WD My Passport Ultra 4TB Portable Hard Disk Drive Review
by Daniel | Last Updated February 24th, 2020
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links, at no cost to you.
Traveling with all your tech can be inconvenient, no matter if you're a business professional, a holiday goer, or a digital nomad. When it comes to external hard drives, the devices are often heavy and bulky. However, the nature of modern work means that usually, we cannot choose to leave anything behind.
Western Digital released its latest update with its My Passport series in 2019 — the company's successful series of portable external hard disk drives. The WD My Passport Ultra 4TB is slim, streamlined, and easy to use. It is a handy bit of kit if you need to work on the go, or you have lots of files, videos, and pictures you want to take with you.
This WD My Passport Ultra 4TB hard drive is slimmer and has higher storage capacity than previous models, not to mention many other great new additions. Let's dive in and see how the latest portable hard drive disk performs.
USB Type-C connector
Suite of applications
My Passport is a popular, high-performing model on the market that Western Digital updates with each new cycle. Indeed, WD My Passport Ultra 4TB maintains many of the series' strengths while improving on earlier models.
Western Digital has updated the design, moving to more modern metallic textures and away from the previous plastic and metal combination. While six colors were previously on offer, this time around, it has narrowed the color range in favor of sleek, modern options: black, blue, and red. (WD has ditched the previous white, orange, and yellow.)
WD My Passport Ultra 4TB portable hard disk drive is still compact, measuring 4.22 x 2.95 x 0.75 inches. It is as convenient to carry around as previous MyPassports. Depending on the capacity you buy, the drive's weight can range from 0.27 pounds up to 0.46 pounds, making it very light and easy to carry around.
The newest version of the drive also has a part of the top scalloped to make it easier to grip, thus reducing the likelihood of dropping it as you transport the device. Given its reported propensity to break after a drop, this is a great feature.
Functionally, the drive has an activity light indicating the status of the device — active, idle or standby — and a USB Type-C connector. Also included is a cable a Type-C to Type-A adaptor, which makes the portable hard disk drive versatile.
Finally, the WD My Passport 4TB Ultra will come with a three-year limited warranty.
Here is how the WD My Passport 4TB Ultra performed in benchmark testing:
CrystalDiskMark: 127MBps (read) and 124MBps (write)
Atto: 130MBps (read, 256mb) and 122MBps (write, 256mb)
There are a few options out there when it comes to portable hard disk drives. While the Seagate Expansion is 25% less expensive, WD My Passport Ultra 4TB instead offers a better warranty for three years and has a Type-C connector.
The WD My Passport also ranks well against competitors. The 4TB Elements, for example, is more affordable but cannot offer as much as the WD My Passport Ultra 4TB. There's little difference in the hard drive capacity, while WD My Passport Ultra 4TB has 256-AES hardware encryption and the three-year warranty compared with Elements.
In tests using a 10GB file to test the transfer speed of the hard drive, the file took 100 seconds to transfer. This rate of transfer makes the hard drive a relatively slow performer compared with other hard drives out there.
Not only was the file transfer relatively slow, but the drive became hot and loud when in use, unlike many other portable drives. While it has a large capacity, the lack of speed offsets the benefits of its storage.
Where WD stands out for performance is the software it offers alongside the hard drive. Its Discovery software includes a dashboard through which you can access your My Passport drive and set up a password using hardware encryption. Through this software, you can also access apps providing direct access for free and at reduced prices, as well as set up automatic backup options.
Also, Upthere.com, the drive's cloud storage solution, gives you 20GB for free, and you can upgrade to 100GB for just $1.99 a month.
The My Passport Ultra uses an OEM drive that is unavailable on the open market, and the hard disk drive consists of two 5,400 RPM platters. This model is thicker because there are two 2TB capacity drives — WD uses 2TB drives for its laptops.
Why It's Optimal for Travel
Comparing portable hard disk drives can be tricky because nowadays, they all do the job. However, the WD My Passport Ultra 4TB stands out in being ideal for use while traveling.
The portable hard disk drive is convenient for transport owing to its compact design. With its dimensions, the device is slightly smaller than a cassette. Also, weighing in at 232 grams, it won't add much to your laptop bag or suitcase, helping you to save on carry-on or check-in baggage weight.
Its new software makes using the device much more accessible and makes the device more versatile. The new three-year warranty is a great addition, particularly if you will be traveling around with it. Travelers often require more durable hardware, and in this compartment, the WD My Passport delivers.
On the whole, WD My Passport Ultra 4TB is an improvement on previous offerings from the brand, although it is not without its drawbacks. The main downsides are that the hard disk drive may be slightly more expensive than others on the market and somewhat slower than other hard drives, too. Where it has improved is with its attractive external finish, bundling software, and its new USB-C interface.
Ultimately, what sets the WD My Passport Ultra 4TB apart is that it can offer much more than its competitors and reliable performance, at what is still a reasonable price.
When you are off traveling, it may be worthwhile to consider taking the WD My Passport Ultra 4TB. The encryption options offered by its updated software guarantee you peace of mind, while the WD My Passport Ultra 4TB's compact shape and USB adaptability make it extremely convenient.
Related Buyer’s guides and Top 10 Lists:
Welcome to LuggageGuru!
My name is Daniel and I am a full-time world traveler and constantly on the move.