Transcend USB 3 micro SD and SD Card Reader Review

Introduction

There are two components within a laptop that can greatly prolong the life of your laptop – the hard drive and RAM. But sadly with newer MacBook Pros, ultra books, or any thin, light weight device; the RAM is now soldered onto the motherboard, making it virtually impossible to change. While the change to custom-designed SSD (solid-state drives) that do not follow the standard design, the only way to upgrade the hard drive is to buy a compatible SSD – which may or may not be available.

In the case of the MacBook Pro, they are available, but for some unknown reason are priced ridiculously high. So an alternative approach a lot of people have taken, such as myself, is to use semi-permanently keep a ‘micro Drive’ in the SD Card Reader (I don’t use a ‘micro Drive’ as such, I use a micro SD to ‘mini Drive’ adapter – will write about this in a future post).

Therefore, the SD Card Reader is sort of out of action. If you wanted to use the SD Card Reader, you had to take out the mini Drive and that’s not very convenient, considering the mini Drive is designed specifically to be tucked away, hidden in the SD Card Reader to avoid accidental bumps and help with portability as well as still allowing the use of protective sleeves.

For a while, I have been doing exactly this, removing the mini Drive every time I couldn’t be bothered to connect the camera directly to my MacBook Pro (I don’t use the Wi-Fi on the camera, as that’s far too slow to transfer RAW files); because it was like a once in a month event, now that I take photos more often, I needed an alternative solution – so I bought this USB 3.0 Card Reader.

I chose this Card Reader for three reasons:

  • I wanted a USB 3.0 Card Reader, most of the ones out there are still only USB 2.0
  • I wanted a reputable branded that I could trust would be reliable and won’t wreck my SD/micro SD cards
  • I wanted something compact, I only have SD/micro SD cards and don’t foresee myself using any other types of cards

Design

The USB 3.0 Card Reader looks like a USB thumb drive and if it weren’t for the exposed card slots on the side, it would easily have been mistaken for a USB thumb drive. Besides the card slots, the other distinguishing feature is a rather wide body.

Note: There’s no picture on the device to show which way SD/micro SD cards should be facing when plugged in. My tip for remembering which way up the cards should face is: the contact points is in the middle of the card, therefore SD cards need to have the side of the card with the contact pins facing down and for micro SD cards, the side with the contact pins need to be facing upwards.

Performance

Figure 1. Result of testing 64GB PNY SD card.

During my testing, I managed to get a read speed of 81.6 MB/s and a write speed of 59.3 MB/s when using my PNY 64GB SD card. This is just shy of the USB 3.0 Card Reader’s suggested read speed of up to 90 MB/s and a write speed of up to 60 MB/s.

Note: In order to use of the USB 3.0 Card Reader’s at its rated speeds, you will need to plug it into a USB 3.0 port and have SD/micro SD cards that support this kind of read/write speeds.

Conclusion

I’m really happy with the purchase, I no longer have to wedge out my mini drive out from the SD card slot built into my MacBook Pro in order to transfer my latest batch of photos from my camera’s SD card. Nor have to put up with slow transfer speeds.

Product Photos

Figure 2. Packaging front.
Figure 3. Packaging back.
Figure 4. Inside packaging just a card reader.
Figure 5. Card reader sitting on top of its packaging.
Figure 6. 64GB PNY SD card plugged into card reader plugged into MacBook Pro.
Figure 7. 64GB Samsung Pro micro SD card plugged into card reader plugged into MacBook Pro.

Where to buy

Amazon

Transcend USB 3.0 Card Reader (Black)
Transcend USB 3.0 Card Reader (White)