The Western Digital My Passport Ultra is a new USB 3.0 hard drive that is available in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB sizes, as well as a variety of colors.
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 drive also comes with a fabric carry bag to keep if from getting nicked up in your gear bag.
I’ve had the chance to use one of the drives for the past few days and I think it’s a solid little drive that’s on par with the existing WD My Passport Edge. 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. Additionally, the security app allows you to password protect your drive with hardware encryption.
While the My Passport Ultra doesn’t have the same aluminum enclosure as the My Passport Edge for Mac, the performance seems to be virtually the same (around 115MB/s data transfer rates) and the plastic enclosure makes it a little lighter.
The data transfer speed is pretty typical for external USB 3.0 drives that using spinning, single drives. Finally, we’re past the limitation of the connection and can take full advantage of the disk speed. For reference, FireWire 800 drives topped out at around 75MB/s due to the limitation of the FireWire 800 connection (800Mbps in FW800 vs 5Gbps in USB 3.0).
The 500GB unit will retail for $99.99 ($10 more than the My Passport Edge PC version) and the 1TB unit will retail for $129.99. The 2TB version will be released in Q3 this year at a yet-undisclosed price.
More details on the new My Passport Ultra drives at Western Digital’s website.