Saturday, 21 September 2013

Lexar Workflow HR1 Hub and Card Readers, initial impressions

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I've been using the new Lexar Workflow HR1 Hub (available to pre-order here) for a few days and I thought I would share some thoughts on it before reviewing it (maybe not here on my site as I'm very busy - it depends on how much interest is shown, I guess).

The first thing to note is that it's a USB 3.0 powered hub, and, if you haven't realized already it doesn't come with any card readers - they're extra, although at $28.41 each the CF and SD (SDHC/SDXC) relatively accessibly priced. If all four bays are used, that's a total of $193.60, and getting on to be pricey. Where things get interesting is of course that the hub is designed to be 'future-proof'. When a new card standard is launched, all you need do is swap out the card readers. And, to prove the point Lexar has announced a card reader for XQD cards, presently only used by the Nikon D4. At $44.99 / 39.95, it's pricier than the standalone Sony XQD Memory Card Reader but slightly lower than the firm's equivalent offering. I'm assuming they're positioning the hub for the new CFAST cards and others in pipe as well, but there's no mention of specifics currently, only a hint.

It shouldn't be a issue, as the card readers themselves can be used as standalone readers, which is neat, and come supplied with a USB 3.0 cable and soft neoprene cover to prevent detritus from enter the card slot. Each card reader slots into a male USB 3.0 connector at the rear of the reader bay, so it's a simple plug and play device. As for transfer speeds I've yet to really put it to the test - my main Mac is USB 2.0 though I will try it with an excellent photo-oriented Chillblast (UK custom-built) USB 3.0 PC that I have in for testing.

 

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