Western Digital My Passport Ultra Portable Hard Drive REVIEW

I was first introduced to portable storage when I was in my early 20s (nearly 20 years ago now!). It was not exactly ‘portable’ by modern terms. It was an early LaCie dual drive enclosure that created a RAID. We used it to back up media projects and unfortunately, it failed on us at the most inopportune time. We immediately moved to the WD MyBook series hard drives and even though they were in their infancy, they never failed us. Ever since then, I’ve been sold on Western Digital and their products. Today, there are a lot more options from WD for portable storage including the Western Digital My Passport Ultra, which I’ve been fortunate to be testing out for the past couple of weeks.



  • My Passport Ultra hard drive
  • USB 3.0 cable
  • WD Discovery software for WD Backup, WD Security and WD Drive Utilities
  • Quick install guide


When plugged into my computer the hard drive mounts quickly. I did notice that Paragon NTFS for Mac detected the drive slower than the WD Utility App did. It showed up in the menu utility before it popped up on my desktop or the sidebar of my Finder window. To see how much available space was on the drive, I opened Disk Utility to get a profile on the drive. As it turns out, the drive is formatted as NTFS and even though more than 750MB is taken up with WD software packages, the drive still shows 4TB available space. I double checked this by getting info on the drive and reviewing the drive specs in Apple System Profiler.

When I test out a hard drive, I run a few tests on transfer speed, the endurance of the drive, and overall performance. Here are the results for the WD My Passport Ultra.

Endurance: With this being a mechanical hard drive, I was a little leery of leaving it plugged in or moving it around too much. I’ve had a lot of SSDs lately and have to admit I was a little out of practice with a mechanical drive. I didn’t handle it with kid gloves though. I plugged it into my laptop and let it sit idling while I wrote some articles. I believe I had it running for approximately 2 hours and even though I could feel the drives spinning furiously in the case, I didn’t detect any heat or noise coming from the drive itself. Leaving it plugged in and carrying my laptop — with the drive attached — didn’t seem to affect it’s performance either. The drive remained connected and steady as I moved from one room to another.

Data Transfer Speed: Given that the hard drive is compatible with USB 3.0, one should expect that the WD My Passport Ultra can maintain speeds up to 5gbps. I ran two separate tests on the hard drive — Blackmagic Disk Speed Test and AJA System Test Lite. They both ended up with very similar results as you can see in the screenshots included. A secondary test I ran for speed testing was to copy a file to the drive and time how long it takes. I selected an MP4 file that was 2.36GB in size. It copied to the hard drive in just under 20 seconds. This averages to a transfer rate of 118.2 MB/s, which was also in line with the speed test apps.


For more information, visit wdc.com.
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Originally published at macsources.com on September 19, 2018.



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