Review: Sonnet Qio

Studio Monthly by Helmut Kobler

A fast, multi-card reader with an eSATA hub

The Sonnet Qio (pronounced Que-Eye-Oh) is a high-speed card reader for professional solid-state media cards, which are quickly replacing tape in modern video cameras. Secondly, the Qio is an eSATA hub, letting you connect fast eSATA hard drives to your computer. These two features aren’t necessarily related: you may just want a fast card reader, or you may be interested in eSATA connectivity. But with the $999 Qio, you get both.

Currently, the Qio works only with Macs, but Sonnet is developing Windows compatibility too (no due date set). You can buy the Qio with different adapter cards, which let you use it with either a Mac Pro desktop or a Mac laptop — but just be sure your laptop has the required ExpressCard/34 slot, because many new Macs don’t.

As a solid-state card reader, the Qio accepts every kind of card your cameraman may hand you: P2 cards from Panasonic cameras, CompactFlash cards from digital SLRs or Red cameras, SxS cards from Sony, JVC cameras or Arri cameras, and SDHC cards (via an adapter) from everything else. This versatility is a big deal. As many folks move from tape to solid-state, they can buy one convenient reader that handles it all. read more...

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