The MacBook Pro lacks many traditional external connection options, such as an SD Card reader or an HDMI port. In the place of all of those legacy ports resides two or more USB-C ports. USB-C is an uber-versatile form factor that will ultimately offer tons of flexibility in the future when it comes to external connections, but at this early stage in the game, the pickings are somewhat slim.
One of the major outcries that we’ve heard with regard to the new MacBook Pro centers around the lack of a built-in SD Card reader. It’s a valid complaint, as SD Cards are central to the workflows of many creatives who use Macs.
Aukey, who has produced several USB-C-oriented adapters already, offers a helping hand with its new USB 3.0 compatible Type-C Card Reader. This tiny, inexpensive, $9.99 adapter not only offers quick SD Card connectivity via USB-C, but features a slot for microSD Cards as well.
Should you consider it? Have a look at our hands-on video walkthrough for more details.
Unboxing and build quality
The Aukey Type-C Card Reader ships in a very small white box, which makes you realize just how small the actual reader is. An unboxing reveals an adapter that is less than two inches high, just over half-an-inch wide, and about a quarter-of-an-inch thick.
Aukey’s USB-C SD Card reader is comprised entirely of plastic and is as lightweight as one would expect from an adapter of its stature. The plastic doesn’t instill a great amount of confidence when it comes to build quality, but it doesn’t feel overly cheap either. I expect that this device will hold up to repeated usage as long as the user doesn’t treat it too rough.
I love the fact that Aukey’s card reader is small, because it means that I can just drop it in my laptop bag or sleeve and take it with me wherever I go. The downside of having a device this small is that it can easily be misplaced.
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SD Cards and microSD Cards
On the right side of the Aukey Type-C Card Reader, you’ll find two slots: one for a full-sized SD Card, and one for a microSD Card. Because this device is so ridiculously tiny, both cards will protrude from the side of the reader when inserted. It means that you’ll have to exercise caution as to not interfere with the reader while it’s connected to your MacBook. It also makes removing the card a little cumbersome when it’s sharing one of the two available USB-C ports on the side of the 2016 MacBook Pro.
In order to make this adapter as small as possible, compromises had to be made on design. If Aukey would have made the reader wider to incorporate a slot in the rear, then it would have been too wide to allow access to the second USB-C port on the MacBook Pro.
The great thing about USB-C is that it’s reversible and can be inserted in either direction. This means that Aukey’s Type-C Card Reader can be inserted right-side-up or upside down, and it still reads cards perfectly fine. Depending on the location of the accessory occupying the adjacent USB-C port, you may have to employ USB-C’s ability to be reversed in order to make the Aukey reader fit with your setup.
Once the reader is inserted, you’ll see a blue LED beneath the black translucent plastic to indicate connectivity. The LED will pulsate when data is being read from either card.
Although Aukey’s reader can accommodate both microSD and standard SD Cards, I strongly recommend only connecting one card at any given time. The reader can only read one card at a time anyway, so it doesn’t make sense to connect more than one card at once.
The read speeds afforded by the Type-C reader were okay, but not great. Compared to another SD Card-enabled USB-C dongle that I’ve used, the read speeds are noticeably slower.
Aukey Type-C Reader
Minix Neo C USB-C Multiport Adapter
As you can see, read speeds are about 14MB/second faster on the Minix USB-C adapter when compared to Aukey’s reader. Granted, the Minix adapter is much larger, and much pricier, but it’s something that you’ll nonetheless want to note.
If you occasionally need to connect SD Cards to your MacBook, then Aukey’s Type-C Card Reader is a decent choice. It doesn’t necessarily feature the best build quality, and there are some compromises that had to be made on design, but it’s likely one of the cheapest USB-C to SD Card readers that you’ll find currently. It’s also very small, and can easily fit in a pocket, laptop bag, or sleeve.
If SD Card connectivity is a regular part of your workflow, however, you may want to look for a more substantial solution that offers better build quality, and a design that incorporates a USB-C cable for more versatility connecting to the MacBook Pro’s ports.
What will you use to connect SD Cards to your new MacBook Pro? Please share your thoughts down below in the comments.