Reviews |Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Reader

Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Reader Review

Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Reader review
Review

Price when reviewed

£69

$21
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Our Verdict

If you’re shooting with the latest cameras, then you’ll be in need of a card reader that can keep up with the action or more to point, the huge files that they create. Thankfully Lexar Professional has released the CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Reader. The 3.2 Gen 2×2 is the important bit and marks it out against the 3.1 reader Lexar already have on the market. In real terms that 3.2 Gen 2×2 means that if your computer is equipped with a compatible port, you can expect transfer speeds of 20GB/s (2500MB/s), which is impressive and a huge time saver as the mammoth files transfer from the small CFexpress card to your machine.

However, there is an issue, the number of generic computers with this type of connection is limited, although most photo and video-specific PC’s with USB 4 offers backward compatibility to 3.2 Gen 2×2. The bigger issue is that Apple seems to have skipped this generation of connection, so even though the MacBook Pro M1 Max features USB 4, it doesn’t support USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 just Gen 2×1 so you only get 10GB/s, far less than advertised.

Essentially, if you’re using a dedicated video or photography PC with the right compatibility then the Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Reader is a worthwhile investment, as it will save you hours. If you own a Mac then go for the cheaper and slower USB 3.1 card reader as you won’t benefit from the additional speed.

For

  • Ultra-fast USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 connection
  • Robust design
  • Easy to use

Against

  • Few computers make full use of USB 3.2 Gen 2x2
  • Large and heavy compared with other readers

What is the Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2, Gen 2×2 Reader?

The speed gained through using the latest CFexpress cards is incredible, and the latest Lexar Professional Diamond card offers a way to maximise the transfer speeds up to 1900MB/s. The only issue is that until now, almost no card readers could keep up with the pace.

Now the Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Reader has arrived, and with this high-speed connection, this CFexpress card reader will enable you to download files at speeds just shy of Lexar’s fastest card.

There is, however, one issue for Mac users; while PC users can, for the most part, take advantage of the ultrafast speeds as long as they have USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports, Apple MacBook Pro users are unable to access this generation of USB. MacBook Pro’s skipped 3.2 Gen 2×2 generation adn went straight to USB 4 and ultra-fast Thunderbolt 4 without addind what was needed in between.

Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Reader review

While PC users benefit from the 20GB/s transfer speeds, Mac users must dwell on fast but comparatively sluggish 10GB/s.

Specification

  • Interface : USB 3.2 Gen2x2
  • Operating Temperature: 0° C to 40° C
  • Dimension (L x W x H): 98.4 x 64.85 x 8.20 mm
  • Weight : 130 g
  • System Supported : PC and Mac systems (Speed limited)
  • Warranty : 5 year limited warranty

Performance

The first thing that you notice about this card reader is the size and weight. It’s many times larger than the previous Lexar CFexpress reader and in looks, size, weight and design is a more premium product.

As with the CFexpress Type-A card reader I looked at previously the finish and large rubber base enable the reader to be used easily out in the field, it is in every respect a professional piece of kit with a price to go with it!

In this test, I instantly hit an issue. Despite the power and speed of the latest Mac silicon when it comes to any USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 device, it’s best to forget it and go, in this case for the older Lexar USB 3.1 CFexpress card reader I looked at a while ago. The performance on a Mac is pretty much identical, averaging around 850MB/s write and 920MB/s read.

Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Reader review

However on a PC equipped with an ASUS ProArt Z690-CREATOR WIFI motherboard, the true nature of the Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Reader was displayed. The speed of transfer was accelerated with transfer speeds around 1600MB/s with the Lexar Diamond CFexpress card when tested with AJA System Test.

This transfer was considerably higher than those achieved with the USB 3.1 CFexpress card reader helping to cut a considerable amount of time when transferring files ready for editing.

Ultimately on both Mac and PC, the quality and integrity of the card reader shone through. On the PC the accelerated performance sits well with a professional production or photographic studio. However, for those using a Mac workflow while you’ll benefit from the high-quality build, you’ll have to bypass on the additional speed.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the test, I was impressed by the performance of the Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Reader but disappointed about the compatibility issues with Apple MacBook Pros.

Lexar and its accessories are not alone with Apple compatibility issues and while devices work, the performance of many hard drives and peripherals are throttled by how Apple has implemented their technologies. For photographers and videographers, this is incredibly frustrating considering the huge sums that need to be spent on Mac hardware.

Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Reader review

However, for PC users, the Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Reader is an ideal choice and coupled with one of the excellent 3XS machines from Scan or a PC featuring the newer 3.2 Gen 2×2 rather than 3.2 Gen 2×1 USB ports you’ll have a reader that can keep up with the high demands of the latest cameras and editing workflows.

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