I’ve been a fan of Western Digital storage options for a very long time. A company I used to work for had to do daily backups and per project backups and we relied on Western Digital products to ensure that our data was secured. In all the time we used WD hard drives, I don’t think we ever had a drive fail. Now that I am working independently and I need storage solutions for my media backups, I immediately looked to Western Digital. I have a 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro, which only had USB-C ports on it so I was grateful to find that WD had a portable storage option for people in my situation — the My Passport Ultra USB-C edition.
The My Passport Ultra USB-C edition has the same compact design as classic My Passport drives from WD with the addition of a USB-C port. The case has been modified slightly from previous versions to include a metal cover. The drive is USB-C ready (as previously mentioned) and compatible with USB 3.0 (with the use of a provided adapter). The hard drive can act as an automatic backup drive and features password protection as an option. The hard drive can also be encrypted using 256-bit AES hardware encryption through WD Security.
Thanks to WD’s built-in software, WD Discovery, the drive also features social media and cloud storage import. This utility software can also help to manage your hard drive with WD Drive Utilities. Out of the box, the drive is Windows 10 ready, but it can be formatted to work with Mac computers, too. The My Passport Ultra USB-C is available in three sizes — 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB. It’s very easy to use and has a 3-year limited warranty. There are two color options — Blue/Black and Silver.
USB-C version (blue) versus USB 3.0 version (white/gold)
- My Passport Ultra Portable Storage
- USB-C™ cable with USB 3.0 adapter
- WD Discovery™ software* for WD Backup™, WD Security™ and WD Drive Utilities™
- Quick install guide
The My Passport Ultra USB-C is an updated version of the My Passport Ultra (2017). The older version was only available with a USB 3.0 connection cable, which meant that users like me (with a USB-C MacBook computer) would have to use an adapter or dock in order to interface with the hard drive. The physical size of the hard drive hasn’t changed much model-to-model except that the corners are rounded on the 2018 model and it simply looks sleeker. Both models are formatted for Windows machines out of the box, but you can reformat using Paragon NTFS for Mac (included with the drive).
The My Passport Ultra USB-C is really an exceptional hard drive. It does a beautiful job of storing data and makes it really easy to keep a portable drive with me at all times. The one thing you really have to be cautious of is the fact that this is a mechanical hard drive and not an SSD. Because of that, the hard drive does not have any shock protection. If it is thrown around a lot, it will be more prone to fail. That said, because it is a ‘portable’ hard drive, I think that it’s probably a bit more svelte than other mechanical drives. To date, I’ve not had any issue with Western Digital’s portable hard drives being carried by hand during daily treks through the urban jungle or on a coast-to-coast airplane ride.
One of the first things I usually do with any hard drive I test out is to open up Disk Utility to see that the capacity of the drive matches what the box says. In this case, Disk Utility stated that it was a 2TB hard drive which matched up with the packaging. Because the drive is formatted for Windows and I use a Mac, I did end up using Paragon NTFS to erase and reformat the drive as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) so I could use it freely with my MacBook Pro. After the formatting, the drive showed up as a 2TB drive, but space was shown as ‘free’ instead of used like it did when it was formatted as NTFS.
At this point, I ran two disk speed tests on the drive — AJA System Test Lite and Blackmagic Disk Speed Test. The AJA test is unique because you get a sense for how specific video files will be processed using the selected hard drive. Typically, I get the same type of speed from both tests, but I like running them both regardless. With the AJA test, I selected 1080p (1920×1080) and 4K-Full (4096×3112). Each test returned approximately the same results with a read/write time of 124/122 Mb/s and 126/122 Mb/s respectively. With the Blackmagic Speed Test, I got a read/write result of 125/121.4 Mb/s. The Blackmagic test will show whether or not the speed of the drive tested will hold up with some common video formats.
The final test I ran on the My Passport Ultra USB-C was a file transfer test. I used a video file that was 2.36GB in size. Using the stopwatch function on my iPhone, I timed the transfer at 19.01 seconds. After converting the file size to MB, I calculated the transfer rate to be 124.1 Mb/s, which is in line with what I was seeing from the disk speed tests.
The WD My Passport Ultra USB-C is a solid hard drive for any user of USB-C compatible products. Not only does it have a stylish look to it, but it also functions exceptionally well. I believe that the investment in this product is well worth it. Even though it is still a mechanical hard drive, the cost difference between this drive and the SSD version is quite a lot (2TB My Passport SSD, $599.99 vs. 2TB My Passport Ultra USB-C $89.99). This hard drive is much more affordable and it does a great job as a backup drive.
Originally published at macsources.com on November 19, 2018.