Best SD Card Reader?
The Kingston Workflow SD Reader is a powerful SD Card reader that can house two cards at a time providing a convenient and powerful platform. It operates at USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps). Using it with Canvas React Plus 256GB SD Card is a must-have combo to deliver a convenient, on-the-go, and fast data storage and portability solution.
Performance - 9.5/10
Value - 8.5/10
Features - 8.5/10
Build Quality - 8.5/10
- SD Reader can house two SD Cards
- USB 3.2 Gen 1 Interface
- 256GB Size
- Limited Lifetime Warranty of SD Card
In our last article, we tested the Kingston Workflow Station docking system. This time, we are taking a look at a workflow reader named SD Reader along with a UHS-II class 256GB SD card named Canvas React Plus. This Workflow reader has two SD Card slots that make it super convenient for the content creators to use two high-capacity cards at a time, eliminating the need for adapters and whatnot. It has a USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface, providing a 5Gbps data transfer rate. The SD card is the best in its class, operating at up to 300MB/s, which is heaven for 4k/8k videos and high-resolution photos.
- SD Reader has Dual slots and has USB 3.2 Gen 1 Interface
- The SD Card has Class-10, UHS-II Standard, U3, and V90
- Combining the SD Reader and SD Card provides a hassle-free high-data transfer platform
Let’s start with the Specs, which can be seen in the picture below.
Packaging and Unboxing
The SD Reader is shipped with minimal packing. The main packing is a transparent shell, and we can see the reader placed at the bottom. It comes with a 2-year warranty. It has a USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface and supports SDHC/SDXC and UHS I/II class SD cards.
WFS-SD is the part number of this product. We can see a USB Type-C to Type-C cable placed at the base of the container as well.
The SD card is also shipped inside a transparent shell. It has a limited lifetime warranty from Kingston. It is rated for up to 300MB/s speed. UHS-II, Class-10, and V-90 are all the best of the best, indicating that this is simply the best card that one could have in their camera.
SDR2/256GB is the part number of this SD Card. It is made in Taiwan.
Let’s start with the SD Reader, and then we will cover the SD Card itself.
The Workflow SD Reader has the same design and outlook as we saw on the USD mini-Hub in the Kingston Workflow Station content. The dimension of this unit is 62.87×16.87x50mm. Though it may appear as having aluminum, the reality is it is made of plastic material and finished in a fine silver color. There is a Kingston branding in a black color towards the top front.
- The salient features of the product are:
- Supports UHS-II SD cards, backward-compatible with UHS-I SD cards
- USB 3.2 Gen 1 performance
- Portable, stylish, and minimal design
- Style: Workflow SD Reader
Taking a look at the top, we can spot not just one but two SD card slots. This is like heaven for content creators, photographers, and videographers alike. Instead of using multiple adapters, one can simply use more capacity high-class SD cards in a single reader and take full advantage of USB 3.2 Gen 1 speed for fast data transfer speed. However, I wish Kingston had provided a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 interface. This would have been a killer combination.
The above picture shows Kingston Canvas React Plus Class 10 256GB UHS-II SD Card installed in the Workflow SD Reader. It is as simple as sliding the card in the slot and calling it a day.
There is a USB port on the bottom side of the SD Reader. It has a USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface. We can see the WFS-SD part number and made-in-Taiwan information over here. A serial number is also mentioned here.
Kingston has provided a USB Type-C to Type-C cable with the Workflow SD Reader. The user can directly connect this module to the PC instead of connecting it to the Kingston Workflow Station. This is where I would have wanted the USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface instead of Gen 1. Anyhow, it sits well in Kingston’s ecosystem, so there is no complaint there.
The above picture illustrates the possibility of using the Workflow SD Reader directly with the PC using the provided cable and installed SD Card.
Now, it is time to take a look at the SD Card, but first, let’s take a look at what Kingston is saying about it. “Kingston’s Canvas React Plus SD card delivers high-performance speeds which are designed to work with industry-standard professional cameras for creatives that shoot 4K/8K videos and high-resolution photos.
Designed with the latest UHS-II standards and top-of-the-line U3 and V90 speed classes, the Canvas React Plus SD enables you to shoot sequential burst-mode shots with recording speeds of up to 260MB/s1. Execute your creativity without experiencing slow speeds and dropped frames while maximizing workflow and efficiency. With transfer speeds of up to 300MB/s1, enhance your post-production process and handle heavy workloads with ease while capturing cinematic quality in high-resolutions.”
The salient features of this card include:
- Ultimate speeds to support professional camera use
- Capture 4K/8K Ultra-HD high-speed shots without dropping frames
- Top-of-the-line performance for professional content creators
The dimension of this card is 24x32x2.1mm. Here, 2.1mm is the thickness of this card. These are the standard dimensions of the UHS-II SD Card. There is a red and white color label on the top. Kingston is written on top. 256GB is the highest capacity available in this category. The following sizes are available:
This card is rated for up to 300MB/s in reading and up to 260MB/s in write. This is not guaranteed, and it would depend on the host device and its capability. The 32GB SD Card is FAT32 formatted, whereas the rest of the capacity cards are exFAT formatted.
In terms of the Standard and Class, this SD Card is Class 10, UHS-II, U3, and V90. What do these numbers mean? Let me run you down a succinct list of these numbers. Class 10 simply means that this card will have a minimum of 10MB/s data transfer speed. U3 implies that this card has a 30MB/s data transfer speed as a minimum.
These are standards. UHS-II can be thought of as being more relevant these days in SD Cards, and they have a theoretical bandwidth of 312MB/s. UHS represents bus type. Lastly, there is the Video Speed Class, which is represented by a symbol V. V90 above, which means the card would have a minimum of 90MB/s data transfer speed in that class.
Looking at the backside of the card, we can see that this card is made in Taiwan. There is a lock switch on the side that can be slid to prevent writing to the SD Card. There are pads on the top that make contact with the Workflow SD Reader circuitry.
We have used the following test bench configuration for the testing:
- AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
- GIGABYTE X670E AORUS MASTER
- EKWB Nucleus CR360 Lux D-RGB
- Sabrent Rocket 32GB DDR5 4800MHz
- XPG S50 Lite 1TB NVMe SSD [For OS]
- Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB NVMe SSD [For Data]
- MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio
- Be Quiet! Straight Power 11 850W Platinum
- Open-Bench Setup
Windows 11 is used with all updates till the date of testing. We have used the following test suites:
- CrystalDiskMark Benchmark
- ATTO Disk Benchmark
- Blackmagic Disk Benchmark
Since the Workflow SD Reader has a data transfer rate of 5Gbps, using it on Kingston Workflow Station alone or directly with the PC is one and the same thing. You would get the same transfer rates and similar results.
We started with the CrystalDiskMark. The sequential read speed on Q1T1 was 288MB/s, and it was 288MB/s in write. This is too good a performance from this SD Card. Even the sequential read and write from Q8T1 are quite impressive, to be honest, for this SD Card.
Next, we ran the ATTO disk benchmark. We saw a maximum of 252.08MB/s in sequential reads and 274.29MB/s in sequential writes. This is also a good result.
Next, we ran the most important benchmark that has the most significance for this type of storage device. The Blackmagic Disk Benchmark not only measures the relevant read and write performance but, more importantly, checks if the storage device can support the listed format and what the performance is like in that format. So, how did this Kingston Canvas React Plus Class 10 256GB SD Card perform? The above picture says it all. This card is an absolute monster. Just check the 4k and 8k figures.
Real World Performance
We then decided to push the limit and made a folder of pictures and videos with a size of approximately 27 GB. It was placed on Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB Gen4x4 NVMe drive and then copied from this drive to Kingston SD Card. It was ensured that the source was not bottlenecking this whole operation.
It took 9.537 minutes to copy this 27GB folder from the NVMe SSD to the SD Card at an average speed of 49.827MB/s. This is an impressive performance.
Next, the same folder was copied to another folder on the same SD Card.
It took 10.966 minutes to complete this operation at an average speed of 45.521MB/s. Clearly, this SD Card is performing that well.
In the last article, I took a look at Kingston Workflow Station and USB mini-Hub Reader. They have got my praise despite some observations about plastic and wobbling. This time, I have tested Kingston Workflow SD Reader and Canvas React Class 10 256GB SD Card. The workflow SD Reader is a must-have accessory for content creators, photographers, videographers, etc., for it offers dual SD Card slots and has a USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface (5 Gbps data transfer rate). It works alone as well as in tandem with the Workflow Station.
The dimension of this SD Reader is 62.87×16.87x50mm. It has a silver finish that seems aluminum, but it is not. It is made of a plastic material. On one hand, it seems like a good choice because if it is designed around on-the-go requirements, then it needs to be lightweight. Aluminum would add more to the weight. Anyhow, it is up to the user to judge or decide. It is still quite sturdy. Kingston has provided a USB cable having a Type-C to Type-C interface.
The Kingston Canvas React Plus Class 10 UHS-II SD Card is available in four sizes: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. We have tested the 256GB. Speaking of its standards and classes, it is Class 10, UHS-II, U3, and V90 cards. In other words, it is absolutely the beast of a card of its kind in every category. It uses the exFAT format. This SD Card is rated for up to 300MB/s in read and 260MB/s in write as per Kingston in-house testing, though this would depend on the host device and certain other parameters.
We have used the same test bench that we used for the Workflow Station and USB mini-hub testing. But this time, we added a little real-world testing in our test suite as well. In our synthetic testing, this SD Card has performed quite well, reaching up to 288MB/s in sequential read and 252MB/s in sequential write. These figures sit closely to the rated speeds by the manufacturers. We then prepared a 27 GB-sized folder containing photos and videos and had it copied from a Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus Gen4x4 NVMe SSD to a Kingston SD Card. The average speed was 49.827MB/s, and it took 9.537 minutes to complete this operation. We then copied the same folder on the SD Card to another folder on the SD Card. This time, it took 10.966 minutes to complete the operation at an average speed of 45.521MB/s. This is quite some performance from Kingston Canvas React Plus Class 10 UHS-II 256GB SD Card. The Blackmagic Disk benchmark also showed the capability of this card to handle the 4k/8k data transfer rates.
Well, this true level of performance does not come cheap either since this SD Card retails at USD 186 at the time of this writing. These types of cards are quite expensive. Kingston is offering a limited lifetime warranty on this card as well. The Workflow SD Reader is retailing at USD 23.93, and it comes with a 2-year warranty.
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[Hardware Reviewer & Editor]
Meet Nauman Siddique, a highly experienced computer science graduate with more than 15 years of knowledge in technology. Nauman is an expert in the field known for his deep understanding of computer hardware.
As a tech tester, insightful reviewer, and skilled hardware editor, Nauman carefully breaks down important parts like motherboards, graphics cards, processors, PC cases, CPU coolers, and more.
- 15+ years of PC Building Experience
- 10+ years of first-hand knowledge of technology
- 7+ years of doing in-depth testing of PC Hardware
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- I majored in Computer Science with a Masters in Marketing
- Previously worked at eXputer, EnosTech, and Appuals.
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