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The amount of USB 3.0 products in the market has been increased rapidly due to its greater speed; ~10x faster than USB 2.0 in theoretically. However most of the USB 3.0 products are only designed for USB flash drives not for other devices like card reader. Today we are going to introduce you one of the Kingston's latest USB3.0 products; USB 3.0 Media Reader for SD cards, Micro SD cards, CF cards and Memory Sticks.
Kingston Technology Company, Inc. is the world's independent memory leader. Founded in 1987 with a single product offering, Kingston® now offers more than 2,000 memory products that support nearly every device that uses memory, from computers, servers and printers to MP3 players, digital cameras and cell phones.
With global headquarters in Fountain Valley, California, Kingston employs more than 4,500 people worldwide. Regarded as one of the "Best Companies to Work for in America" by Fortune magazine, Kingston's tenets of respect, loyalty, flexibility and integrity create an exemplary corporate culture.
Package & Contents
Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader is packed in a sealed transparent container to ensure its purity and potential buyers could have better understanding about this product as well as its accessories. Basically Kingston USB 3.0 media reader does not come with any other accessory except a USB cable.
The USB cable of Kingston USB 3.0 media reader does not share the same cable as USB 2.0 devices as the connector comes with extra pins; Micro-B type USB. Two years warranty is given for Kingston USB 3.0 media reader which is definitely more than enough for such simple device.
A Closer Look on Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader
Flash memory cards are another type of popular handy storage devices besides USB flash drive. There are many types of flash memory cards such as SD, micro SD, CF, xD, MMC and etc. Different form factors have their own markets and purposes hence it is not odd that most of the users have more than a single type of flash memory card.
One of the disadvantages of having multiple types of flash memory cards is the card reader where different flash memory cards require different card readers. Hence having a card reader that can read multiple types of flash memory card is ideal for this solution (like Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader); not only convenient but also cheap.
Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader is not only a flash memory card reader but also equipped with USB 3.0 feature; about 10x faster than USB 2.0 in theoretically. Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader can read most of the common flash memory cards in the market such as CF type I & II, microSD, standard SD (SD, HC, XC) and Memory Stick.
Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader is backward compatible with USB 2.0 and it is definitely worth to get it if large data transfer is required like high resolution videos or photos. Most of the previous card readers will not able to read SDHC (4-32GB) or SDXC (64GB & above) but this is no longer an issue with Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader.
Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader comes with standard dimension at ~ 93 x 52 x 16 mm; neither too big nor too small since it has to support so many types of flash memory cards. The Kingston Media Reader's housing is pretty well built with quality materials; mixture of nice texture aluminum cover (for the top surface) and glossy plastic enclosure.
Media card reader is a simple device; just plug and play hence Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader does not come with any unique thing that we are unfamiliar with. There are four flash memory card slots for different types of flash memory cards and there is a USB 3.0 connector at the rear panel for connecting to the desktop or laptop.
Installation, Testing & Performance
Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader is a real plug and play device where neither additional driver nor software is required. The logo on the Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader will be lighted up in red color once a flash memory card is detected. For best result, USB 3.0 must be available on system or else it will be limited to speed of USB 2.0.
Notebook: HP EliteBook 2540p
Processor: Intel i7-640LM @ 2.13GHz
Memory: 4GB DDR3 1333MHz
Hard Drive: 250GB 7200RPM
Display: 12.1" LED-backlit WXGA anti-glare
Graphic Card: Intel HD Graphics
Optical Drive: Panasonic 9.5mm DVD RAM
Controller: Vizo PCI-102 ExpressCard
Monitor: Dell 22" Wide Screen LCD
Speaker: Edifier R501
Mouse: SteelSeries Ikari Laser
Mouse Pad: SteelSeries QcK+
HeadSet: Arctic Sound P311
Router: TRENDnet TEW-639GR
Operating System: Window XP Pro SP3/Win 7 Pro
Ambient Temperature: 27 Degree Celsius
For the benchmarking purpose, we have taken few flash memory cards (SD, SDHC and SDXC) to test out its performance in USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and comparing it with notebook integrated card reader. We used CrystalDiskMark to test out the read and write performance of the flash memory cards; repeated tests were conducted to get the most accurate results which is shown as above. Most of the notebooks come with integrated card reader (SD card since it is the most common and widely used for most of the gadgets) but its performance is yet up to performance stage. However there are significant performance differences when the flash memory card were tested with Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader in USB 3.0 mode instead of the USB 2.0 mode or the integrated SD reader. The performance in USB 3.0 mode is not really 10x faster than USB 2.0 mode, just about 2x better performance which is the expected in pratical; same for USB 3.0 flash drive with USB 2.0 flash drive.
If large data storage transfer is required and constantly needed then getting a USB 3.0 media reader is definitely a must item provided the system is already equipped with USB 3.0 or else getting a USB 3.0 PCI card (for desktop) or USB 3.0 Express card (for notebook) is not a bad idea since these products are not expensive. There are not many vendors or choices for USB 3.0 media card reader in the market and Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader is definitely one of the good choices with its awesome and reliable performance. 45USD is not really cheap but it will be definitely cheaper along the way when the market is ready to demand for it.
+ USB 3.0 technology
+ Multiple flash memory cards are supported
+ SDXC is supported
+ Awesome Kingston logo to show its activities
+ Slim & light weight
- Could be cheaper
Thanks to Kingston for providing this sample for us to review.
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