Western Digital My Passport Ultra review

Is this the ultimate external hard drive from Western Digital?

Western Digital My Passport Ultra
Could this be the ultimate USB drive?

TechRadar Verdict


  • +

    Fast High capacity Nice design Portable


  • -

    Plastic case not as sturdy as other hard drives

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Western Digital continues to impress us with its 'My Passport' range of external hard drives, with the Western Digital My Passport Essential being a very good all-rounder and the recently released Western Digital My Passport Slim being an excellent slim and portable device with fantastic read and write speeds.

The Western Digital My Passport Ultra has some tough acts to follow, then, with the 'Ultra' part of the name being a particularly bold statement. Can it deliver?

The body of the Western Digital My Passport Ultra is small, light and nicely designed. It's slightly larger and heavier than the My Passport Slim, but also a bit smaller than the My Passport Essential. It lacks the sturdy design of the My Passport Slim, trading the metal case of the smaller hard drive for an all-plastic body. It's certainly not flimsy or cheap-feeling, but we much prefer the feel of the Slim's body, which also gives the drive a bit more protection.

The Western Digital My Passport Ultra also comes with a cloth bag that can be used to carry the drive around in. As with other Western Digital external hard drives there are a number of programs that come included with the hard drive that you can click on to install on your PC.

SmartWare Pro

The WD SmartWare Pro software helps you configure the Western Digital My Passport Ultra to automatically back up all of your important files and folders. It can also be set to back up your files to Dropbox as well, which is a nice, though not particularly helpful, feature – especially if you only have the free 2GB Dropbox account.

The Western Digital My Passport Ultra is USB 3.0 compatible, and in our benchmark tests it managed 115.2MB/s read and 115MB/s write speeds, both very good, though slightly slower than the My Passport Slim's 120.9MB/s read and 120.8 MB/s write speeds.

However, in our real-world tests we copied over a 1GB file in just 9.5 seconds, a whole half a second quicker than the My Passport Slim. Whilst we tested the 1TB version, which offers more than enough space for most people, there is also a 2TB version which is especially useful for people with large photo and video collections – especially considering the fast transfer speeds.

Final verdict

So is the Western Digital My Passport Ultra the ultimate external hard drive? Not really. Its speeds are around the same as the Western Digital My Passport Slim – which of course is no bad thing – but because of the Slim's sturdy and small case, we much prefer it to the Western Digital My Passport Ultra.

It's by no means a bad external hard drive, however, and it's a testament to the quality of Western Digital's external hard drives that even if the My Passport Ultra isn't its best, it's still a damn good external hard drive anyway.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.