I like to pride myself on staying up on the latest gear, but somehow Lexar slipped the HR2 by me.
The HR2 is a four slot docking station that uses USB3 modules and has a Thunderbolt2 interface (and USB3) on the back. Lexar offers several modules that read all types of media like CFast, Compact Flash, SD, MicroSD and two SSD modules. You can pick and choose the modules that suit your needs. I suppose that you could daisy chain multiple HR2 units for mad offloads although I have not tested that.
I configured the dock with 2 x Compact Flash readers, one SD reader and a MicroSD reader.
One might ask why spend the extra cash when one might own existing readers? For me, there are two reasons that make this desirable. First, when I am working in the field, my 15″ MacBookPro serves as the offload station. With two Thunderbolt and two USB3 ports, I am always swapping out devices. I have tried carrying port expanders like the OWC Thunderdock, but that has it’s own issues.
Secondly, and for me, more importantly, the HR2 allows me to offload many cards simultaneously. This can be a tremendous time saver. My typical shooting setup is a pair of Canon C300’s and an audio recorder. Now I can offload both A & B Cams and audio at the same time. There is nothing slower than a backup at the end of a shoot trying while packing gear to catch a flight.
In my initial tests, the HR2 on Thunderbolt has enough bandwidth to allow for all transfers without penalty. When compared to my dual USB3 reader, CF cards offload about the same time, but the MicroSD cards are much faster in the HR2. More than twice as fast!
The hub requires power (included) and comes without any modules for about $170. The modules I purchased (street price) included the CF card reader (CFR1) for $24, the SD reader (SR2) for $22, and the MicroSD reader (UR1) for $40. Grand total of $278. Other modules (list price) include the Thunderbolt CFast reader (CR2) $128, a 256GB SSD (DD256) $151 and a 512GB SSD (DD512) $216.
The modules can be used without the dock too. Most use USB with the exception of the CFast reader which can be purchased with Thunderbolt or USB3 connectivity.
One nice surprise I found with the SR2 SD reader is that it will read MicroP2 cards (SD UHS-II) at full speed. I had previously discovered how slow the MacBookPro’s internal SD reader was.