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WD My Passport Ultra 1TB Review: Reliable External Hard Drive With 256-bit Hardware Encryption

WD (Western Digital) is the world's largest computer hard drive manufacturer. WD provides all kinds of storage solutions from desktop hard drives to surveillance storage. If I am not wrong then your PC is running a WD internal hard drive while you are reading this post. Western Digital makes reliable hard disk drives that can store your personal data for over a decade without getting failed. WD hard drives have the lowest failure rate when compared to other hard drive manufacturers.

It is said that a hard drive runs perfectly for the first three years of its life. After 3 years a hard drive's failure rate keeps on increasing on a yearly basis. So if you are running a hard disk drive that is more than 3 years old then you should be careful about your data stored on it. An HDD can fail anytime thereby corrupting all the data stored on it. In this situation, the HDD stops spinning and nothing can be read from it. So it is a wise decision not to get yourself into such situations. As you can purchase a new hard disk for your PC anytime but you can't get your personal data once lost.

So having multiple backups of your sensitive and personal data is necessary to avoid data loss. You should either use cloud services like DropBox or Google Drive. But data on the cloud is not safe. If you are storing your personal data on the cloud then you should encrypt it before uploading. Saving data on the cloud is a very cumbersome process if your data counts in GBs and you have a slow internet connection. Uploading, downloading and restoring your data from the cloud takes a considerable amount of time which highly depends on your internet connection speed.

The second alternative is to burn your data into DVD or Blu-ray discs. But these discs won't last long. As they may corrode due to moisture or a scratch on their shiny surface will ruin the data. Finally, you are left with taking data backup on flash drives, SSDs or external hard drives. Flash drives and SSDs are the best options to take data backups as they are fast and have a long life. But they are expensive and if you can't afford SSDs, then external hard drives are the second best option for data backup which is your personal offsite backup solutions.

WD My Passport Ultra 1TB (2015) External Hard Drive Review

You can buy your first external hard drive from Seagate, Hitachi, Transcend or ADATA. But these hard drives will only store your data without any security. WD My Passport Ultra is different from any normal hard drive because it provides 256-bit AES hardware encryption. You can lock your My Passport Ultra with a password so that no one can access your personal files. After setting your password the entire data on the disk gets encrypted with your password which gets stored in the ROM chip of My Passport Ultra.

wd my passport ultra 1tb retail pack

wd my passport ultra review and unboxing

1. Design and Build Quality: WD My Passport Ultra 2015 model comes with a very good design. The plastic body looks premium and can prevent minor scratches. On the front side, you can find a USB 3.0 port and a micro LED light. This LED light keeps blinking whenever the drive performs read/write functions. On the back side, you can find 4 rubber stoppers which provide extra grip to this portable hard drive on any surface. If you compare this 2015 model with the newer model then you will find that the newer design is not that good. WD My Passport Ultra is available in 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, and 4TB. The 2TB, 3TB, and 4TB variants are thicker than the 1TB model.  It comes in colors like classic black, brilliant white, noble blue and wild berry. WD My Passport Ultra is not a SSD. It is a normal 5400 RPM hard disc with a custom USB 3.0 interface. The hard drive is sealed inside the plastic body.

wd my passport ultra 1tb review

2. Data Transfer Rate (Speed Test): WD My Passport Ultra offers around 109 MBps read and 101 MBps write speed on USB 3.0 when benchmarked on NTFS file system. And we saw around 33 MBps read and 25 MBps write speed on USB 2.0 on NTFS partition. But file transfer speed depends upon file types and the computer hardware (RAM, CPU, internal hard disk) to which the drive is connected. On average I am getting around 70 MBps read/write speed on USB 3.0. The speed reaches up to 90 MBps when you transfer ISO files.

wd my passport ultra speed test

wd my passport ultra speed test usb 3.0

➜ Actual Data Transfer Speed Test

Watch this video below to see the actual read, write, copy and data transfer speed of WD My Passport Ultra 1TB.

3. WD Drive Utilities Software: The WD drive utilities software lets you manage your My Passport Ultra hard disc. You can check the drive for bad sectors via quick and complete scans. It also tells about the drive health. You can control the sleep timer and can set the LED light to OFF or ON. You can also secure erase your My Passport Ultra. Secure erase function will completely wipe the data and nothing can be recovered even via data recovery software. You can also backup your data to Dropbox from My Passport Ultra.

wd drive utilities

4. WD Security Software: With WD Security you can set a password for your My Passport Ultra. You can also use this software to remove the password. When you set a password then it gets stored on the ROM chip of the My Passport Ultra. Now, whenever you connect this portable hard drive on any Windows or Mac system then it will ask for a password. Without unlocking the drive you can't view files stored on it. Read set password on my passport ultra.

5. File System Compatibility: The WD My Passport Ultra is compatible with Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Mac OS, and android (exFAT). WD My Passport Ultra supports NTFS, exFAT and OS X (Extended). It doesn't support FAT32 directly unless you use a third party FAT32 format utility. If you want this portable drive to work on Windows, Mac, and android at the same time then you can use the exFAT file system. While bigger file systems like NTFS and Mac file system works greatly you can still use exFAT if you want compatibility between multiple devices because exFAT is supported by most devices than NTFS or HFS. However, if you are going to use the My Passport Ultra only on your Windows PC then use NTFS.

6. WD Backup Software: Another most import feature of the My Passport Ultra is the automatic backup. With WD Backup software you can set this portable drive to take automatic backups of your data on an hourly, daily or monthly basis. If your portable drive is partitioned then you can choose any partition to take automatic backup with restore option.

7. Price: WD My Passport Ultra 1TB costs around $66. You can buy this from various sources online like Amazon or you can directly buy this from Western Digital which also comes with 30-days money back guarantee in the United States.

Handling External Hard Drives

The reason why internal hard drives have a very long life is that they run inside a desktop cabinet at a fixed place. The internal hard drive does not move here and there and keeps working at a fixed place. You don't need to take it places. But this is not the case with an external hard disc. External hard drives are reliable just like internal ones but they can stop working anytime if they are mishandled. Suppose you dropped your portable drive from a height and after this, it stopped working which corrupted all of your precious data. In this situation, you can't blame the portable drive because they are not shock proof and they can stop working if they hit a hard surface when falling from a height.

wd my passport ultra hard drive case

You need to put your My Passport Ultra inside a shockproof case which will protect the drive from damage, water, and moisture. A shockproof hard drive case will protect the drive from the force of gravity. If you have previously dropped your external hard drive many times and if it is still working then don't rely on it completely. Buy a new one and replicate your data because the previous one can fail anytime. These external hard drives are very delicate and require proper care if you want them working for a long time just like internal hard drives.

WD My Passport Ultra 1TB External Hard Drive Pros

  • Easy to carry portable hard drive with slim design.
  • Comes with 256-bit AES hardware encryption.
  • The password protection feature prevents anyone from accessing your files.
  • Comes with WD drive utilities which also lets you secure erase your My Passport Ultra.
  • Good file transfer rates.
  • Works with several android phones with exFAT support.
  • Built in security software.
  • Automatic backups with WD Backup software on an hourly, daily or monthly basis.
  • Secure erase function works well. After a secure erase no file can be recovered.
  • Comes with 3 years replacement warranty.

Watch the Video Review and Unboxing

Buy Now

You can buy the WD My Passport Ultra from amazon by going to this link. You can also purchase the secure case for your My Passport Ultra, go to this link.

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