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Appeared on: Sunday, October 26, 2014
Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader review


1. Features

Avid photographers, videographers, design studios or printing houses typically invest in high-speed, high -capacity media cards in order to get their large images or videos stored fast. But when it comes to transferring that content to a PC or MAC, the selection of the correct media reader is critical in order to avoid slow transfer speeds and delays.

Kingston is proposing the USB 3.0 Media Reader (model FCR-HS3 ) as a solution for reading your media cards. Compatible with all major media cards types, the device can quickly move data between multiple devices. It can be used at home or on the road, since its convenient size makes it ultra-portable. USB 3.0 offers the same ease-of-use and plug and play capabilities as previous generations of USB technologies but with a performance increase ( up to 5.0Gb/s - 10 times more than USB 2.0) and better power management. But still, this USB 3.0 Media Reader is backwards compatible with USB 2.0.

The USB 3.0 Media Reader works with the following Flash card formats: CompactFlash, CF Type I (UDMA 0-6), CF Type II (UDMA 0-6), SD, SDHC, SDHC UHS-I, SDXC, SDXC UHS-I, microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC, Memory Stick/M2, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick M2.

It is compatible with all major Operating systems - Windows 8 / 7 SP1/ Vista SP1, SP2 / XP SP3 / Mac OS X v.10.6.x + and Linux v.2.6.x +.

Backed by a two-year warranty, the black-colored device features a metal construction with a built-in LED indicator and three-foot USB 3.0 cable. Its size is just 3.66" x 2.07" x 0.63" (93.17mm x 52.68mm x 16.00mm):

At the rear side of the small device there is the USB 3.0 port:

The front side is covered by the various media card slots:

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2. Benchmarks

For our transfer rate benchmarks we used two memory cards from Kingston - the MicroSDHC U1 32GB and the SDHC 32GB UHS-I U3 flash cards. We also used two flash readers, the Kingston MobileLite G3 that we have already tested at CDRInfo.com and of course, the new Kingston USB 3.0 media reader. The readers were connected to a PC equipped with VIA USB 3.0 and an Intel USB 3.0 controllers. The VIA controller features the UASP/Turbo mode, which boosts the data transfer rate between the controller and the card reader.

Below you see the results we got from the CrystalDiskMark benchmark with the Kingston USB 3.0 media reader plugged into the VIA USB 3.0 controller and the MicroSDHC U1 32GB flash card inserted into the reader.

The same benchmark with the Kingston USB 3.0 media reader plugged into the VIA USB 3.0 system but now with the with the Kingston SDHC 32GB UHS-I U3 flash card flash card:

Below we summarize the results the results:

CrystalDiskMark - Kingston MicroSDHC U1 32GB
 

 

Sequential Read MB/s
Sequential Write MB/s
512K random read MB/s 512K random write MB/s 4K random read MB/s
4K random write MB/s
Kingston USB 3.0 media reader Intel USB 3.0 controller
93.90
44.35
60.44
0.805
9.307
0.322
VIA USB 3.0 controller, UASP disabled
94.74
44.35
56.28
0.754
9.347
0.284
VIA USB 3.0 controller, UASP enabled
94.20
44.39
59.98
0.859
9.192
0.303
Kingston MobileLite G3 reader Intel USB 3.0 controller
88.86
44.31
70.63
0.767
5.329
0.355
VIA USB 3.0 controller, UASP disabled
92.62
44.40
71.47
0.768
5.427
0.507
VIA USB 3.0 controller, UASP enabled
93.94
44.48
73.83
0.735
5.431
0.364

 

CrystalDiskMark - Kingston SDHC 32GB UHS-I U3
 

Sequential Read MB/s
Sequential Write MB/s
512K random read MB/s 512K random write MB/s 4K random read MB/s
4K random write MB/s
Kingston USB 3.0 media reader Intel USB 3.0 controller
95.99
82.37
62.32
3.391
9.982
1.289
Kingston MobileLite G3 reader Intel USB 3.0 controller
95.46
83.65
73.18
3.482
5.706
1.358

It looks like the Kingston USB 3.0 media reader has an edge over the Kingston MobileLite G3 reader in the 4K random read tests, but the MobileLite G3 contributed to a faster performance in the 512K random read test. In the rest tests the results were almost identical with both readers.


3. Summary

The Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader offers just what you are expecting from such a device: portability, multi-card support, fast reading and a solid metal construction.

Our simple transfer rate tests showed that it will fully take advantage of your flash card's speed, without slowing the communication speed with your PC. Compared with Kingston's smaller MobileLite G3 reader, it is of course bigger in size but it offers a wider compatibility with flash cards. We noticed that the Kingston USB 3.0 media reader was faster than the Kingston MobileLite G3 reader in the 4K random read tests, but the MobileLite G3 gave a a faster performance in the 512K random read tests. But generally, expect a similar, unconcerned performance from both devices.

The Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader can be purchased online for just $19.



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