Reviews |Lexar Professional Multi-Card 3-in-1 USB 3.1 Reader

Lexar Professional Multi-Card 3-in-1 USB 3.1 Reader Review

Lexar Professional Multi-Card 3-in-1 USB 3.1 Reader Review
Review

Price when reviewed

£37

$27
Check current price

Our Verdict

The Lexar Professional Multi-Card 3-in-1 USB 3.1 reader is compact, sleek and looks pretty good too. It offers slots for CF, SD and MicroSD, which covers the most popular memory card types. What sets this reader apart, aside from the USB Type-C connection, is the build quality and design. It’s a solid well thought out piece of kit, and as far as card readers go, it’s the best I’ve seen.

For

  • Ultra fast transfer speeds
  • Sleek looks
  • Ergonomic design

Against

  • No CFast slot
  • CF is an ageing format

What is the Lexar Professional Multi-Card 3-in-1 USB 3.1 Reader?

Card readers are part of life for any photographer. While most cameras enable you to plugin and download directly, it’s easier to have a card reader permanently connected to your computer ready to go, especially when you have multiple cards to download.

The Lexar Professional Multi-Card 3-in-1 USB 3.1 Reader features slots for popular card types and utilises an ultra-fast USB Type-C connection.

Lexar Professional Multi-Card 3-in-1 USB 3.1 Reader Review

What makes this reader stand out against others is the design that makes it easy to insert and remove cards. Lexar has also included an ultra-fast connection for fast file transfer.

The Lexar card reader is, however, just a card reader, and an expensive one at that. So, is all the work on the design, and that ultra-fast USB connection worth it?

Features

As a compact portable card reader, Lexar has selected three of the most popular card formats including CF, SD and Micro SD. While SD and Micro SD are still widely used, the CF format is quickly becoming legacy.

However, with many people still using cameras such as the excellent 5D MKII the CF format is far from dead. Anyone using one of the latest Sony Alpha 7s will be more than familiar with SD and of course the GoPro Hero 9 Black takes MicroSD cards as do most other action cameras.

Lexar Professional Multi-Card 3-in-1 USB 3.1 Reader Review

Looking at those slots and there’s one UHS-II SDXC, one UHS-II microSDXC and UDMA 7 CompactFlash.

The card reader connects to your computer using a USB 3.0 Type-C Interface which enables the ultra-fast transfer speeds of up to 312MB/s. The maximum transfer speed for CF through the reader is 160MB/s.

Like most card readers, the Lexar Professional Multi-Card 3-in-1 USB 3.1 Reader has been designed to be portable and has a robust build to match.

The size of the reader is 80 x 89.2 x 21.5mm so small enough to neatly slip into a camera bag pocket.

Although heavier than a common card reader it’s still light at 99.8g not including the cable.

It also has an impressive range of operating temperatures from 0 to 40º and can be storage at -10 to 50º.

Build and Handling

What strikes you about the Lexar Professional Multi-Card 3-in-1 USB 3.1 Reader is the build quality. Picking up the small device and it feels weighty, something that is often missing from portable card readers.

It’s also very tactile; the slim design has a matt textured finish which has been thought through in the product design process. It’s a simple thing, but the product designers have obviously thought about the finger and hand positions as you push and pull cards in and out of the card slots.

Lexar Professional Multi-Card 3-in-1 USB 3.1 Reader Review

While other card readers feel like they have only been designed for function, this card reader feels far more ergonomic.

That product design goes all the way through, including the large rubber pad on the base which helps give extra grip on the desk.

Overall the build quality is excellent, beyond any other card reader I’ve looked at. The quality and aesthetic design are unquestionable, but the looks will come to nothing if the reader doesn’t perform.

Performance

The first part of the test involved using the reader on several shoots connected to a MacBook Pro 15-inch 2018 and connected through USB Type-C to optimise the performance.

To test the speed, I used the Blackmagic Design Disk Speed Test.

Lexar Professional Multi-Card 3-in-1 USB 3.1 Reader Review

Files were transferred from Sandisk UHS-II 64GB Card with a max transfer speed of 300MB/s to a MacBook Pro Nvme SSD with an average transfer speed of 2200MB/s.

The initial results were conclusive with, an average write result was 193.4MB/s and read speeds of 257.6MB/s.

I’m more than happy with this result which flys past any other external card reader I’ve tried.

Verdict

First and foremost the Lexar Professional Multi-Card 3-in-1 USB 3.1 Reader is one of the most elegantly designed pieces of photography kit I’ve seen.

It looks great, and the slim design and aesthetics make it easy to slip into a camera bag pocket and more importantly, easy to find when you need it.

Lexar Professional Multi-Card 3-in-1 USB 3.1 Reader Review

My only wish is that manufacturers would stop making card readers in just black and dark grey. On the desk in the studio black is fine, I know where it is. In the field hunting through bags, a bright Fluro pink, orange, green or blue would be better.

However, that does not detract from the fact that aesthetically and ergonomically this is the best-designed card reader that I’ve come across.

Then there’s the performance, from SD, MicroSD and CF the performance for each card format was excellent and only seemed limited by the quality of the card used.

At over £30 in the UK the Lexar Professional Multi-Card 3-in-1 USB 3.1 Reader is expensive, but then it has the quality and speed that means this card reader will last you for years.

If Lexar could keep the design and swap the CF for a CFast then that would be ideal.

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