My pet peeve with the MacBook Air Retina is the lack of SD card slot and I’ve never been without one since I started using laptops. I do a considerable amount of multi camera video shooting making the loss of SD card slot more than just a minor annoyance. I can’t effectively do my work if the camera need to be tethered to the laptop during file transfer.
The first solution I used is an el cheapo SD card reader from al-Murah and USB A to USB C adapter from Mr. DIY. The total cost is less than RM10. However the form factor is super clunky and had too many parts. It’s awkward to insert and remove the SD card while the thing is attached to the laptop. Worse, it made the next port crowded.
Enter the Transcend RDC 2 that have SD Card, Micro SD and USB A port. The design with that short bit of cable gives better clearance and handling. Priced at RM59 this solution is 6 times more expensive.
Is the Transcend faster? Yes, but not by much. Definitely not 6 times faster.
As you can see, only the write speed is significantly higher while read speed is almost identical.
While we at it why not we test the USB A port on the Transcend.
Adapters do incur speed penalty but in this case Transcend is absolutely horrible. Almost 90% loss of performance compared to the baseline. This pretty much relegate the port for charging phones or used with keyboard and mouse.
Conclusion? If you really need a robust SD card reader on regular basis then the Transcend might be worth it. Else any el cheapo one will do. The USB A port is a nice bonus but the speed penalty is way too much for any serious use.