Lexar Professional Workflow DD512 review

Price when reviewed

Lexar’s tiny portable SSD provides 512GB of storage in a unit a little smaller and thicker than a pack of playing cards. Part of Lexar’s Professional Workflow system, it can either work independently as a USB 3 SSD or slot neatly into the HR1 or HR2 storage drive hubs (see right). The former connects to a computer via USB 3, the latter uses Thunderbolt 2 for additional bandwidth. See also: What’s the best SSDs of 2015?

Lexar Professional Workflow DD512 review

Lexar Professional Workflow DD512 - hero shot

The four-bay hubs don’t only support the 512GB DD512 and 256GB DD256 SSDs, but also a range of media readers, including SDXC/SDHC, microSDXC/SDHC, CompactFlash and CFast options. The idea is to provide a flexible workflow setup for professional photographers and videographers, providing all their storage needs in one device and preventing them from having to find and connect a mass of cables when they’d rather be getting on with work. Drives can be slotted in and out at any time, although they do need to be ejected from the OS first to avoid data corruption.

You can, of course, pack in four DD512 units to give a total capacity of 2TB, but it’s important to remember that the HR1 and HR2 don’t provide any RAID capabilities. You’re not getting the performance of a striped array or the fail-safe redundancy of RAID1 or RAID5: the system simply delivers a collection of fast solid-state external drives.

Lexar Professional Workflow HR2

The drives themselves are simple but solidly made, with a row of blue LED indicators to indicate capacity and status on the front panel, plus a rubberised pad at the bottom to stop them slipping around on your desk. Each LED represents one-sixth of the total capacity, so it’s easy to see how far along you are. The drives are also extremely light; at an almost-unnoticeable 164g each, you could easily cram one in a camera bag or pocket without really noticing. Drives are recognised instantaneously once connected by both OS X and Windows – and it helps that the DD512 can use the same exFAT format on both.

We expect SSDs to be fast, and the DD512 doesn’t disappoint. It will happily reach sustained read speeds in excess of 320MB/sec and write speeds greater than 220MB/sec, beating the single-HDD USB 3 and Thunderbolt drives here. Understandably, however, it falls behind faster RAID devices.

Lexar Professional Workflow DD512 - viewed from the rear

Of course, the price you pay is capacity. High-capacity solid-state storage might be coming down in price, but it’s still a long way behind conventional magnetic storage on the gigabytes-per-pound front.

If you want space to archive photos or videos, you’re barking up the wrong tree, then, but that won’t matter if all you desire is additional storage while you’re on the move that can be quickly and easily reconnected to your main computer when you’re back at base.

It isn’t for everyone, but for the photographers and videographers that Lexar has in its sights, the Professional Workflow DD512 could well hit the button. We can see it working well as a supplement to a main high-speed storage solution.

Lexar Professional Workflow DD512 specifications

Maximum capacityN/A
RAID supportNone
InterfaceUSB 3 (Thunderblot 2 via HR2 dock)
Power supplyBus-powered
Spindle speedN/A
Size74 x 60 x 23mm (WDH)
Buying information
Warranty2yr RTB

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