I must admit that I was a little taken back by Apple’s decision to eliminate the ExpressCard slot, in favor of an SD slot, from their New MacBook Pro 15" models. However, I can’t argue the reasoning. If most buyers aren’t using this slot then it probably does make since use the space for something more usable like an SD slot although personally I would have preferred a Compact Flash slot on the Pros and an SD slot on the regular MacBooks, but oh well. Then I got to thinking about the ExpressCard devices that I currently use and realized that I only have 3 of them. I have a Verizon V740 EVDO 3G Modem, a Synchrotech ExpressCard Compact Flash Reader and a Belkin Multi-Card Reader (reads SD, Memory Stick and a bunch of other formats). Although I don’t have any plans of getting a new MacBook Pro anytime soon, I like to be prepared by transitioning my peripherals to the new standards ahead of time so that when I do upgrade, it will be a lot less painful. Well the good news is that I can live without the Compact Flash reader because I already have a Firewire 800 Compact Flash Reader by Synchrotech that I use most of the time anyway. I could also live without the Multi-media Reader because the New MacBook Pros will have an SD slot built-in and I so rarely use the other formats supported by the reader that I could have a USB reader if need be. However, there is the issue with my Verizon ExpressCard Modem…
No problem, Synchrotech has an answer
Even before Apple made the switch from ExpressCard to SD on the 15" MacBook Pros and introducing SD on the MacBooks, Synchrotech already made an ExpressCard to USB adapter. Now keep in mind that the ExpressCard standard is MUCH faster than USB, so this adapter is ONLY designed to work with ExpressCard devices that operate at USB speeds anyway, such as the ExpressCard modems, card readers, etc. So out of my 3 devices this adapter would easily work with 2 of them. It works with the Verizon card and the 12-in-1 Card Reader because both of those devices work at USB speeds. However, it will NOT work with my Compact Flash reader, which is designed to work at the full ExpressCard speeds. There was no software to install. I just plugged in my Verizon V740 card into the adapter and then the whole thing into my MacBook Pro and the modem lit up and was usable right away. I also tried the Belkin Media Reader and it worked too.
The Bottom Line
Apple’s move away from the ExpressCard slot just goes to show the "majority" of consumers are either using USB or Firewire for their peripheral needs. I’m also sure that I could trade in/upgrade my Verizon card to a USB model, or simply stick it in my CradlePoint 3G router when I’m stationary and not even need the adapter. However, since I’m not ready to spend the cash (nor is my employer) on a Verizon card upgrade right now and I still have an ExpressCard slot in my current MacBook Pro, this adapter just gives me one more way of connecting my gear. It also allows me to use the Verizon card on computers that didn’t have an ExpressCard slot in the first place such as the MacBook, desktop computers, etc. The Syncrotech MicroU2E-MV USB 2.0 to USB Mode ExpressCard 34/54 Multi-Voltage Host Adapter goes for $48.