Lexar has joined SanDisk, Sony, ProGrade, Delkin and Wise by releasing a CFexpress memory card reader. Surprisingly, it seems to be the cheapest on the market so far, coming in at a mere $50. It has a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C socket, although the supplied cable is Type-C to Type-A (there’s no Type-C to Type-C cable in the box).
The reader boasts “Next-Generation Transfer speeds” with a read and write of up to 1,050Mb/sec. This may sound at odds with the Lexar’s own CFexpress cards boasting an impressive 1,750MB/sec read speed, but this is more a limitation of USB 3.1 Gen 2, which caps out at 1,250MB/sec.
While not being able to utilise the full 1,750MB/sec of Lexar’s own CFexpress cards is understandable due to the speed limitations of USB 3.1 Gen 2, the decision to only include a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A cable is not. This limits it to 625MB/sec. Fine if you’re only using UHS-II SD or even CFast, but for CFexpress? It cuts the transfer speed down to a third of the card’s ability.
Perhaps it’s a cost-saving exercise to allow compatibility for the most amount of people while keeping the price lower than the competition. Personally, I think it’s worth paying the extra $10-20 for the convenience of having both Type-A and Type-C cables included with a card reader.
The Lexar CFexpress card reader measures in at 56.2 x 47.28 x 12.85 mm and weighs a mere 21g. It’s compatible with both PC and Mac and operates from -10°C up to 70°C. Lexar says that it’s “compatible with only CFexpress Type B memory cards”, which means that it probably won’t work with your XQD cards.
It’s available to pre-order now for $49.99, but don’t forget the cost of the extra USB cable if you want to be able to utilise the full speed of USB 3.1 Gen 2.