If you're going to label something as "professional", it had better look the part, and despite being of distinctly plastic construction, the Lexar Professional UDMA CompactFlash Dual-Slot Reader does a pretty good job of it. It's a two-slot card reader with a pop-up design; you simply press on the piano black card reader body and it jumps up, presenting an SD card slot resting above a naturally larger CompactFlash slot.
The rear of the unit houses a mini USB connector — a cable is provided — and that's pretty much it for the Lexar Professional UDMA CompactFlash Dual-Slot Reader's design. It's simple, it's lightweight, and for those looking at it from a photography viewpoint, the pop-up design makes it nicely portable, as it's easy to stow away without risking the pin connectors in any way.
Card readers aren't quite ten a penny, but they're pretty darned close — we've seen supermarkets selling multi-card readers for under 20 bucks quite recently, so for about three times that, the Lexar Professional UDMA CompactFlash Dual-Slot Reader needs to really stand out. It does this through support of faster and larger card standards — specifically, support for SDHC cards and UDMA (CF 4.0) CompactFlash cards.
If you're scratching your head at either appellation, then it's probably fair to say that the Lexar Professional UDMA CompactFlash Dual-Slot Reader isn't for you — at least, not yet. Both SDHC and UDMA CompactFlash change the standards for both flash memory formats, offering much greater storage capacities (primarily through the use of FAT32 file systems) and faster transfer speeds. There's nothing wrong with existing CF and SD cards — and the Lexar Professional UDMA CompactFlash Dual-Slot Reader supports those too — but for those using flash-heavy resources (such as most Digital SLR cameras) the size constraints and speed restrictions of those formats make quick shooting and image transfer a real pain. It's this market that the Lexar Professional UDMA CompactFlash Dual-Slot Reader addresses, at least until SDHC and UDMA CF become more commonplace. This is just a matter of time, however, with systems such as ASUS's highly popular EeePC utilising an SDHC card slot, for example.