When I purchased my MacBook Pro a year ago, it was pretty much impossible to find a USB 3.0 card reader, let alone one that included SDXC in their specifications – but at the time, there wasn’t any hurry to purchase one anyway, since I always used the SD card slot on my iMac to copy files to my external drives. But now that I’ve been shooting a lot on location, being able to view my clips on the spot will soon become a necessity. So just how well does the SanDisk ImageMate USB 3.0 cope with the new V90 cards? I recorded around 53GB (a sort-of average amount for a typical two-hour shooting session) of HLG ALL-Intra 400Mbps to a Panasonic 128GB V90 card. Transferring the file from the SanDisk to my 2017 iMac using the Mac’s own card slot took 9 minutes, 21 seconds. Using the ImageMate took 21 minutes – over twice as long! Connecting the ImageMate to my 2016 MacBook Pro via a USB-C adapter, the transfer time was just 9 minutes, 35 seconds, only a few seconds slower than the iMac’s built-in card slot. Out of curiosity, I performed one more test – connecting the ImageMate to the iMac using a USB-C adapter, I was able to get a transfer time of 9 minutes, 30 seconds – practically identical to the results obtained with the MacBook Pro.
So, I can’t really complain about the speed of the ImageMate at all – but the design and build quality leave a lot to be desired. While the USB cable is impressively rugged, the device itself is made of flimsy plastic with no protection whatever for the exposed SD card slots when not in use, and the included magnetic stand is one of the shoddiest designs I’ve ever encountered. Still, at only $30.00 USD, I guess it’s recommendable.