The My Passport Ultra features some pretty handy local and cloud backup software with WD Backup, allowing users to choose when, where, and how to back up their files. Available in Classic Black, Brilliant White, Wild Berry and Noble Blue, the 7th gen My Passport Ultra is comprised of a new sleek design.
The USB 3.0 connector is located on the side of the drive while the small product label and information printed onto the plastic are located on the rear. To determine its performance, we measured transfer speeds from the My Passport Ultra connected to an HP Z620 workstation and compared it to the previous generation model, Seagate Plus Slim, and Seagate Seven USB 3.0 portable drives. With WD Drive Utilities, users can run diagnostics to determine any issues that may be happening with the drive. The Sleep Timer option allows users to set when they want the drive (if at all) to go into sleep mode while the Ultra is not in use.
The Drive Erase feature simply allows users to erase all content on the drive with one click while giving the newly formatted volume a name. The About section displays basic information about the software as well as the ability to check for updates and register the drive. WD Security allows users to simply set a password to block users from accessing their WD Passport Ultra. Like its predecessor, the WD My Passport Ultra is released in a market full of capable portable storage devices, which is often overwhelming for casual consumers and workers on the go looking for an external storage solution. The WD My Passport Ultra offers consumers an easy way to back up their data with feature-rich software and very good performance in a trusted platform. The WD My Passport Ultra, announced today, is a USB 3.0 portable storage device with capacities from 500GB up to 2TB that features local and cloud backups. Lately, we've been seeing a shift in the portable storage market as more manufacturers look to separate themselves from the large group of makers who pump out portable HDDs with special enhancements (and sometimes not so special) to their products. The WD My Passport Ultra is available now and comes with a three year warranty and a variety of enclosure colors.
The WD My Passport Ultra has a standard portable storage device design, as there is little room aside from dimensions and weight at this price point to stray too far from convention.
The top cover features the designated color which can be titanium, red, blue or black, in our case red, with a silver outline as an accent.
WD SmartWare Pro has a clean, functional GUI that makes operating the software simple, even for novices. The WD My Passport Ultra enters a saturated market of portable storage devices, but it does so with unique offerings. The WD My Passport Ultra excels in adding plenty of value with the included software, its transfer rates which are solid for the market and the design options offer plenty of personal choice. The My Passport Ultra comes formatted as a Windows drive and includes WD SmartWare Pro backup software with Dropbox integration, hardware encryption and password protection.
The data transfer speed is pretty typical for external USB 3.0 drives that using spinning, single drives. What I really want is something just like this but with a memory card slot do I can take my card out of my camera and plug it straight into the hard drive and it chips everything over. There are new models that I saw at NAB 2013 that have more whiz-bang features, but this is the same idea that’s been around a few years.

The latest version comes with a maximum capacity of 3TB, comes in a variety of colors, and comes with a Grip pack of soft band accessories that encircle the device.
Users also have the option of running the setup client, which comes pre-loaded on their drive. The Run Drive Status Check option checks for potential drive failures while the Quick Drive and Complete Drive Tests checks for major performance issues and performs a full media scan to detect bad sectors, respectively. It should be noted that erasing the drive also removes any passwords you may have set up. Though there is no way to access data without the password after it's set, you can recover the password if it is forgotten using a security question.
Although these numbers compete well enough with the best drives of its class and type, we only saw a slight improvement compared to the previous generation in sequential performance, while even having marginally weaker performance in random writes.
The My Passport Ultra includes software for automatic backups to the host system or to the My Passport Ultra as well as the ability to use Dropbox to backup to the cloud. The exterior shell is composed of plastic that feels sturdy enough for home use and other applications outside of the house. Users just run the setup client that allows them to choose what they want to install, or to install all of the included software: WD Utilities, WD SmartWare Pro and WD Security. The first option is the SMART status check which predicts potential drive failures in just a second or two.
For those users who are inexperienced, the tab furthest to the right is labeled help and goes through very detailed steps on how to perform any of the processes SmartWare Pro enables.
Here, users can select a backup target drive or select to backup to their Dropbox account by logging in. The backup software provides an advanced feature-set for a consumer portable drive that includes the ability to schedule backups to take place as frequently as hourly to as rarely as monthly. The drive also comes with a fabric carry bag to keep if from getting nicked up in your gear bag.
The key differences with this new version is that it’s available in the different colors on the PC side and has the Dropbox integration straight out of the box. Finally, we’re past the limitation of the connection and can take full advantage of the disk speed. WD has certainly built the My Passport Ultra the drive as a rugged device, as it is designed for durability, shock tolerance, and long-term reliability. Here, they can choose whether they want to simply install one program, or to install all of the bundled software.
Consumers should note that WD is unique due to its bundled backup software, which has been developed in house as well as being specifically designed for WD devices such as this one. The Ultra, WD's latest My Passport iteration, also enables users to setup password protection and hardware encryption to keep data stored on the device secure from unauthorized access. Yet there are also brands that now offer software packaged with the drives to not just allow users to manage the drive, but to also provide significant backup features that enable users to gain even more security for the important files and content. The bottom and sides of the drive are black with the only features being the USB 3.0 connector on the left side and the small product label and information printed onto the plastic. Once setup has completed installing programs, users can activate SmartWare Pro by inputting their name and e-mail which gives them access to install the Pro version on up to 3 computers.

With a design focused on bulk storage and backups, these figures are more than respectable. WD has been doing this on previous drives, and the Toshiba Canvio Connect that we reviewed recently also offers valuable backup software and drive tools.
Additionally, the security app allows you to password protect your drive with hardware encryption. In addition, the WD Security utility with password protection and its 256-bit AES hardware encryption also adds to the security of the backed up content. As such, when the locked drive is connected to a computer, a popup with a window will ask for the password in order to continue and access the drive. The My Passport Ultra also protects this content with the WD Security utility and 256-bit AES hardware encryption, the latter which offers users the option to enable password protection on files and folders. Couple this with its good performance, the seventh generation of the My Passport Ultra makes for a compelling release among a saturated market. Cosmetically-focused, the WD My Passport Ultra is available in four different colors (titanium, red, blue and black). This process ran smoothly during our setup, and having an integrated all-WD software bundle makes it simple for users to get used to the design, feel and functions of the programs. The final option does a full media scan to detect bad sectors in the drive, and WD says it can take up to several hours for large-capacity drives. For each tab, the information icon presents different information on how to operate the functions found within the selected tab.
The settings tab allows users to select how many copies of backup versions they want to keep (up to 25), select WD SmartWare Pro software update preferences, and specify the retrieve folder.
The My Passport Ultra comes in models as high as 3TB in storage, which is a 50% increase in maximum capacity from its predecessor.
These drives have strong value as stand-alone drives which is accentuated by the included backup software.
After users initiate each test and the drive runs the course, the client shows that the status of the test and when it was last completed. With the password set, users can also go back in and remove the security by typing in their password and clicking a check box. This layout aids new backup users in figuring out what actions to perform, as well as providing more experienced users with information about more advanced functionality. Clicking on advanced view enables users to select and deselect categories such as movies or music for backup. There is also an option in WD Utilities to configure after what amount of idle time the drive will go into sleep, and another option allows users to easily erase all data from the data.

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