On Wednesday, Western Digital said that its line of My Passport Ultra portable hard drives (opens in new tab) are now available in select retailers and distributors, and at wdstore.com. They arrive in four colors (Black, Blue, Red and Titanium) and two flavors of capacity: 500 GB for $99.99 USD, and 1 TB for $129.99 USD ($79.99 and $119.99 in the WD Store, respectively). There's also a 2 TB version, but pricing was not provided.
The company said that these external drives come packed with WD SmartWare Pro (opens in new tab) backup software with Dropbox integration, hardware encryption, and password protection to safeguard against unauthorized drive access. Users can schedule a backup of their data from a connected laptop or desktop, manually back up the files or folders, or use Dropbox to back files up into the cloud.
WD also reports that the new external drives work great in Windows 8. "The WD Windows 8 app makes it easy to discover the digital media stored on your My Passport Ultra drive with your Windows 8 computer," the company said. "Your content is automatically displayed and organized so you can easily locate and enjoy your photos, videos and music."
The three portable drives connect via a USB 3.0 interface, thus transfer speeds are up to 5 Gb/s and USB 2.0 speeds are up to 480 Mb/s. The actual physical size depends on the capacity, but the 2 TB version measures 4.35 x 0.82 x 3.23 inches (HxDxW) and weighs a mere 0.50 pounds. The 500 GB model is just half an inch thin.
"WD's My Passport Ultra combines USB 3.0, a range of colors and capacities and the best software and hardware functions currently found in our line of My Passport portable storage drives to create the ultimate portable digital safe for today's active consumer," explained Jim Welsh, executive vice president and general manager of WD's branded products and consumer electronics groups.
All three drives are shipped with a USB cable, WD SmartWare Pro software, a quick install guide, and a soft, protected pouch to help shield the hardware from the daily knocks encountered by "today's mobile consumer." For more information about the My Passport Ultra series, head here (opens in new tab).