There are many options out there for you to choose from with regards to CF card readers. One of the newer options out there is this new USB 3.0 unit from PixelFlash which they claim has “No Bend” Pins. I picked up the reader a while back and wanted to share my thoughts on it.
As I mentioned above, the main marketing point for this CF reader is that it has special pins that will not bend. This is no doubt a great feature to have, nothing sucks worse than not being able to read your CF card due to the pins being busted on your reader. The key to these no bend pins is the deep channels used to guide the card into place, on this reader they are about 3 times the length on your average card reader. This prevents the card from getting off track and bending the pins due to being misaligned.
This CF reader claims to be have transfer speeds of up to 500mb/s, though my testing was nowhere near that. Granted it shouldn’t be that quick for me, I do not have any USB 3.0 slots on my PC so I am limited to USB 2.0 speeds.
PixelFlash USB 3.0 No Bends CF Card Reader Spec Highlights
No-Bend Pins™ Design Completely Eliminates Risk of “Bent Pins”
USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Interface provides white-hot transfers up to 5 Gigabits/s and 500MB/s read
Lightning fast data transfer accelerates your digital workflow
Easy-to-carry portability and rubberized finish-take it wherever
Supports UDMA7 media, the latest UDMA transfer mode
A Few Small Annoyances
This is a great CF reader, but it does have one advantage/disadvantage for you depending on how you work and your technology setup. As you can see in the images of the unit it has a direct USB Plug instead of a USB cable. This is great if you lose cables easily, but it can become an issue if you use it on a machine with tightly grouped USB slots.
One way around that issue that I have been using myself is that I use a USB extension cable which allows me to still have it plugged into my machine, without making it hard to have other accessories plugged in as well.
The other annoyance is the orientation of the USB Plug. On all the machines in my home it is backwards meaning that if I plug the unit directly into the machine it is upside down, meaning the light and branding is facing down. Again, its still works great, but it can be annoying if you want to be able to see the status light.
My Final Thoughts
Overall this is a great CF reader, it is fast, reliable, and its pins do not bend. All of that and its available for merely $16, making it a no brainer in my opinion. I have been using this exclusively for over a month and I have had 0 problems. If you are in the market for a new CF reader, or maybe want a backup/travel unit then this is a great option.
The bottom line with this USB 3.0 reader, your weakest link in transfer speed will never be the card reader, it will always be your memory card speed or hard drive speed. You can pick up your own copy of this great CF reader from Amazon, it really is a great deal.