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Size: 2 TB|Colour Name: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Doesn't the word 'ultra' in a product name just raise your expectations and make you wonder what's so 'ultra' instead of 'ordinary'? I already own the 'ordinary' version of this drive, the WD My Passport 2TB Drive, so I was especially curious. At first it seems the main difference is that the Ultra comes with a copy of SmartWare, a backup utility that can sync your computer's files keeping copies on the Ultra drive and also on your Dropbox account too. However (unless I missed something) you only get a month's free trial using the full feature set and if you want to continue using the Dropbox facility, for example, you'll have to pay a fee. That's a bit un-ultra. The drive also comes with a pair of WD utilities already on it, one for configuring and checking the drive and one for securing the content using encryption - however these are freely downloadable for use with any My Passport drive so they hardly qualify as ultra either. Physically both drives are the same size with a well-finished plastic case (it might look like metal but it isn't) and a solid feel but the Ultra version has its USB-3 port slightly to the right-side instead of the left and the port is 'upside-down' - as if the innards had been flipped over. However, there is another much more important difference, the speed of data transfer, and the Ultra just beats the standard Passport drive. For me it's testing about 10MB/s faster than the ordinary My Passport drive (when they're connected via USB3), which is about a 10% speed advantage. So maybe that's just enough to justify the Ultra moniker?

In most other respects it seems like the same drive, which is no bad thing, with a compact easily-transportable size and thoughtful details like little rubber nodules on the underside which stop it rattling on a hard surface whilst in use. There are specially moulded hard cases available from WD if you need to carry it around with you but I made do with an AmazonBasics Hard Black Carrying Case for My Passport which fits the drive well with room left for a USB cable and even, with a slight squeeze, another slim-line drive too. The drive utility has some useful options like the ability to set the Sleep timer in the drive to prevent it spinning down at inopportune moments while attached to a desktop computer, or to try to maximise battery life when used with your laptop - bearing in mind there's no mains adaptor with this drive, it draws the power it needs from the USB connection. Speaking of sleep, this drive will never interrupt yours - it's very quiet, almost silent, in operation and if it wasn't for the little white LED which flashes whilst it's in use you'll sometimes wonder if it's actually doing anything. There are dedicated 'turbo' drivers available too, for both Windows and Mac OS X, but I didn't find they made all that much difference and for general use everything you need is already in your operating system with no need to install anything extra. If you need to squeeze every megabit of speed out of your external drive then perhaps it's worth spending a bit extra to get the Ultra, otherwise either drive is well-made, nippy and very portable - what else could you ask for?
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on 14 February 2015
Bought two of these little drives - one to backup my PC, and the other to replace the USB sticks I use to play stuff on my TV.
As I'd only had USB2 external media before, I never bothered with proper backups as they took too long (!) and while I use USB sticks to transfer stuff from my PC to play on the TV, I was finding that the trend to HD was making TV episodes etc take up more space and a 32GB stick is just way too small.

The main attractions were that these disks are high-capacity - I spent a few pounds more and got the 2GB versions, support USB3 and are tiny, good-looking things that won't be an eyesore on my desk. The majority of external disks are a pound or two cheaper and would look more at home in Steptoe and Son's yard.

I'm not a fan of built-in software, so I formatted the disks on my PC before doing anything else. This means they're just normal hard disks now with no fancy stuff on that I don't need and I can just drag and drop stuff as and when I like. (Just plug the device into your PC, go to My Computer, right click on the drive and select Format. Ten seconds later, you're done).

I used a free little program called Flashbench to see how fast the disk was compared with my USB sticks and it showed on average to be reading and writing five times as fast, which is about what you'd expect (peaking at 105MB/sec for read and 88 MB/sec for write). For files of a Gigabyte or so, it doesn't feel a lot slower than my regular built in hard disks, though I guess this will vary from user to user. Anyway, there's none of the long long wait I get when putting stuff onto USB2 sticks, so that's fine for me.

The supplied USB3 cable is about a foot/30cm long, so will probably be fine if you're plugging this into a laptop. But as there's a run of a metre or so from the back of my desktop PC to my desk, I had to get a USB3 extension cable. Only a couple of pounds, but I wish I'd known I needed it and I could have bought it with the drive. And make sure you get a USB3 cable - a USB2 one won't have all the internal connections.

I bought a red one and a blue one, and both are very compact, neat and attractive. They don't look like disk drives at all, and unless your desk is a complete tip, you'll appreciate the design over some of the other monstrosities that cost a few pounds less.

So in summary, it's fast, good looking, works well and has a 30cm cable. If you're looking for an external USB3 drive, I'd recommend this one.

Forgot to add that if you're using it to play video on your TV via a USB slot, then this disk is self-powered and doesn't need plugging into the mains. However one USB slot on my TV didn't deliver enough power to drive it and I had to solve the problem by buying a Dual Input USB power cable which allows you to take power from two USB slots on the TV while playing back to only one of them. Works a treat, but again I wish I'd known about it earlier. Here is the item on Amazon :
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dual-Input-USB-power-cable/dp/B003OC4KX4/ref=cm_cr-mr-title
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on 24 June 2014
I bought this for use with the recent Xbox One update which allows external storage. To be honest I wasn't sure if it'd work but I can confirm it does and is a great little HDD. It does have a constant glowing/pulsing light that does seem bright in complete darkness but its small enough you tuck it behind the console and its not noticeable. It's really simple just plug into the console then switch console on. It'll ask to format the HDD and takes seconds. It'll pop up a notification when done.
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External storage was always significantly slower than internal .. that is until USB 3 drives became available. WD have been on the forefront in offering affordable and reliable drives, so I did not hesitate a second to hit the buy button as soon as I spotted this HDD.

The drive is very fast and build quality is great. The red coloured one looks great too!
Backup conscious users will be pleased to find WD Smartware Pro software which works a treat.

One qualm I have is the shortish cable on offer, as I use this on a desktop. But then again, if it were longer one could argue that it would not fit the protective cases supplied for these drives. I also got the Amazon basics case which is good value and fits the drive plus cable easily.

The WD 2TB is plug and play, (as expected) and current is drawn through the supplied USB3 cable which aids portability.

This offering is covered by a 1 year warranty and comes bundled with "WD SmartWare Pro automatic back-up software".

I highly recommend this drive to anyone wanting reliable, portable and affordable external storage.
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Size: 2 TB|Colour Name: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The first thing I noticed about this drive is how small it is - about the same size as similar external 1TB drives of last year.

It is also very quiet.

But:

It runs quite hot, hotter than similar 1TB drives I have.

The supplied USB cable is far too short - If you have a tower case on the floor with only rear USB sockets this cable just isn't going to do it for you.

There is no power cable - this is host powered. This is good but your usb set up may not supply enough power to keep this drive going. On the first use I transferred 1 TB of data to it and twice it unilaterally disconnected itself from my PC and reconnected resulting in me having to restart the transfer process. This may be caused by a lack of power or it may just be a reliability issue.

Speed wise I have had some fast peaks - up to 160MB/s but often it will average only 45 - 60MB/s.

The supplied software is, as with most external hard drives, best avoided.

Overall it is a compact useful storeage device
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 January 2016
ok, so i'm not some technical whizzkid so pure and simply, this an good piece of kit. laptops and pc's can conk out at any time, and im sure we have all lost precious hours of data etc at one time or another. this little beauty looks smart, and is designed really well. i decided i wanted to load all my cds onto itunes.. which took me weeks doing it hours at a time, and the thought of ever having to do it again someday nudged me into buying this. its great for the price, has 1tb of storage which is more than enough for my needs. and backs up files really fast, so all of my music and photos are tucked away safely on there.

i know you can back up all of your stuff into the cloud using this. so as well as having it all on this hard-drive, you can back it up into dropbox. which is great i suppose, but after a one month free trial of drop box you have to pay - so in my book you only really need one or the the other. and this shiny little box will be all you ever need
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on 11 May 2014
I use this with a MacBook Pro laptop and it works great. You'll need to format it with Disk Utility first, after that you're good to go. The software included also includes a Mac version if you want to use it, although Time Machine is a suitably more efficient way of backing up your files if this is what you're buying it for.

I run my iTunes library off of this drive and it does a great job. I have full HD video from the iTunes store (about 5GB) and it can be played from the drive with no problems at all.

Transferring files is very quick - I noticed it was copying files at about 90-100 MB/s when copying from my main hard drive.

As other reviews have noted, this drive does get quite warm. I wouldn't say hot - certainly not enough to cause alarm.

I've owned many WD drives over the years and they are always reliable. I expect I'll have this one for a few years to come.
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Size: 2 TB|Colour Name: Black|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a classy looking little unit fitted with a 2.5" 'laptop' hard-drive and a single USB3 connection (backwards compatible with USB2). Nominally 2Tb, it comes pre-formatted with 1.81Tb of useable space. The drives case is mostly dense plastic with a thin pretty metal sheet top that's more for aesthetics than protection. The drive used to come with a lightweight felt bag for travel, but that is no longer included. That thin cloth bag provided no shock protection anyway, so I use the padded AmazonBasics Hard Black Carrying Case which this drive fits into perfectly, and it usefully has space for storing the USB3 cable as well. This Passport drive is fully powered by the single port USB3 cable, no Y split cable required, and the huge 2Tb storage space makes the drive great value at around 5p per Gb (assuming a typical street price of £110), putting this drive on PC Pro's A list. Technically you can also attach this drive to USB1 but with a 50x slower transfer speed the drive is unusable (a 12 min USB2 file transfer takes 6 hours via USB1 if it finishes at all). You can fit a Belkin or Startech USB3 PCIe/PCI card to upgrade transfer speeds with an older Windows desktop PC if necessary. The short 40cm USB3 cable supplied is apparently advantageous for getting enough USB 5V power through to run the hard drive, although the drive works fine for me with an Amazon Basics 1m USB3 cable and our desktop PC's USB2/USB3 ports.

The drive's bundled backup software is basic and seems serviceable, but I have Acronis True Image Home 2014 PC Backup and Recovery and besides for most of my backups a simple drag and drop suffices as my folder of the kids camcorder videos and photos from 2005 never changes anyway. I don't use the Passports iCloud option either as I have plenty of free alternatives from work and iClouds only cheap for Gb not Tb. Speed wise the drive was identical in operation to my larger WD USB2 drives via USB2, but read/write speeds were 2 to 3 times faster via my USB3 ports. Drive performance statistics from CrystalDiskMark suggested that via USB3 this passport drive's 98 and 72 Mb/s read&write transfer rates weren't that much slower than my main WD Black internal SATA drives sequential read&writes of 126 & 122 Mb/s. Via my PCs Startech PCI USB3 port (not the fastest), a 2Gb folder of photos drag&drop transferred in 75 seconds and a 10Gb folder took 6 min 50 seconds - our PCs/laptops run under Windows 7/8. So decent enough file transfer speeds, and fine for the main use of taking lots of files to and from the office or college. These days most of the hard drive components come from the same factories to be assembled by WD or Seagate etc. so I doubt there is really much to choose between the major hard drive manufacturers in terms of reliability.

I never treat these external drives as reliable backup though - anything spinning at 5,000+ rpm will fail eventually and if we are unlucky it will fail sooner rather than later. In fact the hard drive failure rate is around 5% in the first year alone (higher actually in the first year than in years two and three owing to manufacturing faults and misshandling at the warehouse/couriers during delivery). After 4 years continual use, PC Pro estimate that around 25% of hard drives will have failed. However at least these 2.5" laptop drives are specially shock toughened to withstand mobile use compared to their 3.5" desktop counterparts. Data is more at risk on any external hard drive compared to internal versions though, e.g. from experience I know the 5V power feed in the USB2 lead can short and fry the motherboard/CPU, or you can simply drop or lose the hard drive when lugging it between PCs - and ironically hard drives running cool (below 27oC) are around twice as likely to fail than those running at 40oC. Ideally keep one copy of crucial data/photos at a different location (if lightning, 'ransom' malware, or a thief strikes, all the PCs hard drives may go together) and keep a copy on your PC main drives as well, then chances are you won't lose all the copies at the same time. Still a nice ultra-portable drive from a respected manufacturer and pretty good value at £100 for the 2Tb external storage, so 4*. It has a three year warranty, and 14 months on the WD Ultra drive is still working perfectly (make sure you keep the receipt or the warranty counts down from the manufacture date which could be 11 months before you buy - the online Amazon order details count as a receipt).
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 31 January 2015
The "install it and forget it" title is of course a compliment! I have used this disk for Time Capsule backups since January this year, and it has worked flawlessly. The disk comes formatted for Windows, but Mac users can easily prepare the the disk for use by running the OS X Disk Utility.

The build quality inspires confidence, and the device looks very businesslike in the Titanium finish. Highly recommended either as a portable disk, or a backup disk that can live in almost any small free space on your desk (as the photo shows).
review image
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on 7 July 2014
Unstable from the beginning and then tonight malfunctioned and the computer couldn't read it! I've only had it 2 weeks and all my work and personal files were on there, at least the important ones were saved to dropbox. Sending it back, let's hope the replacement work longer!
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