At a Glance
The My Passport Ultra Metal offers good value as a solidly constructed portable drive. It has good software support and decent all-round performance for the category of portable disk.
Western Digital, or just WD as it now prefers to be known, has a very broad coverage in disk storage technology. It makes the hard disks that power the world’s data centres all the way down to consumer portable drives like the My Passport series.
Like the My Passport Studio and My Passport Air range, the
My Passport Ultra Metal majors on solid metal construction, which adds a feeling of resilience and quality to the product.
This is quite a different looking drive to the standard My Passport Ultra though. The standard Ultra drive is modelled on the style of the Studio and Air products, albeit with a plastic case.
But the My Passport Ultra Metal, as you’d hope given the name, restores some metal to the portable drive. Unlike the My Passport Studio and My Passport Air which enjoy all-metal construction, the Ultra Metal drive has a more obviously shiny metal top chassis, but also features a plastic bottom. See also:
best portable hard drives 2015 UK.
This wouldn’t be so bad if there were some rubber feet, but unfortunately the hard plastic bottom does mean the drive can rather easily slide around the desk.
While the sides have a subdued and sandblasted satin finish, the top catches the eye with its circular polish pattern. The centre of these subtle concentric circles coincides with the company WD logo and the My Passport Ultra name, and faint chromatic patterns can be seen in the light as you tilt the unit from side to side.
Three body colour options are available, a light natural silver; dark anodised blue, almost black; and a gold-effect finish which WD bills as its anniversary drive.
Overall construction quality is slightly below that of the peerless Studio and Air drives, but price is also more competitive at around £90 for the largest 2 TB version; or 4.5 pence per gigabyte. The drive is available in either 1 or 2 TB storage capacities.
Two software utilities are included with the drive – WD Drive Utilities, which provides SMART error status, adjustable sleep timer and drive erase. And WD Security, which allows you to add a password to protect the drive contents using its built-in and always-on 256-bit encryption engine.
There’s no carry case included, which would have been especially useful to keep the exterior clean, since the circular brushing effect seems to collect dusty marks rather easily.
Overall performance was just above the average of comparable drives featuring 1 or 2 TB disks. In Windows large sequential reads and writes zipped by at 114 and 113 MB/s, while small random reads and writes fell to the usual crawl of around half and one-quarter of 1 MB/s respectively.
Tested in OS X, the QuickBench test reported 110 MB/s reads and 108 MB/s writes, while the average of small random file transfers sized 4 kB to 1024 kB was 16.1 MB/s average reads and 8.1 MB/s average writes. See our group test:
What’s the best SSD?
- 2 TB USB drive
- Western Digital 2.5-inch HDD with integral USB controller
- no carry case
- 460 mm USB cable
- 110 x 80 x 18.9 mm
- 241 g