Western Digital, owner of the SanDisk brand, has announced a new product called Pro-Dock 4, and it’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a card reader solution: you can combine four card reader modules with it, all of which can be read and close at the same time. connect them all to your computer using a single Thunderbolt 3 cable. This dock doesn’t just fill the hole left in my heart Lexar’s Workflow Hub, but it makes me completely forget it existed: the Workflow didn’t have a Thunderbolt daisy chain or a 260W power supply for charging devices and accessories (although I have to admit, Lexar’s SSD modules were pretty neat).
SanDisk says it will create modules for the dock that support CFast, CFexpress, Red’s Mini-Mags, CF, microSD, and SD formats.
The modules themselves will be available individually, which is great for a number of reasons. First, it allows you to mix and match the card reading skills of your dock: mainly shoot red but use a Canon R6 as a B-cam? You can load three Red Mini-Mag readers and a combined SD / microSD / CF card reader. If you’re all in on CFast, you can load up to four of those readers. And if you change what you shoot with in the future, you can buy new modules instead of needing a brand new dock.
Its modularity also allows for portability. If you go to a location and only need to bring one reader, you can take it out of the dock and take it with you – the individual readers use USB-C 10 Gbps to connect to your computer or the dock.
To be clear, I’m not a video or photo professional, and I certainly don’t need that much card reading capacity. I’ve never held half the cards that can read these things. But does that stop me from wanting one of these docks full of card readers to dump every SD card I own at once? Absolutely not.
Pricing for the dock and readers hasn’t been announced yet, but SanDisk expects them to go on sale this summer. The Lexar hub costs about $ 200 at launch, plus the price of modules (I paid about $ 40 for the XQD module), and it did a lot less. I can only wait in fear to see the SanDisk version’s price tag.