by Lyle Smith

Lexar Professional Workflow Reader Review

The Lexar Professional Workflow Reader Solution is a modular card reader that supports up to four cards at once via swappable reader cartridges using just one USB port. The novel design makes it currently the only such product on the market. The core of this device revolves around the Professional Workflow Hub HR1, which is a four-bay cabinet that is compatible with the most popular card formats, including: XQD, CompactFlash, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC) Ultra High Speed-I (UHS-I), and Secure Digital High Capacity UHS-I. The Lexar reader was developed in response to videographers' and photographers' need for an efficient way to transfer their huge amounts of RAW image files and HD, 3D, and 4K video files on various types of memory cards. As such, this Lexar solution provides them with much faster transfer rates with a more seamless way for off-loading their data.

Its modular design allows the hub to adapt to changing technology in order to accept subsequently developed card readers as they are introduced into the market. Additionally, with its USB 3.0 compatibility, the Lexar Solution transfers RAW images, high-res photos, and HD, 3D, and 4K video files as fast as the cards will allow.

The Lexar Professional Workflow Reader Solution comes with a two-year limited warranty and is compatible with both PC and Mac systems. The street price of the system is currently priced at $79.95. This price does not include the card readers as they are sold separately at price of approximately $28.55 each. For this review, our 4-bay configuration is set up with: 2x SD card, 1x CompactFlash card, and 1x XQD card.

Specifications

  • Model Number: LRWHR1RBNA
  • Components: Hub HR1 and CFR1, SR1, and XR1 Readers (sold separately)
  • Computer Interface: USB 3.0 (backward compatible with USB 2.0)
  • Data Transfer Rate: Maximum: 640 MB/sec (with USB 3.0)
  • Power Requirements: 2.7 to 3.6V
  • Memory Card Compatibility
    • SDHC/SDXC UHS-1
    • CompactFlash UDMA
    • XQD
  • Operating Temperature: 32-122°F / 0-50°C
  • Dimensions
    • Hub: 3.3 x 4.3 x 6.0" / 8.5 x 11 x 15.3 cm
    • Readers: 2.4 x 2.9 x 0.9" / 6.0 x 7.4 x 2.3 cm (each)

Design

The Lexar Professional Workflow Reader Solution is a sturdy device and is very slick looking despite its bulky appearance.

The Lexar reader has a shiny, black chassis and the front panel is where users access the 4 bays.  If you need to transfer data from a single card, the card readers can be used individually by simply by removing them from the hub and connecting it to a USB cable located at the rear. Additionally, the card readers come with small rubber covers that can be put on when not in use in order to protect it from dust and other elements.

The inputs for the power and USB cable are located on the back, note that AC power is required to use more than one of the readers at a time, USB power isn't sufficient to drive them all at the same time. 

Usability

The readers are currently available in CompactFlash, SDHC/SDXC UHS-I, and XQD options. Any combination of the three can be used simultaneously, which is very useful to photographers and videographers working with different media types. In addition, up to four of the same readers can be used to support intensive single-source transferring applications and are compatible with USB 3.0 (and backward compatible for USB 2.0) like the hub itself. The transfer speeds of large files were as expected and on par with Lexar's Dual Slot USB 3.0 Reader.

Setting up the reader is very easy, just simply plug in the supplied power cord, insert your readers of choice into the hub, and start transferring files. In testing we found the power cord to be a required aspect, so at least for now the USB cable itself can't provide for all four modules at the same time. This means mobile users will need to find a power source for the 4-slot reader or opt to use one reader at a time outside of the stack. As for the memory cards themselves, they slot in and out easily and are very accessible to the user as the images above demonstrate. The SDHC and CF readers are standard manual slot-loading, whereas the XQD reader is spring loaded.

Conclusion

The Professional Workflow Reader Solution is designed mainly for the video and photo enthusiast, providing excellent flexibility for those who work with a lot of memory cards throughout the day. It is available at a street price of roughly $79.95 (not including the card readers) and is the only product of its kind on the market.

The Professional Workflow Reader Solution makes the life of photographers and videographers much easier as the issue of compatibility of memory cards--which can be pretty messy--is often overlooked. With its fast transfer speeds, simultaneous multiple-source off-loading as well as its wide range of configurable options relating to media types, Lexar’s solution creates an efficient and more streamlined method for transferring data.

Pros

  • Excellent multi-card performance speeds
  • "Future-proof"
  • Sturdy build

Cons

  • Not very mobile due to its size
  • A bit pricey with the purchase of four card readers

Bottom Line

For creative professionals who deal with a lot of memory cards at once, the Lexar Professional Workflow Reader is a great tool to move files from four cards at once, with swappable bays to reconfigure based on project demands. 

Lexar Professional Workflow Reader Solution at Amazon.com

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