Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader review: USB 3.0 brings faster file transfer to iPad Pro

Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader Review 2

Of all the products that I’ve reviewed as of late, this is one of the ones I’ve been most excited for. Since getting the iPad Pro and trying to establish a video editing workflow with the extra large tablet, I’ve run into a few bottlenecks. The most obvious bottleneck has to do with transferring video from an SD Card to the iPad Pro’s flash storage.

All of the dongles that I had available were of the USB 2.0 variety, so transfer speeds were horrendously slow when trying to get 4K video files from my Panasonic GH4 to my iPad Pro.

Fortunately, the iPad Pro does support USB 3.0, which results in a much faster file transfer experience—it was just a matter of Apple releasing an accessory that supported the extra throughput. The first accessory to do so is Apple’s just-launched update to its Lightning to SD Card  Reader. The dongle looks very much like the previous version of the reader that debuted in 2012, but the Late 2015 update has USB 3.0 support in tow.

How is the experience when transferring large files to the iPad Pro with this new reader? Should those of you invested in a video or photo workflow consider dropping the $29.00 asking price for the updated version?

The answer to the latter question is an unequivocal yes. If you regularly find yourself transferring videos or photos to your iPad via SD Card, then you should absolutely invest in this updated camera reader.

In my tests, I use the same files on the same SD Card to transfer videos to my iPad using an old jerry-rigged 30-pin to Lightning SD Card solution, and Apple’s new Lightning to SD Card Reader. The new reader, unsurprisingly, ran circles around the old.

Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader Review 4

It’s difficult to garner exact stats when transferring files to the iPad, because it lacks the apps that allow for such measurement. That said, it’s readily apparent and quickly noticeable how much faster the USB 3.0-enabled reader is.

I wish I owned an older Lightning to SD Card Reader from 2012, because that would have let me perform a true side-by-side test to pit the old and new adapters against each other. Yet, I don’t really need to do a bunch of pseudo-scientific tests to be able to confidently tell you that the new adapter is much faster than the old adapter. If you have any sort of video or photo workflow on your iPad that requires transferring files from an SD Card, then treat yourself to one of these 29.00 adapters today.