Kingston’s MobileLite G3 is a compact, portable USB 3.0-connected reader for all current variants of SD and microSD card (SD, SDHC up to 32GB and SDXC up to 2TB). That’s all it does, and it’s priced very fairly for such a simple device, at a few cents under $14. Yes, it really is available at local retailers for less than $14: we checked.
Does USB 3.0 give you an advantage over your existing USB 2.0 card reader? Unless you’re using very high-speed (i.e. ultra-high speed or ‘UHS’ class SDHC and SDXC) cards, probably not. With a Class 6 SDHC card, transfer speeds were identical using the MobileLite G3 over USB 2.0 and USB 3.0.
We got an average of 18.3MBytes/sec read and 11.2MBytes/sec write with large (2GB) files, and 17.3MBytes/sec read/8.3MBytes/sec write for collections of small files (1000x 500KB).
Those results equalled the performance of our test laptop’s in-built card reader – the speed was clearly limited by the card itself, not by either reader: unfortunately we did not have a higher-speed card on hand to test with.
A neat slide-out design protects the USB connector when not in use, and also protects an inserted SD or microSD card while in use, or in transit. The slide-out mechanism on the card-end is a bit wonky, though – it doesn’t feel nearly as solid as it should.
Overall, the G3 is cheap and cheerful. A good little card reader to accompany your SD-card based camera or microSD-based smartphone.