My Passport is synonymous with the Western Digital external hard drives and we have seen various flavours in this segment over the years. With the My Passport Ultra, WD has gone for a comparatively slimmer form factor in a range of colours and capacities. The Ultra goes from 500GB to 2TB. We would love to get our hands on the 2TB variant, but for now we have the 500GB one with us. The USP of the drive apart from the looks is the bundled software. But first, let’s take a look at its design and build quality.
Design and Build
Western Digital My Passport Ultra 500 GB
The WD My Passport Ultra measures 110mm x 81.6mm and is only 12.8mm thick and weighs only 135 grams. We got the gray-coloured drive with a subtle design on top. On the base you have four rubber feet which allows the drive to rest with easy grip on flat surfaces. It is quite compact and easily fits in your shirt and jeans’ pockets. Even though it has a plastic build material, the drive feels quite sturdy when held. The top portion does flex a tiny bit when pressure is applied, but nothing to cause worry.
Features and Utilities
The WD My Passport Ultra 500GB has a single USB 3.0 interface and it is USB powered
WD My Passport Ultra comes with a 500GB Hitachi drive inside the USB 3.0 casing which gives around 465.76GB of unformatted user-available space. The internal 2.5-inch drive is the WD5000LMVW which runs at a rotational speed of 5400RPM and has an 8MB of cache which is pretty standard for this segment. The drive is USB-powered and the box also bundles in a black-coloured pouch to carry the drive.
You enter your name and email ID to get the activation code to upgrade to SmartWare Pro to be able to backup to your Dropbox account
WD has bundled in some utilities in this drive which are divided into three main segments such as WD Drive Utilities, WD Security and WD SmartWare. Under the SmartWare utility you can backup data from your system to the WD Ultra or even to Dropbox. You will need to activate the Dropbox access via the activation code which you will be prompted to enter. You will have to register your email ID and the utility will get upgraded to SmartWare Pro which is a paid utility. You can even schedule backups or have category wise backups. WD Security allows you to password protect and encrypt your drive.
WD Drive Utilities lets you secure erase your drive, set timers to turn off the drive when not in use and so on.
The final utility named WD Drive Utilities, allows you to run diagnostic tests, set sleep timers for the drive when not in use and secure erasing of the drive.
Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K
Motherboard: ASRock Z87M Extreme4
RAM: 2 x 4GB GSkill RipjawsX
OS Drive: Intel SSD, 80GB
Source Drive: Kingston SSDNow, 120GB SSD
PSU: Cooler Master 800W Silent Pro Gold
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
We connected the WD My Passport Ultra to the native USB 3.0 port on the ASRock Z87 Extreme4 board. ATTO Benchmark was run using data sizes from 0.5KB to 8192KB with the total length being 256MB and we got scores such as 110MB/s for sequential reads and 109.12 MB/s for sequential writes. Crystal Disk Mark 3.0, the other popular synthetic benchmark for hard drives, also gave scores of 109 MB/s for sequential reads and 108.7 for sequential writes. The other scores can be seen in the table below.
Crystal Disk Mark 3 scores
For the real world performance test, we transferred a 10GB single RAR file and a 10GB assorted file to get real life sequential and random file transfer speeds. To simulate a file write we transferred files from the Kingston source drive to the target WD My Passport Ultra. We got around 95.7 MB/s for sequential write and 64.81MB/s for assorted file write. After these tests we restarted the system to simulate a read test - transferring files from the WD My Passport Ultra drive to Kingston drive. Read speeds were comparatively faster at 98MB/s for sequential reads and 85MB/s for assorted reads. When compared with the Toshiba Canvio Connect 1TB drive that we had tested a few days back, the speeds are comparatively slower.
Verdict and Price in India
WD My Passport Ultra is a good looking slim drive that gets the work done. Transfer speeds are slightly slower than the Toshiba Canvio Connect drive but they are still decent. It offers useful utilities with the option to backup directly to your Dropbox account. With a street price of Rs 4499, its cost per GB comes to around Rs. 9.65 which is quite high for an external drive. If you spend Rs. 1000 more, you can get the Toshiba Canvio Connect with 1TB capacity. Other drives such as Seagate Backup Plus 1TB and Western Digital’s own My Passport 1TB sell for around Rs 5000. If you want the online backup facilities, the Toshiba Canvio Connect offers much better features in terms of remote logging facility and 10GB cloud storage space. We wouldn’t recommend the Ultra at the Rs 4499 price point.
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