Lexar vs Sandisk USB 3,0 Card Reader

Today, in the digital darkroom, the photographer needs a few tools to make the workflow as fast as possible. In this review I will write about a tool you almost can't live without if you use a camera with a high-speed Compact Flash or SD memory card.


History
For many years I have used a Sandisk Extreme USB 2,0 card reader and about a year ago I bought the newest version with USB 3,0. Recently I have updated with an extra reader from Lexar, both card readers are super fast compared with the older standard USB 2,0, but do they transfer images and videos with the same speed? One thing I can promise you is a significant improved workflow with much time saved.

If you use standard memory cards, these professional card readers are overkill unless you use UDMA CF or SD USH-I cards, to get optimal transfer speeds. A lot has happened since the USB 2,0 was released many years ago and memory card capacities has been growing dramatically to keep up the pace with the mega-pixel war. If you Google "USB 3,0 CF card reader", you won't find many different brands to choose from, and personally I prefer to buy one from one of the card manufactures and today Sandisk and Lexar are the most known companies.

Transfer Speed

Copying a memory card to PC (Sandisk CF Extreme UDMA 16GB 60MB/s) 

Transferring 10GB from Sandisk usb 3,0 to PC (7200rpm): 2 minute 49 seconds *
Transferring 10GB from Lexar usb 3,0 to PC (7200rpm): 4 minutes 42 seconds *
Transferring 10GB from Sandisk usb 2,0 to PC (7200rpm): 10 minute 50 seconds *

* Transfer times vary and depend on the computer.


Lexar Professional Dual-Slot USB 3,0 Reader 

The reader boasts an innovative pop-up mechanism that protects the card slots by allowing you to close the reader when not in use. And with a compact, portable design, you can take it on the go and its smooth contours help it easily slip in and out of your photo bag or briefcase. Personally I would prefer a matt finish because the glossy Piano finish is a fingerprint and scratch magnet and after one day of use, the top of the reader looks rather ugly. I was disappointed over the transfer times when I made my tests, the Lexar USB 3,0 reader apparently can´t reach max transfer times unless you use Lexar cards and that might be true of the Sandisk reader too, but I don´t own any Lexar cards, so I can't make that test. If you want the most rugged reader - this is the one!.   

Rating: Build Quality: 8/10 - Functionality: 8/10 - Performance: (8/10)


Conclusion - Pros:
 
+ Supports SDHC, SDXC, SD-UHS-I and UDMA 7 CF and older cards
+ Pop-up design protects card slots when not in use
+ High quality materials
+ Rugged and compact body
+ Built for Speed with Lexar cards (Up to 500MB/s)
+ USB 3,0 

  Conclusion - Cons:

- Quite Slow, unless you use Lexar cards
- Glossy Piano finish looks good, but its a fingerprint and scratch magnet!


Sandisk ImageMate® All-in-One USB 3,0 Reader

WOW, the transfer times from this reader is lightning fast with my Sandisk UDMA memory cards, it took less than 3 minutes to transfer 10GB images to my computer. The low weight and slim design makes this reader very good for travel too, but it has sharp edges, I would prefer rounded edges!. On a few occasions I have bend the pins in the CF card slot, the "rail" where the card travels into the reader is not precise enough and you have to be very careful not to destroy your card or reader, but if you're cautious this won't happen!. Another annoying thing is the supplied magnetic stand, which is completely useless, because the cable is so stiff that it makes the reader tip over and it becomes very unstable. If you want the fastest workflow with your Sandisk memory cards - this is the one!.     

Rating: Build Quality: 7/10 - Functionality: 9/10 - Performance: 10/10


Conclusion - Pros:

+ Supports SDHC, SDXC, SD-UHS-I and UDMA 7 CF and older cards
+ Extremely fast transfer speed (Up to 500MB/s)
+ Low weight of only 79 g.
+ Fully backwards compatible with USB 2.0 systems
+ Fits easily in a computer bag
+ Very slim - only 10mm thick
+ USB 3,0

  Conclusion - Cons:

- Pins in the CF card slot are easily bend!
- Detachable metal stand is very unstable because of the stiff cable
- Sharp edges


Summary
Both these readers gives you the ultimate high-speed performance to accelerate your digital workflow and you won't be disappointed. If you use Sandisk cards buy the Sandisk reader and Lexar users are best of with the Lexar reader. The Lexar is the most rugged, but the transfer times are slow when using my Sandisk cards, the Sandisk reader is lightning fast but less robust. 

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