In this article I’ll be looking at Kingston’s FCR-HS3 USB 3.0 Media Reader. I recently acquired this widget during a black Friday sale on Newegg. It fulfills one major need of mine, Compact Flash support. There are a lot of different memory card standards and while things seem to be rapidly coalescing around mircoSD there are still niches for other standards. One of these standards is Compact Flash which was popular in the early 2000s.
While Compact Flash cards have pretty much been chased out of the market by SD and microSD cards they are still used in professional level cameras. This is because Compact Flash supports higher sustained write rates than most SD cards. I happen to own one of those cameras, although mine is nine years old, so its reliance on Compact Flash cards has more to do with its age rather than the performance that the standard can deliver.
$20 for a USB 3.0 enabled card reader seemed like a no brainer given that using my old Nikon D200 takes about ten minutes to copy a full 4 GBs over its USB 2.0 port. Needless to say using this Kingston card reader copy rates are much faster and takes about two minutes.
As card readers go this Kingston unit is a looker. It’s got sharp lines and a brushed finish which at a distance hides the fact that it is 100 percent plastic. From a build quality point of view it feels like a sturdy device. There are no obvious fit and finish issues and while it does flex under pressure it doesn’t feel like it’s going to snap in half. This card reader is designed to be stepped on, in the dark, by a hundred kilo man, wearing boots, and still work well enough to copy pictures of Charlie’s cat to my hard drive.
Overall I’m pretty impressed with how much quality Kingston’s managed to pack into such a cheap device. It does exactly what you want it to and looks good doing it. That’s gotta be a first in the history of external card readers.S|A