So far we only had one card reader in the household, a USB2 card reader from Kingston (FCR-HS215/1). But since raw files are getting larger and computers now support USB3 I felt it was time to upgrade and got a USB3 card reader from hama® for only € 15,99 (ex. VAT). While searching for USB3 card readers I found many models from various manufacturers that seemed to have quality issues and the last thing you want as photographer is to loose any original files before they’ve been processed and backed up. There were no reviews for this model from hama®, but sometimes no news is good news, so I got this one.
The official description is ‘USB 3.0 Card Reader, SD/microSD, aluminium’ (Item: 00123901) and it comes in various colors. I liked the small compact size, the metal casing and the fact that it doesn’t require any additional cables. It only supports SD (UHS-I) and micro SD cards but that is all I need. Sometimes less is more. I never understood those card readers with support for as many different formats as possible. The USB plug of the reader has a small removable cap. After several weeks of use I noticed that the USB plug was slightly bended down. So while the casing is indeed quiet solid, I am slightly worried about the durability of the USB plug.
The card slots are on the side and in case of my MacBook Pro that unfortunately conflicts with other ports next to the USB ports on both sides. So the card reader either has to be used in a USB3 hub or while the slots next to it are free. It is not a big issue for me. When I am in the office, a USB3 hub is connected and when I am on the road, the other ports are usually free. I haven’t been using the internal card reader for a long time as it often has issues recognizing and mounting cards.
Of course I was interested in the performance. Would it make a difference? After a large photo or video shoot it is nice not having to wait for ages for the images being transfered. For speed tests I used QuickBench with file sizes between 2 and 10 MB and two different SD cards.
When using a SanDisk Extreme® PLUS SDXC™ UHS-I card the USB3 speed started to pay off and the hama® card reader was able to read with an average of 91 MB/second, which was even slightly faster than the internal SD card reader of the MacBook Pro. With the USB2 card reader 19 MB/second was the maximum. On a shoot with several hundred images that is clearly a noticeable difference. The write speed difference is less extreme but how often do we write files from the computer to a SD card?
When using a SanDisk Ultra® SDHC™ Card the differences are less strong as the maximum transfer rate of the card is now the limiting factor. But also here the USB3 card reader is still twice as fast when reading files.
With the Kingston card reader I never had any data loss but often a card didn’t get recognized directly. So far the hama® USB3 card reader never had problems with any cards. They get mounted directly and file transfer always went fine.
For this price I think it is an excellent card reader that performs well and can always be with me in my camera bag without taking too much space.
- Compact size
- Fast data transfer
- Affordable price
- Position of the slots
- Durability of the USB plug