2018-01-06

Electronics review


Reviews for gadgets I own

Devices list:

  1. WD My Passport Portable Hard Drive 4TB, blue - WDBYFT0040BBL - 0A
  2. RASPBERRY PI MODEL B 3 Starter Kit with 32GB SD Card Case and 5 V 2.5 A Power Supply - Glob Mall Abox SUPERIOR BLAC
  3. Rii Mini I28 Wireless (QWERTZ) – Mini Keyboard
  4. Samsung Memory Card microSDHC Class High Speed Class 10 with SD Adapter, (2017 Model) - Evo Plus u3
  5. SD Card UHS-II Lexar 1800x (32GB)

1. WD My Passport Portable Hard Drive 4TB, blue - WDBYFT0040BBL - 0A

On short: reliable, good TB/$ ratio, good speed, just works


Until now I never had any issues with any of my WD USB drives, I hope it will confirm the expectations.

The speed is good, slightly better than previous versions: ~100MB/s Read or Write when almost empty, might vary. 

As any hard drive, the speed decreases when the disk gets full, for the data that gets read/write from the sectors that are closer to the center. This is because in one disk rotation, there are more bits that can be read/written on the outer tracks of the disk, and the outer tracks are considered "at the start of the disk". 

Big files copy, NTFS, empty, single test:
Write: 113MB/s
Read: 116MB/s

Big file copy, at 75% disk space fill (single test):
Write: 75MB/s
Read: 75MB/s

It looks a bit bulky as it is thicker than previous versions. However, it gets the job done, it is reliable, and this is what I need.

2. RASPBERRY PI MODEL B 3 Starter Kit with 32GB SD Card Case and 5 V 2.5 A Power Supply - Glob Mall Abox SUPERIOR BLACK


On short: good for media player using Kodi/Libreelec; good passive cooling

It actually has holes on the top and bottom, and even the lid have a slight space on the edges to help case ventilation. The temperature warning still shows on some heavy load (indexing, not movies), but I guess you cannot ask more for a plastic case without fan. A case without holes cannot be used with the top covered, this one seems to handle it ok, even for 1080p movies.

Others: It has a button for cutting the power without removing the USB plug, protecting the plug. It has 3 metal heat sinks, including one on the back of the board. Just take care to avoid touching them while powered, I bricked another Raspberry Pi's USB+Network by electrostatic discharge while touching the metal heat sink. I realized then that even Wireless is enough for most usages, the USB ports were harder to work without.

You might want to add some space below the case, to improve the air flow. The card is only u1 (write ~10MB/s), but read speed is pretty good (~80MB/s) - not tested by me.

3. Rii Mini I28 Wireless (QWERTZ) – Mini Keyboard

On short: nice remote for Kodi/Libreelec

It has an USB stick that is recognized easily, without drivers, and you get mouse and keyboard, even audio. The rechargeable battery keeps a long time (many days), even if I forget to switch it off.

The only strange thing is the "mouse" right click, it is not at all intuitive, still not sure how it works. The optional keyboard light is very handy in the dark. Not sure if I like or not to have a small lighted dot that never goes off when the light is off.

The keyboard can be connected to headphones, it receives wireless audio signal from the stick, however the quality is rather low.

4. Samsung Memory Card microSDHC Class High Speed Class 10 with SD Adapter, (2017 Model) - Evo Plus u3


On short: as fast as you can get for a reasonable price

In my ad-hoc test I got a throughput of: Read 80MB/s, Write 75MB/s (big files). This is close to the advertised Read=100MB/s, Write=90MB/s - at least closer than other SD cards I tested. 
Your results might vary. Careful, this is the u3 version, the u1 variant should have slower write.

Even if you buy something more expensive (like SDXC UHS-II), from what I tested, the write speed will not be significantly higher, especially that most of devices will not have the extra pins to use the UHS-II speed.

I think it's a good value for the price. It also came with a nice card adaptor that connects to USB-C (think Macbook, Phone) and classic computer USB (only) 2.0 ports. The adaptor have a blue light if that matters. The card does heat less than another high speed card I have, even on sustained write.

Sadly, the adapter speed is much lower than using the card adapter (~18MB/s). Even on USB-C, the speed seems limited to USB 2.0 speed, capping below 20MBs. Using a different USB 3.0 card adapter I could obtain a write speed close to the 70MB/s attained when using it as SD card.

5. SD Card UHS-II Lexar 1800x (32GB)

On short: fast, but don't expect miracles; it gets very hot

Such SD card is much more expensive than regular ones, however you might not see a huge difference compared with a simple UHS-I u3 card, depending on the usage.

In order to use UHS-II, the card have a second row of pins, otherwise it will work like a regular UHS-I. Check if your device really supports UHS-II in order to really see a difference.

The reader should also have a second row of pins for UHS-II, same the adapter for usage in (big) SD card ports. I realized that my 2017 year laptop does not support UHS-II, so it actually works slower than using the USB 3.0 card reader (included in package, support UHS-II). All high speed tests are done on USB 3.0, as the card is much slower on my Laptop SD card reader.

For big files (like 1.5GB), I tested it can write with up to 150MB/s (tested with FAT32). However in other usages, the speed is much lower: like 100MB/s for FLAC files and even lower than 10MB/s for small files - close to much cheaper SD cards. The latency seems to not be improved (not measured), probably the extra speed comes from writing in parallel on much many flash banks.

The read is impresive, a little over 200MB/s read for a big file (tested on FAT32), using the USB 3.0 adapter. However, for smaller files the speed drops to 10-100MB/s read, depending on file size. Note that, for photo cameras, you mainly need the write speed.

On a standard UHS-I card reader (like most of the systems have), the speed is limited to 80MB/s read or write. Probably the protocol overhead makes it to reach the UHS-I limit that is 104MB/s.

The big problem is that the performance varies as the SD-card is getting hot because of usage. It can get so hot that you cannot keep your hand on it!!! In these cases the performance goes way down and I even experienced read and write errors. After repairing the data, I tested that the card is still undamaged, however the heat remains a big issue. I did not noticed the same heat without the USB 3.0 adapter, while I could not use the full UHS-II speed.

I actually wanted this card to have a full Linux install on a stick/card. As I cannot boot from the SD card, I used it by the USB 3.0 adapter, as a small USB 3.0 stick. I could not reliably use it for this purpose ar it gets too hot and I have often read/write (I/O) errors. From what I've read, the heat is still a problem for most of the small USB 3.0 sticks having high speed. I'm just glad I choose to buy the card and adapter instead of the USB key as I can still use it as an SD card. However, I get the extra speed only when I write to it on USB 3.0.

Bottom line, it only worth the extra money if your device's SD card port supports UHS-II (not many does) or if you can use it through the USB 3.0 adapter. The high speed is seen only on big files, the speed for small files is limited to the latency of the card that is not impressive. You should evaluate also the UHS-I u3 cards that can write and read up to 80MB/s, matching this card's performance when used on the more common UHS-I SD card ports.



P.S. These are my personal reviews, to the best of my knowledge. I receive no compensation for writing the reviews. No links are included, but you can easily find the products on Internet if you want. Hope it helps and apologies for any inaccuracies that it might contain.


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