cloud backup – the WD SmartWare Pro lets you choose whether you will use your My Passport Ultra, or the Dropbox storage (needs a Dropbox account).

Works great with Windows 8 – I don't have a Windows 8 PC or laptop but it “makes it easy to discover the digital media stored on your My Passport Ultra drive with your Windows 8 computer. Your content is automatically displayed and organized so you can easily locate and enjoy your photos, videos, and music. “

Ultra sleek design with high capacity – At 12.8 mm, this portable storage device is one device you could bring anywhere, and it's four times larger the capacity of my laptop's hard drive! :)

USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 compatibility – With a USB 3.0 port you can enjoy the full speed the My Passport Ultra, and yes, it is backward compatible with USB 2.0 ports so no worries for users who still have this ports, including me.

WD Security Software – with this software that comes with this device, you can set up a password and encrypt hardware so that no one wthout your permission could access it.

WD Drive Utilities Software - Register your drive, set the drive sleep timer, run
diagnostics, and more using the WD Drive Utilities software

Durable enclosure protects the drive inside – Western Digital really did great on the build of this device. I can say that it's really durable, no creaking whatsoever, and it looks nice!

USB-powered – no need for external power source. Just plug it into the USB port and you're good to go!


No review is complete without a benchmark so here's one from CrystalDiskMark:

For those who are not familiar to CrystalDiskMark, it's a benchmarking tool for measuring the transfer speed, i.e., how fast it reads and writes files. Judging the results above (on a USB 2.0 port), its speed is pretty average but  fast enough for such port.

Unfortunately. I don't have USB 3.0 port out there to test its full speed but I'm sure majority still has a USB 2.0 port. So I tried copying a movie (more than 1GB in size) in it and guess what, it only took me less than a minute to copy it!! (exactly 48 seconds) Peak speed is at 48 MB/S but goes down till 30MB/S.

Once again I tried to copy a larger file, a folder with 16 videos in it (total size of 16GB) and it never failed to impress me as it has copied it in 12 minutes and 30 seconds! Peak speed reached is at 73.7MB/S. Of course, if you have a USB 3.0 port in your PC or laptop, expect a much better writing speed.

Slowdowns also occur when you try to write and copy files at once.

But as stated above in the features, your hardware still affects the speed and performance of the device.
And also, it performs very quietly that you won’t hear that spinning sound. It does warms up after some use.


There goes our review of the Western Digital My Passport Ultra, an excellent choice for people who want a large backup storage for their important data, without having to compromise performance and value. Talking about real portability, this device has it all: small, light and fast. With the WD My Ultra, you can get the best of both worlds, either on a USB 3.0 port or a USB 2.0. Although performance may not that be consistent at all times but overall it's an impressive yet affordable  and reliable portable storage.

impressive reading and writing speed
fast USB 3.0
USB 2,0 compatibility
cloud backup
bundled utility software
light, small yet compact

Slowdowns on multiple operations

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The Western Digital My Passport Ultra is available at Villman for PHP 7,488 for the 2TB version and PHP 4,488 for the 1TB capacity. Colors are at black, blue, red, and silver.