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Lexar launches its fastest-ever CFexpress Type B card reader, but there's a catch

Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Reader
(Image credit: Lexar)

Lexar has released a new super-fast memory card reader exclusively for CFexpress Type B cards. Its big selling point is its USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 interface, which enables transfer speeds up to twice as fast as a USB 3.2 Gen 2 card reader. That might just sound like marketing hyperbole, but in the case of the best CFexpress cards, you really do need that extra data bandwidth to exploit their maximum read/write speeds.

Thanks to its new super-fast USB connection, the Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Reader boasts read speeds of up to 1700MB/s - enough to genuinely max out a CFexpress type B card in a way almost no other reader can. Included with the reader is a 30cm 2-in-1 USB Type-C to USB Type-A cable, as well as a USB Type-C to Type-C cable.

Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Reader

(Image credit: Lexar)

But hold up! There's just one, rather large, problem here. While this card reader may be USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 capable, chances are your computer is not. Currently there are only a handful of desktop PC motherboards which support this USB variant, and your only other option is to purchase a specialist - and uncommon - PCI Express add-in board in order to add a pair of USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 ports to your existing PC tower.

You can of course connect this card reader to a much more commonplace USB 3.2 Gen 2 port, but then the reader will operate at Gen 2 speeds, so you loose any speed advantage.

The only other 'solution' is to connect to a USB 4 port, as featured on the latest Apple M1 Mac computers, or a few of the latest high-end PCs. This is because USB 4 is backward-compatible with USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (and all other versions of USB 3). But this begs the question: why didn't Lexar simply make a USB 4 card reader in the first place, instead of the soon-to-be-obsolete final revision of USB 3?

And in case you're now totally confused about the infuriatingly and needlessly complicated USB 3.x naming system, don't worry, so are we! So here's a handy table to help us all out:

USB naming and speed comparison
Current namePreviously calledSpeed (theoretical max)
USB 4N/A40Gbps (5000MB/s)
USB 3.2 Gen 2x2N/A20Gbps (2500MB/s)
USB 3.2 Gen 2USB 3.1 Gen 2, USB 3.110Gbps (1250MB/s)
USB 3.2 Gen 1USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB 3.05Gbps (625MB/s)

The Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Reader is available to buy now from B&H in the US, priced at $69.99.

Read more:

The best CFexpress cards

The best memory card for your camera

The best memory card readers

The best USB-C hubs

Ben Andrews

Ben is the Imaging labs manager, responsible for all of the testing on Digital Camera World and across the entire photography portfolio at Future. Whether he's in the lab testing the sharpness of new lenses, the resolution of the latest image sensor, the zoom range of monster bridge cameras or even the latest smartphones, Ben is our go-to guy for technical insight. He's also the team's man-at-arms when it comes to bags, filters and all manner of accessories – his lab is a bit like the Batcave of photography!