Review: WD My Passport Ultra 500 GB External Hard Disk Drive

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Review: WD My Passport Ultra 500 GB External Hard Disk Drive

EditorsChoiceWD seems to have been on a redesign spree –their new range of portable hard disk drives, called the My Passport Ultra, look super-cool. The exterior shell of the My Passport Ultra is composed of plastic that feels sturdy enough for home use and other applications outside of the house. The top cover of the device features a designated colour, which can be titanium, red, blue or black. Ours came in blue, with a silver outline as an accent.

The bottom and sides of the drive are black with a USB 3.0 connector on the left side. Available in 500 GB, 1 TB and new 2 TB capacities, the My Passport Ultra comes with built-in WD SmartWare Pro software with Dropbox integration, hardware encryption and password protection to safeguard you data against unauthorised access.

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Getting the WD My Passport Ultra up and running isn’t a task – all you do is just run the setup client that then allows you to choose what you want to install – choose from WD Utilities, WD SmartWare Pro and WD Security. Once the setup is completed, you can activate SmartWare Pro by inputting your name and e-mail which gives you access to install the Pro version on up to three computers.

Of course, the installation of the utilities is not required for the drive to work, but the bundled software package is useful. WD Drive Utilities contains utilities that enable you to check on the drive’s status, test its functionality, or even reformat it. WD Security lets you secure the drive’s content with a password. The drive supports strong encryption, and once you’ve picked a password, the content is completely inaccessible if that password is forgotten. Both WD Drive Utilities and WD Security are available for both Windows and Mac.

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We put the My Passport Ultra to test using two benchmarks – the ATTO Disk Benchmark and IOMeter. In order to optimally measure the data transfer rates, we created a data dump worth 1.5 GB that included video files, music files, documents, Excel sheets, PowerPoint presentations, zipped files, text files, and image files.

We measured transfer speeds from the WD My Passport Ultra 500 GB utilising its USB 3.0 interface. The WD My Passport Ultra 500 GB posted 101.29MB/s for sequential read and for 102.10MB/s sequential write on IOMeter. In addition, on ATTO Disk Benchmark, the My Passport Ultra 500 GB peaked 104MB/s on read and 108MB/s on write, on USB 3.0 interface, and 35 MB/s on read and write on USB 2.0 interface.

All in all, the WD My Passport Ultra is a unique drive, which sets itself apart in the saturated market of portable storage solutions by offering one of the most comprehensive sets of software we have seen. This includes the WD SmartWare software that offers one of the easiest solutions when it comes to data backup and restoration.

The Drive Utilities and WD Security makes managing your drive even easier, thus helping you keep your data secure and private, without any hassles. That’s what makes this cute little thing – the My Passport Ultra – that WD calls a portable hard disk drive, much more than “just a portable hard disk drive”. [highlight color=”black”]Hence, the WD My Passport Ultra 500 GB deserves the Review Central Middle East Editors’ Choice award.[/highlight]

Price: AED 289 (500GB); AED 379 (1TB); AED 649 (2TB)

Storage Capacity: 500GB
Colour: Blue
System Compatibility: Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP
Interface: USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Operating Temperature: 5°C to 35°C
Non-Operating Temperature: –20°C to 65°C
Dimensions (HxDxW): 500 GB – 4.33″ (110 mm) x 0.50″ (12.8 mm) x 3.21″ (81.6 mm)
Weight: 500GB – 0.13 kg
Warranty: Limited 3-year warranty

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