ProGrade Digital has announced a new memory card reader and this one’s designed for mobile creators to let them quickly copy and shift files two and from their Android and other portable Type-C USB devices. It supports UHS-II microSD and SD cards on the USB 3.2 Gen 1 protocol (which is way more than UHS-II SD cards need), letting you transfer to and from laptops and mobile devices at maximum speed.
ProGrade says that the new ProGrade PGM0.5 reader is in response to the “new wave of content creators [that] has emerged over the last couple of years”, primarily targeting platforms like TikTok and YouTube with many creators working in a mobile environment that doesn’t always afford the luxuries of weight and space that a home desktop solution demands. The PGM0.5 is their way to help support these more mobile creators.
The new PGM0.5 reader is a fraction the size of the regular desktop card readers we’ve seen from ProGrade in the past. But (in theory), it offers exactly the same level of performance you’ve come to expect from their desktop versions. We’ve been testing the speeds on one of the new readers for the past few days to see how it compares to ProGrade’s SD/CFast 2.0 desktop card reader and ProGrade’s dual microSD card reader and… Well, the results were interesting to say the least!
The transfer speeds with ProGrade’s UHS-II microSD cards were pretty much identical on the PGM0.5 as it was using the standard dual microSD card reader for the desktop.
But where it gets interesting is UHS-I microSD cards. Here, I’m using the SanDisk Extreme Pro 1TB microSD card (review here) and you can see that the read and write speeds of the PGM0.5 absolutely blow away the desktop reader. It looks like ProGrade’s new reader actually supports SanDisk’s protocol that allows them to break out of the standard SD specification and get those super-fast read transfer speeds.
The dual microSD card desktop reader, on the other hand, stood no chance! The transfer speeds with ProGrade’s desktop reader are pretty similar to those of SanDisk’s own mobile SD card reader shown in the review of that 1TB card.
When it comes to UHS-II cards, things are a little bit different. My ProGrade UHS-II card is currently tied up in a camera for a long-term timelapse, so I tested with an OWC Atlas S Pro (review here) UHS-II card. Here, the PGM0.5 offered some fairly respectable speeds.
The desktop reader, however, showed pretty much the same write speeds but significantly quicker read speeds.
Full-sized UHS-I SD cards showed similar results to the UHS-I microSD cards. Here, again, I’m using a SanDisk Extreme Pro 170MB/sec card and the new PGM0.5 actually gets pretty close to those read speeds.
With ProGrade’s desktop reader, we got the same sort of speeds we’ve seen before.
The fact that the new ProGrade reader supports the faster SanDisk read speed protocol is going to be a huge deal to a lot of creatives, especially those who want to backup or unload their very inexpensive SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I cards very quickly. Of course, you’re always going to get the best performance with UHS-II cards, but how many of us have cheaped out with the UHS-I cards because it’s all our cameras really need?
And with microSD cards, there isn’t really much other practical choice. Sure, ProGrade and SanDisk have UHS-II microSD cards, but virtually no devices support them and while their capacities definitely get pretty high, a 256GB UHS-II microSD card is significantly more expensive than a 256GB UHS-I microSD card for zero benefit on our cameras. ProGrade’s new PGM0.5 reader just makes those cheap UHS-I cards even better value than they already were.
With as small as it is, it makes for a great field reader that’s easy to pack for backing up those microSD cards in your drones, action cameras and 360 cameras or your full-sized SD cards inside your mirrorless cameras and DSLRs while you’re still out on location. And it’ll do it at decent speeds, too. And if you want some ideas for mobile backup solutions, have a read of this and this. In fact, in that second one, you can see that I’m using ProGrade’s desktop readers as part of my mobile SSD backup workflow. Those will now be switched out in that workflow with the new PGM0.5 reader.
Really, I can’t see a downside to this reader so far other than the fact that the UHS-II read speed in my tests is a tad slower than those of ProGrade’s desktop reader, but the increased read speed from SanDisk cards more than compensates for that as that’s pretty much all I use in my drones, 360, 3D and action cameras.
The ProGrade Digital PGM0.5 card reader is available to buy now for $34.99 from the ProGrade Digital website or pre-order at B&H.